Today, the House of Commons passed Bill C-2, the Respect for Communities Act. Pretty title, but like so much Conservative legislation, the meaning of the title, like the bill, is cruelly ironic.This new legislation will face the same fate so much of the government's attempts at legislation of being overturned by the courts - at great expense to the rest of us. They KNOW this. They are already preparing their judicial activism rants.
What the Respect for Communities Act does is effectively block the establishment of new supervised injection facilities like Insite. The bill could make it much harder for Insite to stay open, and it effectively prevents a similar health service from opening in any other Canadian city.
Insite arose as a community response to epidemic-levels of HIV and Hepatitis C infections and overdose deaths in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. A decade of research shows that Insite saves lives, and those of us close to the ground understand the central role Insite plays in the tapestry of specialized healthcare the most vulnerable Canadians need.
Despite the evidence, the site has not operated without controversy. When the last federal Conservative government refused to grant an exemption to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) that would allow Insite to keep its doors open, our community took the fight to protect Insite all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. It was only through the judicial branch that this life-saving site was able to stay open.
How much of our money is this government wasting on political theater and legislation they know will be overturned?