NDP introduces new bill to eliminate drug use

OTTAWA – The federal NDP hopes to push the government to take stronger action on the opioid crisis with a new private party bill that regulates drug possession for personal use.

Leader Jagmeet Singh is putting his weight on the back of a bill, tabulated by his NDP colleague Gord Johns, confirming possession of small amounts of drugs including cocaine and heroin.

Singh said the law change would make it easier to help drug addicts, who see them as people with health problems rather than criminals. He said 20,000 Canadians have died from overdoses in the past five years.

A private member’s bill, especially when introduced by an opposition MP, has a lower chance of surviving the legislative steps to becoming law. NDP MP Don Davies introduced a similar bill last year but failed.

But the party hopes the legislation will be debated and possibly even put to a vote, after Johns placed fourth in a random draw to determine the order of preference for private member bills. in this Parliament.

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau formed his new cabinet last fall, he created a new mental health and addictions minister, Carolyn Bennett, and tasked her with formulating policies to tackle the situation. opioid addiction is on the rise.

Maja Staka, a spokeswoman for Bennett, said the government was committed to improving safe supplies and using resources to divert drug users away from the criminal justice system.

The government is currently reviewing British Columbia’s application to remove criminal penalties for people possessing small amounts of illegal drugs for personal use.

This Canadian Press report was first published on February 1, 2022.

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