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BC Conservative petition calls on Richmond council to apologize

The BC Coroners Service notes the life expectancy of men has gone down due to the toxic drug crisis.
People came out on Family Day to the Richmond Cultural Centre to protest a motion by city council supporting a supervised consumption site.

Another petition regarding a safe drug consumption site in Richmond is garnering thousands of signatures, this time asking for an apology from city council.

The BC Conservatives have a petition asking for Richmond city council to “publicly apologize and retract” a recently passed motion to explore having a safe consumption site at the hospital.

The motion, put forward by Couns. Kash Heed and Laura Gillanders, passed 7-2 after hours of public input, the majority opposing it but others speaking in favour.

“This decision is not only misguided but also dangerous, as it sends the wrong message about drug use and undermines efforts to address the root causes of addiction,” the BC Conservatives said in a post promoting the petition.

“We demand that the council retract this motion immediately and issue a public apology for its failure to prioritize the health and well-being of our community,” it continued. “We demand a safe community for our families.”

In the preamble to the petition, the BC Conservatives call it a “contentious motion supporting the establishment of an NDP drug use site.”

This is the third petition the News is aware of in regards to the safe-consumption site topic.

The petition was posted on X by Michelle Mollineaux, who is running under the BC Conservative banner in Richmond-Steveston in the fall provincial election.

“I demanded that Kash Heed and the other city council must apologize for disrespecting the Richmond community,” Mollineaux said in her post on X. “We need to protect our children from the harmful effects of drugs and drug dealers.”

At a rally on Family Day, Mollineaux led a crowd gathered at Richmond Cultural Centre to chant “protect our children.”

She said the provincial government has only focused on harm reduction and not on rehabilitation and recovery. She added they shouldn’t just be “handing out drugs.”

A supervised consumption site is a medically supervised site where those with a substance-use disorder bring in their own drugs, have them tested and consume them under the care of medical staff.

Fewer than 5,000 people in B.C. have access to a “safe supply” of drugs, largely hydromorphone.

A review of drug toxicity deaths, published by the BC Coroners Service in November, notes life expectancy of men in B.C. has gone down “as a direct consequence of the drug toxicity crisis.”

The review says many organizations, agencies and expert panels, including the BC Coroners Service Death Review Panel, have called on the provincial and federal governments to “urgently address the crisis.”

This includes measures to “reduce stigma, expand harm reduction and prevention efforts, deliver evidence-based, accessible treatment and recovery services, and address access to a legal regulated drug supply.”

While the majority of city council voted for the motion, the next day Vancouver Coastal Health said it won’t be setting up a safe consumption site in Richmond.

Speaking against the motion were at least two other BC Conservative members, including Alex Sagert, himself in recovery from an addiction, and Sheldon Starrett, who called a press conference about the issue before city council’s first discussion on Feb. 5.

The BC Conservative petition has garnered more than 6,000 signatures.

One petition opposed to the proposes safe-consumption site garnered about 15,000 names in the first week, while another one asking Heed to clarify his employment status with a pharmaceutical company garnered about 8,000 names. (Heed clarified that he stopped acting as a consultant with a pharmaceutical company in November.)

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