Insite Injection Site Allowed to Remain Open
Insite, the supervised injection site located in Vancouver's downtown east side is allowed to remain open as the BC Court of Appeal dismissed the attempt to close it by the federal government today.
The federal government has tried to close Insite in the past but the Court of Appeals affirmed the right of the site to exist today.
Liz Evans, the founder of the Portland Hetel Society who runs Insite was emotional about the decision:
"I'm just so excited. I can't believe it anyway, but today it looks like it was a clean sweep for Insite,"
She went on to say:
"I'm so proud of the decision that was made here this morning," Evans said. "It looks like not only have they agreed that it is our constitutional right to have Insite exist, but they've also …weighed in in support of the jurisdictional issue, and that means effectively that Insite is now a provincial issue."
It has been a long and hard legal battle to keep Insite open, and the supporters are hoping that the federal government does not appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Health Canada released a statement:
"While the government respects the court's decision, it is disappointed with the outcome. The government is reviewing the decision carefully. Until this review is complete, it would be inappropriate to speculate on future action on the part of the Government of Canada."
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a statement that he was pleased with the decision:
"With this second consecutive decision in favour of Insite, I hope the federal government will drop its legal efforts so that we can go back to focusing on Insite for what it is — a harm-reduction facility that saves lives and improves health outcomes for those living with addictions,"
With the decision of Insite being allowed to remain open, what it has mostly shown is that the provincial government has the right to make decisions for its own citizens and they may be ones that may not be relevant to the rest of the country.
"Stephen Harper, we told you," said Dean Wilson, the president of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users and one of the original plaintiffs in the case. "It should be a non-issue, man."