Public supports closing safe injection site, Ottawa says
Canada's health minister recently claimed at an international conference that Canadians want to shut down Vancouver's safe injection site, but critics say his comments are ideologically driven and embarrassing.
MEXICO CITY -- Ottawa is determined to shut down Vancouver's safe-injection site because it's necessary to "draw a line" about which public health measures are acceptable, Canada's Health Minister says.
Tony Clement said that while the government supports needle exchanges as a legitimate intervention, providing a site to facilitate the injection of illegal drugs is going too far. He also invoked the slippery-slope argument.
"There are already people saying injection sites aren't enough, that true harm reduction is giving out heroin for free," the minister said.
"You have to draw the line somewhere and we feel we're drawing the line in a place Canadians are comfortable," Mr. Clement said in an interview in Mexico City, where he is attending the 17th International AIDS Conference.
But Carolyn Bennett, the Liberal public health critic, balked at that suggestion, saying Mr. Clement "opposes supervised injection sites yet says he supports needle exchange, which makes no medical sense."
She said the Conservative government's stand is driven by ideology, not compassion, and accused Mr. Clement of "embarrassing Canada" on the world stage.