Tossed report on safe consumption spaces causes stir in Manitoba Legislature
A tossed report is causing a stir in the Manitoba legislature.
Premier Brian Pallister was handed a report on safe consumption sites and then appeared to toss it aside.
“No such thing as a safe consumption site according to experts. Certainly not for meth," Pallister said as he was handed the report.
The report comes from Sunshine House – a community drop-in and resource centre in Winnipeg.
The report includes first-hand knowledge from drug users and experts on why Winnipeg needs safe consumption spaces.
"I think people wouldn't just toss aside the report if they thought about the potential for savings, but also for improvement in people's lives as well," said John Schellenberg, acting planning and sustainability coordinator with Sunshine House.
Opposition Leader Wab Kinew tabled the report in the legislature Monday.
"I think the government's actions speak very loudly and clearly on this topic. The premier himself threw the report on the floor," said Kinew.
As for why -- Health Minister Cameron Friesen pointed to the desks in the building, saying they're old, small and slanted.
"We often get information brought to our tables. We often very quickly move to put that information behind us where it can be sought later on. That's exactly what happened today," Friesen said.
Kinew believes otherwise.
"This is very much a process that they've been involved in and the fact that they don't like the answer is the reason they're not willing to stand up and talk about it," Kinew said.
Friesen said he and Pallister talked afterwards about the report, and said there needs to be more conversations had.
"We have challenges in front of us as a jurisdiction. They are not ours alone. We share these with other provinces,” said Friesen. “We are all grappling with the real challenge of responding to the increased use of illicit drugs in our communities."
Schellenberg said these sites wouldn't just be for meth users.
He hopes the misconceptions will change.
"If people are concerned about having a safer consumption space in their neighbourhood they should think about all the unsafe consumption spaces that are already in their neighbourhood.”