We have been studying Bill C-37 in the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health and some of my recent thoughts were poorly articulated and have left the wrong impression with some people who have not followed closely the full business of our Committee.
Last fall, I was the first to ask our Committee to study the deadly opioid crisis in Canada. Any review of the testimony will show all MPs from all parties are genuinely concerned about this epidemic in Canada and a prompt study was undertaken.
In our concurrent work on Bill C-37, a review of the comments made by all MPs show clearly that we recognize there is a place for drug injection sites, provided proper community and government consultations have taken place and there is a proven need for one.
In our recent deliberations on drug injection sites, the NDP suggested the burden of proof rest with the government, and not the applicant, when it comes to proving the need for such a facility.
I saw this as incompatible logic from the NDP who feels that the burden of proof when it comes to pipeline applications should rest with the applicant and not the government.
I failed to properly articulate this hypocrisy on the part of the NDP.
The NDP suggested that this is different as ‘lives are at stake’ which upset me greatly as I am fully aware that the high unemployment rate in Alberta has sent our suicide rate skyrocketing.
Any perception that left the impression that I thought the approval of drug injection sites and pipelines should be connected is unfortunate and incorrect. In both cases, applications should be able to stand on their own merits with the burden of proof on the applicant and not the taxpayer.