Thursday, March 23, 2023

Alberta NDP calling SCS review panel “rigged”

Alberta’s NDP Opposition is voicing concerns with the government’s newly announced review panel looking into Supervised Consumption Services across the province.

Heather Sweet, the NDP’s Critic for Mental Health and Addictions was in Lethbridge this week.

She says if the local facility is shut down after this review, it would have a devastating impact across the community. “If this site closes, there will be death in the streets,” Sweet said. “People will die in alleys, in playgrounds, in yards, in the library. More Alberta families will grieve for a lost loved one. That will be on Premier Kenney and Minister Luan. That will be their fault. Their plan is to let people die and let the citizens of downtown Lethbridge, the people who live and work here, pick up the pieces.”

Sweet calls this review panel “rigged” saying the review itself should be dropped and supervised consumption services should actually be expanded across the province.

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The UCP government is taking three weeks in September to gather evidence about the social and economic impacts that Supervised Consumption Sites have on communities. One of the public engagement sessions will take place in Lethbridge. Dates and times aren’t known yet.

Alberta’s NDP opposition is also calling on the Chief Medical Officer of Health, as both the senior public health official in Alberta, and the chair of the Minister’s Opioid Emergency Response Commission, to publicly state her position on supervised consumption services.

Lethbridge City Council this week voted down a resolution which aimed at stopping needles from leaving the local SCS. It would also have requested the province stop funding supervised consumption services in Lethbridge until the provincial review was complete.

That vote failed 6-3.

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