MLAs will return to their hybrid chamber proceedings next Monday, July 13, 2020 at 10:00 am.
Premier Horgan agrees with Canadian police chiefs' call for decriminalization of illicit drugs for personal use
The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police – a group led by Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer – is calling on the federal government to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of illegal drugs for personal consumption.
Chief Constable Adam Palmer said on Thursday that it’s time to rethink how police and governments approach the use and abuse of illegal drugs in order to save lives.
"Arresting individuals for simple possession of illicit drugs has proven to be ineffective. It does not save lives," Palmer said. "The CACP recognizes substance use and addiction as a public health issue. Being addicted to a controlled substance is not a crime and should not be treated as such."
"We recommend that Canada's enforcement-based approach for possession be replaced with a health-care approach that diverts people from the criminal justice system," Palmer continued.
When asked about the CACP statement on Thursday afternoon, Premier Horgan said he completely supported the idea, though he maintains that responsibility for making such a change rests with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government.
Premier Horgan claimed that his government initiated the review of the 45-year-old
“for the very reason that Adam [Palmer] suggested in his conference. We can’t have law enforcement doing work that’s better done by health officials.”
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has been calling on the provincial government to decriminalize drug possession for some time. In 2019, Dr. Henry, alongside chief coroner Lisa Lapointe, former PHO Dr. Perry Kendall, and Victoria Police Chief Del Manak, issued a
which laid out a path to decriminalization in the province.
Latest labour data released; overall unemployment rate declines for first time in three months
Earlier today, Statistics Canada released the
of their Labour Force Survey for the month of June 2020.
The data shows that more than 118,000 people found jobs over the last month, what Minister James called a sign of the province’s gradual economic restart. Employment gains from May and June have recovered 40% of the total jobs lost since February.
June’s unemployment rate dropped 0.4% since May, and now sits at 13.0%. This comes after three straight months of climbing unemployment. The rate stood at 5.0% at the start of the pandemic in February.
The youth unemployment rate, however, continues to rise. For those aged 15 to 24 years old, the unemployment rate currently sits at 29.1%, up from 28.9% last month. Minister James also noted that job losses throughout COVID-19 have disproportionately affected women when compared to their male counterparts.
Minister James told reporters that the service sector has shown the largest rebound over the last month, adding 54,800 jobs in June after restaurants and hotels were given the green light to slowly open back up. This represents nearly 50% of jobs added in the last month.
Legislative committee appointed to review province's
final report to come next year
Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth has appointed a new, pan-partisan legislative committee that has been tasked with reviewing the province’s 45-year-old
, and examining the prevalence of systemic racism in police forces across B.C.
Minister Farnworth says our provincial institutions have “systemic racism built into them,” and that the current
t is “out of date and out of step with our government’s approach to harm reduction and mental health.”
The nine-member committee – called the Special Committee to Review the
– is being tasked with proposing reforms related to independent oversight, transparency, governance, structure, service delivery, standards, funding, training, education, and any other considerations which may apply. They are also being asked to examine the scope of systemic racism within the province’s police agencies, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The pan-partisan committee consists of NDP MLAs Nicholas Simons (Chair), Gary Begg, Bowinn Ma, and Rachna Singh; Liberal MLAs Jas Johal, Mike Morris, Ellis Ross and Michelle Stilwell; and the BC Green Party’s Adam Olsen.
The Special Committee’s final report is expected by May 14, 2021.
In-depth investigation into anti-Indigenous racism in B.C.’s healthcare system underway
Independent investigator Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond gave her first news conference this week since being appointed to lead a probe into anti-Indigenous racism in B.C.’s healthcare system.
Turpel-Lafond, a former judge and B.C. Representative for Children and Youth, told reporters on Thursday that there is “no question that racism exists in B.C.’s healthcare system”.
Turpel-Lafond said her investigation, which began in mid-June after allegations emerged of emergency room staff playing a “game” to guess the blood-alcohol level of Indigenous patients, has already heard about incidents in every one of B.C.’s health authorities.
“What I'm hearing is about concerns that are in all regions of British Columbia,” she told reporters. “There are specific incidents in specific emergency rooms — not only with the issue of playing games around intoxication — other matters that have come forward.”
The scope of Turpel-Lafond’s investigation has been widened since the original announcement was made by Minister Dix in June. She said the process is not to “name and shame,” but rather, to be a truth-telling exercise. The probe will be conducted in stages, starting first with an investigation of the ER “game” which spurred the investigation.
Turpel-Lafond and her team have set up a phone line and email address to take reports of racism from across the province, and they’ve also launched an
where Indigenous people can safely share their experiences. She also encouraged people working in the healthcare system to feel safe sharing their experiences, and added she would be disappointed if her final report does not include participation from these professionals.