Poilievre promises legislation to prevent exemptions for illicit drug use in hospitals

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Politics

Federal Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre says the Conservatives will put forward legislation that would forbid Ottawa from “ever” granting provinces exemptions to allow illicit drug use in hospitals.

Premier Eby says province has an ‘obligation’ to people struggling with addiction

A man speaks into a microphone in front of a podiuk that reads "safe hospitals."
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre speaks during a news conference on safety in hospitals in Vancouver on Tuesday, May 14, 2024. (Ethan Cairns/The Canadian Press)

Federal Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre says the Conservatives will put forward legislation that would forbid Ottawa from “ever” granting provinces exemptions to allow illicit drug use in hospitals.

Poilievre made the announcement in Vancouver on Tuesday. He said the Conservatives will introduce a private member’s bill in Parliament to end the federal health minister’s power to grant exemptions that would allow the use of illicit drugs in a hospital setting.

Private member’s bills from individual MPs rarely make it all the way through the legislative process, but Poilievre said the situation in British Columbia hospitals has grown dire since the province’s drug decriminalization project was enacted in 2023.

B.C. recently requested that the federal government allow it to again prohibit the use of illicit drugs in most public spaces, including hospitals. That request was approved by the federal government a week ago.

In response to Poilievre’s characterization of B.C.’s drug decriminalization as “reckless and radical,” Premier David Eby said the province “has an obligation” to people struggling with addiction to give them every chance to get into treatment.

Eby said arresting people instead of providing support is not the right approach.

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