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January 30th, 2023

NDP urging the Liberals to stop breaking their health care promises and protect Canadians struggling with their mental health and substance use

NDP Mental Health and Harm Reduction critic Gord Johns made the following statement as the federal government’s decriminalization pilot program in British Columbia is set to start:

“Canada is in a public health crisis as thousands of Canadians struggle with their mental health and with substance use disorders. It is encouraging that all the efforts of the British Columbia’s NDP government have resulted in the removal of stigma for drug users through the decriminalization of substance use. There is, however, an urgent need for this same approach to be taken across the country.

Outside of B.C., 14 Canadians die every single day because of the toxic drug crisis. And with the high costs and long waitlists to get help, people are being forced to turn to our already overwhelmed Emergency Rooms. Canadians want to see a real plan for mental health and addiction supports that include the provision of a safe regulated supply for users, on-demand treatment services and recovery and prevention programs across the country.

But while the Liberal government and the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions have made many promises about getting you and your loved ones the treatment they need, they haven’t followed through.

The Liberal government said it would listen to their Expert Task Force on Substance Use which called for a multi-faceted national strategy including the decriminalization of personal possession, but it still doesn't have a plan to get that done.

During the last election the Liberals promised $875 million to the provinces and territories for the Canada Mental Health Transfer – but not a single penny has been given for help.

While the Liberals break their promises to Canadians, and the Conservatives treat substance use and mental health like a crime instead of a health crisis, New Democrats are listening to Canadians and the experts. We will keep fighting for a real strategy to tackle the toxic drug crisis, one that ramps up critical investments in our health care system, prioritizes prevention and education, and eliminates stigma – so that you and your family can get the best care possible, when you need it most.”