Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My Mom's Letter to Tony Clement, Federal Minister of Health

The Honourable Tony Clement
Minister of Health
Minister's Office - Health Canada
Brooke Claxton Building, Tunney's Pasture
Postal Locator: 0906C
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1A 0K9

Dear Sir,

I am a retired nurse and a senior citizen. I’m also a volunteer visitor counselor at Tourism Vancouver, giving out information to tourists visiting our city. You may be surprised to learn that a growing number of these visitors are well informed about Vancouver being the Drug Capital of Canada. When they want to visit Chinatown we have to advise them about the safest routes to walk there. We also warn them not to give money to panhandlers and to be aware of their surroundings at all times. If traveling by car, we urge them to leave nothing visible inside their vehicles. This is the sad reality of life in Vancouver in 2008.

I live in the South Granville neighbourhood. It’s supposedly one of the better ones in the city and yet I have countless panhandlers asking me for spare change daily. I now carry a pocket alarm which I will set off if I’m ever threatened. This is the sad reality of life in Vancouver in 2008.

The law-abiding citizens in our cities have to now be concerned with which restaurants they can eat at safely, which nightclubs they can go to safely, and which streets they can walk down when the sun goes dim. This is the sad reality of life in Vancouver in 2008.

The common thread running through most of these problems is severe drug abuse. I therefore plead with you to close the free needle terror that is Insite. It is not helping drug users get better but is only prolonging their misery. I fully realize that there are a lot of political forces that claim that Insite is helping to “reduce harm” but it is a huge fallacy. Those proponents like Larry Campbell and Philip Owen should be ashamed of themselves.

Please convert this facility into a Recovery Detox Centre for the endless number of drug addicts in Vancouver. And then set up more in all of our municipalities. I do know there are treatment centres in Prince George and Bowen Island. We need many more!

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