fbpx
Connect with us

News

NDP’s safe injection sites called a disaster; Lethbridge centre under investigation

A plan by the former Albertas NDP government to put safe injection sites in urban areas has been a failure, says a new report.

mm

Published

on

A plan by the former Albertas NDP government to put safe injection sites in urban areas has been a failure, says a new report.

But the report’s authors haven’t made any recommendations to the Kenney government as to whether the facilities should be shuttered, improved or moved.

“The committee found serious problems with supervised consumption services as they are currently being operated,” said the report.

Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Jason Luan said 19,000 Albertans had been consulted about the sites.

He said he was “deeply troubled” by them and called it a “system of chaos.”

And he said there may be “financial irregularities” at the Lethbridge site.

Laun said a team of auditors went to the Lethbridge clinic, run by a non-profit group called ARCHES, Wednesday seizing books.

“This report is a wake-up call for Alberta. Every one of us deserves to feel safe in our communities, and every Albertan struggling with addiction should be able to access the supports they need. We will consider this report, and all other relevant evidence, as we develop a comprehensive, long-term approach that works,” Laun said.

Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

“That means improving addiction treatment services and supports to create a full continuum of care across the province.”

Shockingly, while no one has died in a safe injection site, deaths within 500 metres of one have gone up 64% to 46 since they opened.

The report talked about one site giving up to 500 needles a day to one client; children being pricked with discarded needles and human waste all around injection sites.

“There wasn’t a day that went by our team didn’t hear the word ‘feces,'” said Laun.

There were also incidents of site workers interfering with police trying to enforce the law.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Increased needle debris and deteriorating public safety around the sites were significant concerns raised during the town halls, through the surveys and in stakeholder meetings.
  • While there were no deaths recorded among people at the SCS sites, death rates in the immediate vicinity of the sites after the sites opened continued to increase along with province-wide rates of opioid deaths.
  • Opioid-related calls for emergency medical services also increased in the immediate vicinity following the opening of the sites.
  • Many people indicated they felt less safe in the areas surrounding the SCS sites after they opened.
  • Lack of focus on referrals to detoxification and treatment resources.
  • Inconsistent and often inaccurate classification of “overdose reversals.”
  • Substantial increases in the use of non-opioid substance use, specifically methamphetamines, leading to aggressive behaviour endangering public safety.

There are currently seven safe injection sites in Alberta – four in Edmonton, with Calgary, Lethbridge and Grande Prairie each having one.

The report said about 50% of site users are consuming meth, something which they weren’t designed to do.

The report said the Lethbridge site may be the busiest in the world and one of the costliest.

“While most of the other sites have a cost under $600 per unique client, the cost in Lethbridge is over five times that, at $3,270 per unique client. The Committee could not find any plausible explanation for this, and there was no mention of it by the Alberta Health management contact person who would have overseen this in the past.”

Crime in the area of the Lethbridge site was also mentioned by residents as a huge problem, with members of the government committee seeing it first hand.

“Committee members also observed what appeared to be drug trafficking
as well as prostitution.

“Another law enforcement officer stated that, ‘There has been attempts by the SCS staff to destroy video evidence. They had a pregnant lady have [a] miscarriage immediately after using their facility. They became offended when I asked what
their procedures were for pregnant women and filed a formal complaint.’”

Lethbridge residents also complained about needle garbage.

The committee noted one ARCHES representative said they give away 37,000 needles a month. The group claimed all but 400 had been accounted for.

“Given the directly observed residual level of needle debris around the site, however, this assertion does not appear plausible and appears to defy credulity.”

Numerous complaints were received by the Review Committee about how the Lethbridge site is operated.

“The Review Committee was also informed by ARCHES that it currently employs 174 persons working at the site. Putting this into context, at the time the Review Committee visited Lethbridge the site was seeing approximately 130-135 unique
users per day. At the same time, police in Lethbridge had 161 constables on staff.

“An ARCHES worker told the Committee that approximately 40 per cent of workers at the SCS are “addicts in recovery” themselves. There was no apparent concern about the associated occupational risk or relapse risk to those workers in recovery.”

The report will now go to the government who will decide what to do with each site on a city to city basis.

“I am open to how best make sense of this,” said Laun.’

After the report was issued. Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi called for more injection sites in the city.

nenshi tweet

The entire report can be read here.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter: Nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

News

Madu out as justice minister

“I have spoken with Minister Madu about the March 10 incident reported in the media today. I conveyed to him my profound disappointment in his decision to contact the Edmonton Police Chief after receiving a ticket for a traffic violation.”

mm

Published

on

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has removed Justice Minister Kaycee Madu from his job after he called Edmonton’s police chief about a distracted parking ticket he received.

Madu was fined $300 on March 10, 2021 after an Edmonton police officer caught him talking on his cellphone while driving through a playground zone.

Madu soon phoned Dale McFee, the city’s chief of police, and discussed the ticket with him. 

“Minister Madu did contact me via the telephone concerned about a ticket. But just to be very, very clear, he never asked to get out of the ticket,” McFee told CBC News in December, adding he didn’t know exactly what was on the ticket.

“Everybody has to wear their decisions.”

McFee did say during their discussion, Madu brought up the issue of racial profiling by police to stop drivers. Madu is black.

“The officer indicated that he had observed me driving while distracted, alleging that I was on my phone. I disagreed, stating that I was not on my phone, as it was in an inside pocket” said Madu.

“Later, I spoke to Chief Dale McFee. Due to the timing of the incident, I wanted to ensure that I was not being unlawfully surveilled following the controversy surrounding the Lethbridge Police Service. I also raised concerns around profiling of racial minorities that was in the media at the time.

“Chief McFee assured me that that was most definitely not the case, and I accepted him at his word.”

But that wasn’t good enough for Kenney who, after CBC broke the story, removed him from his post because it is “essential the independent administration of justice is maintained.

“I have spoken with Minister Madu about the March 10 incident reported in the media today. I conveyed to him my profound disappointment in his decision to contact the Edmonton Police Chief after receiving a ticket for a traffic violation,” Kenney tweeted.

“Minister Madu told me that he did not ask to have the ticket rescinded, nor was it his intention to interfere in the case, and that he promptly paid the ticket. I understand that Chief McFee has confirmed that at no time did the Minister seek to have the ticket rescinded.

“Nevertheless, it’s essential the independent administration of justice is maintained. That’s why I will appoint a respected independent investigator to review the relevant facts and to determine whether there was interference in the administration of justice in this case.”

Energy Minister Sonya Savage will take on the duties of Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.

The scandal will be a blow for Kenney as Madu was one of his biggest supporters in an often fractured caucus.

Continue Reading

News

Home buyers and sellers can now use bitcoin

“This is yet another step towards a bitcoin standard society as we continue to propel bitcoinʼs usability. Our ability to process tens of millions of dollars with ease will allow customers looking to use bitcoin in real estate transactions to transact with confidence.”

mm

Published

on

Canadians will soon be able to buy and sell their homes with bitcoin.

Edmonton-based Bitcoin Well announced Tuesday they have signed a deal with Greater Property Group (GPG) where customers use bitcoin and other digital currencies to buy and sell residential and commercial real estate.

The signed letter of intent will see both companies promote the other through their respective websites and real estate transactions involving bitcoin will be conducted through the joint venture.

Bitcoin Well will provide digital currency services and licensing, compliance strategy and required Know Your Customer processes. GPG will provide real estate services, licensing and strategy.

“I canʼt wait to begin working with GPG,” said Adam OʼBrien, founder and CEO of Bitcoin Well.

“This is yet another step towards a bitcoin standard society as we continue to propel bitcoinʼs usability. Our ability to process tens of millions of dollars with ease will allow customers looking to use bitcoin in real estate transactions to transact with confidence.

“Working with GPG is an exciting look at how the bitcoin infrastructure we’ve built can scale. We have the pieces in place to help set the stage to help global industries adopt bitcoin. It’s exciting to see real estate being one of the first.”

Officials with GPG say they welcome the agreement.

“As a brokerage that facilitates buying and selling houses with cryptocurrency, we couldnʼt be happier to be partnering with Bitcoin Well on this venture.” said Nathan Singh, managing partner of Greater Property Group.

“The applications for cryptocurrency in real estate are limitless, and we look forward to bringing that investment power and flexibility to more and more transactions and agents from coast to coast.”

The completion of the joint venture agreement is expected in the first quarter of 2022.

Bitcoin Well is the first publicly traded Bitcoin ATM company in the world and is traded on the TSX.V under the ticker BTCW.V

Publisher’s Note: Bitcoin Well is an advertising client of Western Standard New Media Corp.

Continue Reading

News

Calgary lawyer applauds Shell’s reversal of vax mandate

“The woke thing to do right now is bring in these mandates. It has nothing to do with science or safety,” said lawyer James Kitchen.

mm

Published

on

In the wake of Shell Canada temporarily removing its mandatory vaccine policy at its Scotford site in Alberta, Calgary lawyer James Kitchen called it a “good and lawful” move.

Kitchen — a civil litigation lawyer focused on constitutional rights, human rights, and health freedom — represents a number of clients in the oil and gas sector, including CNRL staffer Naomi Smart who was the first employee dismissed without cause for refusing to adhere to the mandatory vaccine policy.

“There are two potential things happening here,” Kitchen told the Western Standard in reference to Shell’s decision to change its vaccine policy at the Scotford site.

“Either Shell is concerned with defending themselves legally — as the vaccines have little to no effect on transmission — or, there are decent human beings (who) run Shell who are looking at the science and they realize this is the sensible thing to do.”

Kitchen said Shell could be “showing some good business sense” and now, after “spending all this money and realizing nothing we do will stop it (the spread of COVID-19),” they are looking to get back to work.

“The woke thing to do right now is bring in these mandates. It has nothing to do with science or safety,” said Kitchen.

When asked if the move from Shell to reverse its vaccination policy might affect the outcome of current legal cases — including some of his own — Kitchen said he’s doubtful.

“Generally speaking, the court doesn’t care. The industry does what it wants so in a strictly legal sense, no. But in a broader sense, it does matter,” said Kitchen.  

“It’s like a band-wagon effect,” he said adding if other companies follow suit, “it could give pause and change course for policymakers.”

“I don’t expect others to follow, but I’m hopeful,” said Kitchen.

Kitchen applauded Shell for what he called, “the most reasonable, lawful positions I’ve seen in a long time.

“They have chosen not to be willfully ignorant of what is good, right and lawful and have chosen against coercion and tyranny,” said Kitchen.

“I hope it’s a harbinger of things to come.”

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

Continue Reading

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

Share

Petition: No Media Bailouts

We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

1,096 signatures

No Media Bailouts

The fourth estate is critical to a functioning democracy in holding the government to account. An objective media can't maintain editorial integrity when it accepts money from a government we expect it to be critical of.

We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

**your signature**



The Western Standard will never accept government bailout money. By becoming a Western Standard member, you are supporting government bailout-free and proudly western media that is on your side. With your support, we can give Westerners a voice that doesn\'t need taxpayers money.

Share this with your friends:

Trending

Copyright © Western Standard New Media Corp.