Eby pushes back on Poilievre’s characterization of Vancouver being ‘hell on earth’

B.C. premier David Eby’s first official trip to Ottawa prompting a face-off with Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre – who called Vancouver “hell on earth.” Liza Yuzda with how the premier is defending the province’s drug decriminalization pilot to.

B.C.’s premier is pushing back on the federal Conservative leader after he said the province’s response to the toxic drug death crisis has made living in Vancouver “hell on earth.”

This comes a day after the province’s pilot program which decriminalizes the possession of small amounts of illicit drugs began, and as Premier David Eby and a handful of ministers are meeting with their federal counterparts in Ottawa Wednesday.

While Eby did not mention Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre by name, he says he hopes that all parties focus on an evidence-based approach to drug policy.

“The goal is to save lives, to get between predatory drug dealers and people with serious addictions issues, and we want to get between those with doctors and nurses and so part of that is around our safe supply initiative,” Eby explained.

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Eby says it is a crisis, a matter of life and death.

“When you talk to parents who have lost a kid who thought they were taking party drugs at an event, and end up taking fentanyl and dying, you understand how serious this issue is and how it crosses partisan lines and how we all need to work on solutions,” he said.

We need to do everything we can to destigmatize drug use and help those who use illicit drugs, Eby says.

“All this work is to keep people alive so that they can get into treatment so that they can get the support they need to hopefully turn their lives around,” he added.

Without evidence, Pollievre states that providing a safer supply is making the toxic drug crisis and mounting deaths worse.

He notes if he and the conservative party are elected, he would end the decriminalization pilot.

“You only need to take a walk down the streets of East Vancouver where addicts lay face first on the pavement, where people are living permanently in tents and encampments,” the Conservative leader said.

He says a future Tory government would reverse the policy, which experts say is important and backed by research, and focus more efforts on recovery and treatment.

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