Vancouver Island petition to decriminalize all drugs continues to collect signatures

A Courtenay couple is collecting signatures for their petition to decriminalize drugs in Canada

Although a petition started by a Courtenay couple to decriminalize personal drug possession was turned down by the federal government last month, the pair is not giving up on collecting signatures.

Last March, John and Jennifer Hedican put forth a petition calling for the declaration of the overdose crisis as a National Public Health Emergency, to reform current drug policy to decriminalization and the creation of a system to provide safe substances.

The declaration of a National Public Health Emergency invokes the Emergency Act, and allows the establishment of emergency shelters, hospitals and payment.

In its response, which was tabled on Jan. 28, the federal government said it is not currently considering the decriminalization of personal possession of drugs, other than the legalization and regulation of cannabis.

It was also noted that declaring a national public health emergency at this time would not provide the government with any additional powers beyond what it has already used.

The petition was open for signatures from March 27 to July 25, 2018 and was presented to the House of Commons on Dec. 3, 2018 by Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns.

“Our online/e-petition closed last summer, as its window was only three months, but the written paper petition does not have an end date,” John explained.

The couple continues to collect signature when they are able to at functions around the Valley. In the winter, they collected 1,000 signatures with the help of nursing students at North Island College.

“Every 25 signatures on the paper petition can then be sent and it gives our MP Gord Johns the opportunity to stand in the House of Commons and speak to our petition for one minute.”

RELATED: Courtenay petition to decriminalize all drugs turned down by federal government

In April 2017, the Hedicans lost their son Ryan, 26, following a long battle of addiction due to, as termed by the family, “fentanyl poisoning.”

“We are hoping that national attention to this issue will demonstrate just how pervasive substance use is and how we have to support those who use, rather than letting them die,” the Hedicans wrote in an email last year.

John said the response by the government to their online petition was disappointing as they had the opportunity to make meaningful action.

“While we were disappointed, we weren’t surprised, as their response was in line with all their rhetoric that is given any time this subject is raised,” he added.

“Ryan’s second year passing anniversary is April 24, 2019, and 3,000 more British Columbian citizens and 9,000 Canadians have been killed by a contaminated source in those two years.”

The couple believes decriminalization of personal possession will help remove the stigma attached to addiction and substance use. They have given a presentation entitled Ryan’s Story to schools in the Valley and beyond.



erin.haluschak@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

North Island College holding information session on new culinary diploma

Get a sneak peek at the new culinary kitchen at the Campbell River campus

Council approves replacement of overhead heaters at Fire Hall

Port Hardy council has agreed to spend $11,000 on the replacement of… Continue reading

North Island Eagles minor rep ockey organization hand out year-end awards in Port McNeill

It was quite the season and then some for minor rep hockey here in the North Island.

North Island resident to campaign on climate, economy for Liberal Party seat in Ottawa

Peter Schwarzhoff joins race for the second time in North Island-Powell River riding

Press release: Port Alice Health Centre service model announced

“a sustainable and dependable model of health care service delivery in Port Alice is a priority”

Kelowna toddler suffers cracked skull after fall from balcony

Neighbour who found the two-year-old boy said he has a bump the size of a golf ball on his head

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

Baby boom seniors putting pressure on B.C. long-term care: report

B.C. leads Canada in growth of dementia, dependence on care

UPDATED: B.C. man says he’ll take People’s Party lawsuit as far as he can

Federal judge shut down Satinder Dhillon’s ‘nonsensical’ motion to bar use of PPC name in byelection

Canada stripping citizenship from Chinese man over alleged marriage fraud

The move comes amid severely strained relations between Ottawa and Beijing

Nevada court orders former Vancouver man to pay back $21.7M to investors

The commission says Michael Lathigee committed fraud over a decade ago

Most Read