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Poilievre demands Trudeau reject Toronto’s request for drug decriminalization

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is demanding that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reject Toronto’s request for drug decriminalization, blaming a similar policy in British Columbia for causing chaos and further overdose deaths.

Toronto’s request is being made in the form of an exemption to federal drug laws, which would see possession of small amounts of certain illegal drugs decriminalized.

In a letter sent to the prime minister on May 1, Poilievre says a similar exemption in B.C. has “caused chaos in hospitals, playgrounds, parks and public transportation.”

“Worse still, your taxpayer-funded hard drug program has allowed these dangerous drugs to be diverted to vulnerable Canadians, including teenagers and children,” he wrote.

In the letter, the Conservative Party Leader demands that Trudeau reverse his support for “legalizing crack, cocaine, heroin, meth and other hard drugs” and that he “reject the City of Toronto’s request.”

Earlier this month, Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa issued a statement clarifying the city’s stance, saying their request is not meant to legalize drugs.

“There has been criticism of Toronto’s decriminalization efforts, suggesting we focus on treatment rather than decriminalization,” she wrote.

“Decriminalization is fundamentally recognizing that addiction is a health issue – and therefore requires health-based interventions. Decriminalization is not legalization.”

She goes on to say the proposal is based on evidence and aims to reduce harms associated with drug use.

“Our application for an exemption to the federal law that criminalizes the possession of drugs for personal use, was developed in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders, including individuals with lived experience who use drugs, organizations who serve them, and the Toronto Police Service.”

The city says it has been closely monitoring the exemption in British Columbia and said that public drug use would remain illegal.

This is a breaking news story. More to come.

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