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

Island farmers concerned with Agricultural Land Reserve changes

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting in Nanoose Bay

Former TOSH director: ‘I will miss that challenge’

Corinne James looks back fondly on memories made at art centre

Parksville resort fire caused by flammable gas used to extract oil from cannabis

Investigators detail reasons for explosion and blaze that destroyed building

RDN adopts new bylaw to prevent backflow

Board wants to avoid legal liability

Former Parksville Generals player lands head coaching gig in Norway

New position is a dream come true for Henry Acres

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

Man to be sentenced for sexual abuse of young girl in Nanaimo

Stephen Mark Castleden also sentenced for child pornography-related charges

VIDEO: Firefighters stop blaze from spreading after BMW crashes at Saratoga Speedway

Victoria-based businessmen were ‘corner training’ on Father’s Day when incident took place

Two men arrested for breaking into vehicles in Port Alberni

RCMP still searching for property owners

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

Ginger Goodwin’s Cumberland cemetery grave desecrated

Just days before the Miners Memorial weekend, Ginger Goodwin’s grave has been… Continue reading

Most Read