Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre says British Columbia’s permissive policies on illicit drug use have been a failure.
Poilievre said during a Wednesday media scrum that there’s no question how the province officially decriminalizing hard drugs will play out.
“The debate is over,” he said. “It has been a disaster.”
Poilievre said the B.C. government has seen overdose deaths rise by 300% under Liberal and NDP drug policies. He said the results are on display in affected areas of Vancouver.
“It is hell on Earth,” he said.
British Columbia’s new decriminalization regime came into effect on Tuesday. The three-year program will allow adults to carry up to 2.5 grams of illicit substances, such as cocaine and crack.
The province said Tuesday’s move will remove barriers for addicts, enabling their recovery.
“Decriminalizing people who use drugs breaks down the fear and shame associated with substance use and ensures they feel safer reaching out for life-saving supports,” said B.C. Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Jennifer Whiteside.
Poilievre said he would tackle the problem differently, pointing to Alberta’s recent investments into treatment beds at recovery facilities.