Parliament: Debate on Bill C-37 and the Fentanyl Crisis

Elizabeth May: Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is my first opportunity to get to my feet in today’s debate on Bill C-37. We are all terribly concerned. I am desperately concerned, as a member of Parliament from British Columbia, about the fentanyl crisis. Over 900 people died last year; I think it was 162 in December alone.

While this bill is definitely helpful, we must be able to have safe injection sites available to Canadians where we need them. I know the hon. member is not the Minister of Health, but could she outline for us the Liberal government’s position on why this is not a national health emergency? A lot of us want to see a national health emergency declared.

 Julie Dabrusin: Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, ultimately, this is about making sure that we are doing what we need to do to address the opioid crisis. As I mentioned, this bill would be one step in that direction. I see the need in my own community. That is why I specifically wanted to bring up the experience of South Riverdale Community Health Centre.

I mentioned some of the steps that the Minister of Health has already taken, with making the antidote naloxone more available across Canada, as well as providing an extension for the exemption for Insite for an additional four years and granting section 56 exemptions for the Dr. Peter Centre. We are working on this right now.

I understand the urgency. That is why I want to press this forward and bring everyone in the House together to agree to move the bill through as quickly as we can.