Chelsa Meadus, BC Liberal candidate for the riding of Maple Ridge-Mission, listens to Leader Andrew Wilkinson, as he addresses the topic of drug addiction during a campaign stop in Pitt Meadows on Thursday. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson addressed the issue of drug addiction and public safety today during a campaign stop in Pitt Meadows.

Saying this would be one of the top priorities for his party, he didn’t mention exactly how the BC Liberals plan to tackle the problem.

Flanked by Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows candidate Cheryl Ashlie and Chelsa Meadus, candidate for Maple Ridge-Mission, Wilkinson started by acknowledging the record number of people in the province who have died from a drug overdose this year.

As of the end of July the number of deaths from illicit drugs in B.C. topped 900.

Wilkinson said not enough is being done to combat the problem.

“We’ve seen the ravages of drug addiction and the people who suffer from drug addiction right here in Maple Ridge. The NDP’s approach has basically been to provide nothing more than a roof over people’s heads,” said Wilkinson outside The Pitt Meadows Seniors Activity Centre along 119B Avenue.

RELATED: Fatal overdoses continue to spike in B.C. as July sees 175 illicit drug deaths

“It’s warehousing people. It doesn’t work,” he said.

Wilkinson talked about needing more effective approaches to deal with the issues related to people suffering from drug addiction.

“If it’s your sister, your mother, your daughter, you would want something to be done to assist a person with drug addiction to get off the drugs,” continued Wilkinson.

RELATED: Maple Ridge overdoses spike in first half of 2020

“We also need to talk about prevention because not nearly enough is being done in that regard,” he said, adding he would have more to say about that next week.

Wilkinson concluded by saying in order to prevent the harm you’ve got to treat the cause, which he said, applies to people with drug addiction, homelessness and to the level of growing crime in the province.

Wilkinson’s visit came on the heals of BC NDP Leader John Horgan, who was at the CEED Centre earlier in the day to announce his promise of more $10 per day child care spaces aimed at benefiting middle and low-income families.

Wilkinson has been critical of Horgan calling a snap election in the middle of a pandemic, calling it a “power grab”.


 

cflanagan@mapleridgenews.com

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BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson talks about drug addiction during a campaign stop in Pitt Meadows Thursday afternoon. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson talks about drug addiction during a campaign stop in Pitt Meadows Thursday afternoon. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

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