Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

Vancouver’s mayor says he understands that some drug users aren’t happy with the city’s proposed model for decriminalization but time is of the essence and the details can be worked out later.

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs.

He says it’s vital that the proposal reach the federal cabinet as soon as possible and while Patty Hajdu, who has expressed a willingness to seriously consider the application, remains health minister.

Stewart is also defending the role police have played in shaping the so-called “Vancouver model” proposal, adding there’s no way cabinet will approve a pitch that doesn’t have the support of law enforcement.

In a letter to Hajdu as well as the Vancouver and British Columbia working groups on decriminalization, a coalition of 15 organizations have said the current proposal to Ottawa must be scrapped immediately as it risks reproducing the harms of prohibition.

The coalition is asking the city to raise the proposed drug thresholds from a three-day supply and demanded the Vancouver Police Department take a back seat in discussions.

Stewart says there will be ongoing reviews of thresholds and other elements after an exemption is secured, but “this could all go away” if the government or ministers changes.

“If we don’t get the Health exemption secured, if we don’t have the federal health minister sign on to the exemption, then there are no reviews and decriminalization is dead,” Stewart says.

“My first objective has always been to get this door open.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 12, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Drugsopioid crisisVancouver

Just Posted

(Special to Langley Advance Times)
TRAFFIC: Crash on 200th Street in Langley

Emergency crews are on scene

Last year, strata president Rob Parker and his fellow owners were facing huge increases. This year, rates are down somewhat and owners are breathing a little easier. (Langley Advance Times files)
Strata insurance costs retreat after devastating spike in 2020

Many condos and townhouse complexes are getting a break after record hikes

Principal Chris Wejr and vice principal Mark Touzeau of Shortreed Elementary got all dressed up for their students in a tacky tourist greeting on Friday morning. (Michelle Greer/Special to The Star)
VIDEO: Tropical tacky tourists vacation at Shortreed Elementary

Staff dressed up on Friday morning and greeted students with grass skirts, sunglasses, and smiles

Otter Co-op. (Aldergrove Star files)
Co-op Community Spaces rebuilding community connections

Co-op is providing $1 million in funding for local projects as COVID-19 reopening gets underway

Martians have landed, and the invasion is being broadcast by students at H.D. Stafford school, performing their version of the famous Orson Welles radio production. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Mars attacks! And Langley students are broadcasting the invasion

H.D. Stafford students produce version of famed Orson Welles radio play

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
VIDEO: Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

West Coast Duty Free president Gary Holowaychuk stands next to empty shelves inside his store on Tuesday (June 15). (Aaron Hinks photo)
Revenue down 97% at Surrey duty free as owner waits for U.S. border to reopen

Products approaching best before dates had to be donated, others destroyed

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE - This July 6, 2017 file photo shows prescription drugs in a glass flask at the state crime lab in Taylorsville, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Contaminants in generic drugs may cause long-term harm to DNA: B.C. researcher

Scientist says findings suggest high volume overseas facilities require strict regulation

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., on April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Labour shortages, closed borders major obstacles to B.C. restaurant, tourism restarts

Industry expert says it won’t start to recover until international travellers can visit

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Most Read