Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Opioids, Pot and Economics: Three Ways Politics Touched Canadians This Week

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Opioids, Pot and Economics: Three Ways Politics Touched Canadians This Week

Article excerpt

Three ways politics touched us this week

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OTTAWA - It was the final week of Parliament before Christmas, and all through the House.... the Liberals did their best to make sure no one had any time to think about ethics or fundraising before heading home for the holidays.

By the time MPs agreed Wednesday afternoon to rise until the end of January, the government had announced a new opioid strategy, ramped up negotiations with the provinces on health care funding, welcomed a complicated blueprint on how to legalize pot, set up a different system for new Canadians to bring in their parents and grandparents and launched a review of the assisted-dying law.

None of that kept the criticism at bay, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau repeatedly found himself being asked why he believes it's acceptable to consort with -- and accept $1,500 fees from -- donors with vested interests.

In a policy-heavy week, there were more than a few things worth pondering. Here are just three of the ways politics touched everyday lives, from how the government wants to control drugs to how the Conservatives deal with economics.

OPIOIDS

The government has announced a two-pronged approach to confronting the opioid crisis.

Health Minister Jane Philpott has tabled legislation that would give cities more leeway to open up supervised drug injection sites. The law would essentially remove the high bar set by the previous Conservative government, which required communities to meet 26 conditions in order to qualify. For now, there are only two safe injection sites in Canada, both in Vancouver.

At the same time, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale proposed measures to crack down on illegal drugs and their ingredients coming over the border. Border guards would be allowed to examine very small suspicious packages and also restrict the import of equipment used to make drugs.

In British Columbia alone, officials say there have been 622 fatal drug overdoses between January and October this year, of which about 60 per cent were linked to fentanyl.

MARIJUANA

Even as Ottawa moved to more strictly control opioids, it also got a step closer to legalizing pot. A government-appointed task force finally made public a blueprint that would allow those 18 and older to buy regulated marijuana from stores and through the mail. …

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