Deadline for Alberta safe supply committee report extended to June

The deadline for a report of recommendations from the legislative committee examining safe supply has been extended to June

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The deadline for a report of recommendations from the legislative committee examining safe supply has been extended to June.

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Government whip Whitney Issik brought forward the motion Tuesday night on behalf of government house leader Jason Nixon. It was carried, moving the deadline of the Select Special Committee to Examine Safe Supply to provide their report from April 30 to June 30.

The committee has heard oral presentations and received written submissions on the concept of a safe drug supply as a means of addressing the current drug poisoning crisis in Alberta.

In a statement, Tim Gerwing, director of communications for the government caucus, said the committee has heard over 15 hours of testimony from experts.

“In order to develop strong, evidence-based recommendations, the Committee is seeking a short extension to process and discuss the detailed evidence it has received,” Gerwing said. “This will ensure the best possible recommendations are reached for our province.”

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Associate minister of mental health and addictions Mike Ellis told reporters earlier this week that he believes the committee asked for the deadline in order to write a thorough report.

Ellis said no decision-making hinges on the report at this time.

“I want to see what the report has to say. I think the testimony was really well articulated,” he said. “These were some of the foremost experts in not just Canada, but throughout the United States.”

The committee heard from stakeholders including Dr. Keith Humphreys, who served in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy under US presidents George Bush and Barack Obama, Dr. Nathaniel Day, medical lead of the Alberta Health Services Virtual Opioid Dependency Program, Edmonton police Chief Dale McFee as a representative of the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police, Michael Shellenberger, author of the book San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities, the Alberta Medical Association, and the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association’s Opioid Poisoning Committee.

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In February, four Alberta NDP MLAs resigned from the committee over concerns the UCP is “clearly intent on staging an extended political stunt.”

The MLAs had raised concerns about the bias against harm reduction policies and the overall impartiality of some of the presenters.

“We know that this process is rigged, that the UCP is not open to really hearing what’s obviously happening on the ground, what is the evidence and we know that from their stakeholder list,” said Lori Sigurdson at the time.

The UCP caucus had called the NDP’s resignations a political stunt of their own.

The committee’s work has also been dismissed by several experts and advocates, including the British Columbia Center on Substance Use, Moms Stop the Harm, and Each and Every, who declined to present to the committee.

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in to public letterthe British Columbia Center on Substance Use said the committee omitted key participants and stakeholders, including people with lived experience with substance use, impacted families, clinicians prescribing safer supply, and public health experts who specialize in drug policy in Canada.

with files from Lisa Johnson

[email protected]

Toxi-City full series

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