EDMONTON, AB (September 16, 2016): Today, Wildrose Leader Brian Jean, Shadow Justice Minister Scott Cyr and Shadow Health Minister Drew Barnes sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau requesting that his government amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to allow additional sentencing powers related to the fentanyl crisis.
Fentanyl is having devastating impacts on Alberta communities and solutions are desperately needed for the opioid, which can prove deadly in a dosage as small as a few grains of salt. Previously, Wildrose released a 10 point plan to combat Alberta’s fentanyl crisis, urged for more widespread use of naloxone kits and pressed the NDP government to implement a public health emergency.
“Wildrose believes that all levels of government need to be working collaboratively to combat this crisis head on,” Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said. “We have already lost too many lives to this deadly drug. We are now asking the federal government to send a strong message and toughen penalties for those spreading these dangerous drugs in our communities.”
The letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau outlined three specific sections where theControlled Drugs and Substances Act should be amended to change mandatory minimum sentences related to fentanyl and other illegal synthetic opioids:
- 5(3)(a) – Trafficking of fentanyl should carry a two year less a day minimum;
- 6(3)(a) – Importing of fentanyl should carry a five year minimum; and,
- 7(2)(a) – Production of fentanyl should carry a five year minimum.
“Wildrose believes that by specifically targeting fentanyl among Schedule I substances, we can hone in on those who are importing, producing and trafficking this lethal substance,” Wildrose Shadow Justice Minister Scott Cyr said. “By changing the mandatory minimum for those convicted of these crimes, we can send a clear message to those involved in the dealing of this lethal drug that we are committed to making our communities safer.”
In western Canada, a large amount of fentanyl is being shipped into the country from China, making trafficking and importing two key priorities.
“My heart goes out to all those who have battled a fentanyl addiction, who have a loved one who is currently grappling with addiction or have someone who has been lost to this terrible drug,” Wildrose Shadow Health Minister Drew Barnes said. “We will not stop fighting for those dealing with opioid addictions, and finding solutions to curb this crisis.”
Wildrose has also advocated for strategies to limit the supply of fentanyl, increased funding for addictions programs, the enactment of a public health emergency to allow for greater information sharing and further education campaigns regarding the deadly drug.