Chilliwack 2020 provincial election candidates, clockwise from top left, Josue Anderson (Independent), Andrew Coombes (Libertarian), Tim Cooper (Green), John Martin (BC Liberal), Diane Janzen (BC Conservative), and Daniel Coulter (NDP).

Chilliwack 2020 provincial election candidates, clockwise from top left, Josue Anderson (Independent), Andrew Coombes (Libertarian), Tim Cooper (Green), John Martin (BC Liberal), Diane Janzen (BC Conservative), and Daniel Coulter (NDP).

Chilliwack candidates discuss safe injection sites, drug decriminalization

NDP candidate: ‘We need to fight this issue with everything we have’

All six candidates vying for the Chilliwack MLA seat took part in an online all-candidates meeting on Oct. 14.

Questions for the candidates were sent in by the public via an online app, and included affordable housing, ICBC, and how each candidate plans to advocate for more school infrastructure in Chilliwack.

They also discussed safe injection sites and drug addiction as one of the top questions. And while all candidates agreed that safe injection sites are necessary, their answers included shots at other parties’ tactics while providing various solutions to the opioid pandemic.

Dan Coulter, candidate for the BC NDP, defended his party’s work over the last three years while admitting they had more work to do.

He noted that the party has been working closely with Dr. Bonnie Henry, who has been highlighting the opioid overdose crisis in conjunction with her regular COVID-19 updates.

The NDP have doubled youth beds in B.C., including a centre in Chilliwack, he said.

READ MORE: New treatment centre for addicted youth opening in Chilliwack

B.C. has experienced its worse summer for overdose deaths in history. Coulter said he is in favour of both safe injection sites and a safe supply of drugs.

“One death is too much,” he said. “These people are our family, friends, coworkers, neighbours… we need to fight this issue with everything we have.”

John Martin, the incumbent candidate who is running again for the BC Liberals, said that society needs to realize some hard truths about addiction.

“We have to accept there are going to be people that will be in that situation for the rest of their life, and safe injection and safe supply for them is literally life or death,” he said.

But it’s about more than just harm reduction, he added.

“Addiction is a health issue, in some cases it’s a mental health issue.”

BC Conservative candidate Diane Janzen, speaking in rebuttal, said neither party had done enough to stop the drug problem from becoming a crisis in B.C.

“My central question is where have the NDP and the BC Liberals been for the last 16 years?” she said.

The BC Liberals didn’t do enough to stop money laundering that fed into the problem, she said, and the NDP have not done enough to deal with the ensuing drug problems. She added that it was a BC Liberal government that closed down a detox facility in Chilliwack years ago.

“BC Conservatives believe we need to blow up the system,” she said.

Janzen is also the executive director of Chilliwack Community Services. She said what this community needs most is adult male treatment beds, and to look into prevention, especially for youth.

And those who are known to be prolific drug dealers need to get “hammered” by the justice system, she added.

Both the Libertarian candidate, Andrew Coombes and the Green candidate Tim Cooper both stated they also support safe-injection sites.

Coombes added that China needs to be held accountable for drugs that are coming into the country.

Cooper told a story about a man he knows who struggles with employment due to drug-use history. He lauded a system used in Portugal where they have decriminalized certain aspects of drug use, and help former drug users transition back into society.

Independent candidate Josue Anderson was not called on for that particular question, as per the meeting’s format.

The Chilliwack all-candidates meeting begins at about the 46-minute mark in a video accessible at www.theprogress.com. It is followed by the Chilliwack-Kent meeting. The video is courtesy of the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce’s YouTube channel.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP don’t want to see you having your vehicle towed away after an aggressive driving infraction. (RCMP photo)
Chilliwack RCMP hand out more than 500 tickets in aggressive driving crackdown

Police say they’ll continue to focus on speeding, aggressive and distracted driving

Home sales for November in the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board were profitable for sellers because of historically low supply. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)
Historically low supply leads to higher prices in Chilliwack real estate market

City dwellers want to relocate to the eastern Fraser Valley and are willing to pay a high price

Prolific offender Jonathan David Olson (left) and Brodie Tyrel Robinson, both of Chilliwack, were convicted of several offences in BC Supreme Court in August 2019 in connection to a crime spree on the Canada Day long weekend in 2017.
Dangerous offender designation off the table for Chilliwack gangster

Jonathan Olson found guilty in connection with 2017 crime spree now facing 14 years maximum

Wilma’s Transition Society is having a Christmas Car Give-away. (Wilma’s)
Someone in Chilliwack is set to win a car in a Christmas Give-Away

Fill out an application online with Wilma’s Transition Society until Dec. 14

Protestors with an “End The Lockdown$” sign at Science World in Vancouver on May 3, 2020. (Desire Amouzou photo)
OPINION: On individual rights versus community health

Using freedom as an excuse to gather in this pandemic illustrates a staggering degree of selfishness

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Cops converge in a Marshall Road parking lot on Thursday afternoon following a reported police incident. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Federal offender escapes, gets shot at and is taken back into custody in Abbotsford

Several branches of law enforcement find escapee a short distance from where he fled

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Lefeuvre Road, near Myrtle Avenue, was blocked to traffic on Thursday (Dec. 3) after an abandoned pickup truck was found on fire. Police are investigating to determine if there are any links to a killing an hour earlier in Surrey. (Shane MacKichan photo)
Torched truck found in Abbotsford an hour after killing in Surrey

Police still investigating to determine if incidents are linked

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

Surrey Pretrial centre in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey Pretrial hit with human rights complaint over mattress

The inmate who lodged the complaint said he needed a second mattress to help him manage his arthritis

Most Read