According to health statistics, more than 100 people will die across Ontario during the next few weeks while our uncaring provincial government stalls and plays politics on a decision to permit or reject proposed supervised injection sites.
One eye always on the upcoming Oct. 22 municipal election, regional councillors voted this week to defer public consultations on the subject until the provincial Tory government makes up its mind. Statistics indicate that, during the delay, at least seven Waterloo Region residents will die because of opioid overdoses.
Locally, the insipid motion to freeze action on four possible local sites until at least early fall was moved by outgoing regional chairman Ken Seiling and unanimously supported by regional councillors who made some token bleating about the delay and resulting fatalities.
In Kitchener, the two proposed local sites are in Coun. Sarah Marsh’s ward at 115 Water St. N. and behind city hall at 150 Duke St. W. A new potential site in my downtown ward at 33 Kent Ave was announced but then withdrawn because of a “mis-communication” (read screw-up) between the property owner and regional staff.
In Cambridge, despite council’s bylaw buffoonery, sites are proposed in Galt at 149 Ainslie St. N. and 150 Main St.
As previously stated, I would support any of the sites as a proven way to help address the increasing and deadly problem.
Meanwhile, I don’t criticize regional councillors for swallowing the fact that our reactionary, shallow Premier Doug Ford sees “buck-a-beer” far more important than the injection sites he’s “dead set” against.
However, I believe council members should continue and conclude an essential public consultation process in hopes Ford’s advisors and cabinet members might exhibit a tiny grain of empathy and compassion toward those experiencing such tragic opioid-addiction consequences.
Locally, I hope the troublesome issue gets further debate and attention on voter doorsteps and at future all-candidate meetings for regional-council representatives.