Mike de Jong

B.C. tax dollars fuelling the illicit drug trade

In a shocking and deeply concerning revelation, recent findings have uncovered public money being used to purchase illicit drugs from the dark web, feeding organized crime and perpetuating the drug crisis in B.C. The essence of our province’s toxic drug crisis lies in the relentless fight against drug addiction and its devastating consequences. As taxpayers, we expect our tax dollars to be used ethically in ways that benefit society as a whole — with tangible results to show for it. This clearly is not the case with David Eby, where the crisis has only continued to worsen after six years and two terms of an NDP government.

In the face of this escalating disaster that shows no signs of slowing down, the NDP government’s response has been nothing short of abysmal, where failed public policy experiments such as the decriminalization of hard drugs without guard rails have yielded disastrous results.

David Eby’s experiment is failing. However genuine the intention and motivation may have been, the government’s approach is condemning more British Columbians, including the vulnerable and young people, to a life of drug dependency and a risk of death.

Instead, what was promised as a path to better public health has become a nightmare. Communities, parents, experts, municipalities, and police agencies have voiced their concerns, but government has been slow to respond.

In the midst of this crisis, we have now learned the NDP government diverted $1.2 million in public funds to the Drug User Liberation Front (DULF) and the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU). DULF has openly admitted that the taxpayer money provided by the NDP was used to establish a facility and hire staff who then trafficked in illicit drugs from the dark web — knowingly putting money in the hands of organized crime. Yes, you read that right, public funds were misused to purchase drugs from criminals under the Premier’s watch.

Kevin Falcon and BC United have long been staunch advocates for addressing the toxic drug crisis by overhauling the delivery of mental health and addiction services and building a recovery-oriented system of care for those suffering from addiction. Our “Better is Possible” plan is not just a slogan but a commitment to take concrete actions that prioritize the well-being of British Columbians.

This contrasts with David Eby’s solution, which was to use taxpayer dollars to fund organizations like DULF and VANDU. While organizations like DULF may claim to operate a “compassion club,” the truth is far from compassionate. The group purchases illicit drugs on the black market and then sells them at cost to a small group of drug users. Such actions not only help fund organized crime but also undermine the very principles of harm reduction.

The statistics surrounding the drug crisis are staggering. The BC Coroners Service reported at least 174 drug-related deaths in August alone, contributing to a grim total of 1,600 fatalities in 2023. The death toll from drug toxicity has now surpassed other leading causes of death in our province, including homicides, suicides, accidents, and natural disasters combined. The gravity of this crisis calls for immediate and decisive action — clearly, David Eby’s approach is not working.

It’s time to address these issues head-on. In the Legislature this week, I reiterated calls for a full forensic audit of every public dollar that was given to these organizations involved in criminal activities. This NDP government must take accountability and tell British Columbians the truth, ensuring that going forward, taxpayer dollars are used to improve the reality on the ground and make people’s lives better, not to fuel the illicit drug trade that harms so many in our province.

British Columbians deserve so much better.


Originally published in the Fraser Valley Today, October 25, 2023

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