Mike de Jong

Eby’s decriminalization U-turn a stunning admission of failure

David Eby and the BC NDP have a knack for implementing policies without thinking through the consequences. Case in point: their reckless experiment with drug decriminalization. It’s a saga that has left parents, experts, municipalities, and our BC United Official Opposition shaking our heads in disbelief.

For months, we’ve been sounding the alarm about the dangers of this ill-conceived policy — pushed through by the NDP without the necessary guardrails. We warned that it would worsen an already critical situation in our province. And now, after months of stubbornly ignoring our concerns, the NDP is backpedalling, introducing legislation to ban the use of drugs in certain public spaces. It’s a stunning admission that their experiment has failed miserably.

This is classic David Eby — a lack of forethought from the beginning. The NDP promised to “fast-track” decriminalization back in 2020, and here we are three years later, witnessing the rollout of flawed legislation that has caused chaos in our communities. We’ve all heard of too many instances where little children have been exposed to the dangerous consequences of this policy, including coming across hazardous drug paraphernalia like needles and used drug bags.

This is not what the NDP promised British Columbians. They pledged accessible treatment and recovery services, but those are nowhere to be found. A public dashboard to track the impact of their policy? Also, nowhere to be found. It’s a laundry list of unfulfilled commitments.

Now, the NDP have introduced legislation walking back part of their policy that is full of glaring omissions government seems to have conveniently overlooked. They’ve stripped police of full powers that could have been regained through a federal agreement amendment, creating enforcement uncertainty. And what about public restrooms, stairwells in public buildings, public transportation, or areas for public festivals and events? These areas remain a grey zone, contributing to the chaos.

To add to the confusion, local governments are now mandated to consult health boards, robbing them of the autonomy to address the gaps left by the NDP. It’s a mess, plain and simple. This comes after municipalities such as Kamloops, Sicamous and Port Coquitlam all had to pass their own bylaws banning drug use in areas frequented by children and families — all to curb the impact of NDP government inaction.

Yet while the NDP spends time on a failed policy, the number of homeless people in Vancouver has risen by a staggering 32 percent over three years — the highest spike on record. It’s a heartbreaking reality, and it’s clear where the government’s priorities lie when, instead, they rush to name a provincial fossil during the first week of the legislature.

Amid all this, an average of six British Columbians lose their lives every day due to toxic drug-related deaths. The state of public safety continues to deteriorate, and David Eby’s policies have only made matters worse.

It’s high time for the BC NDP to get their priorities straight. Instead of chasing reckless experiments, let’s focus on real solutions. It’s time to end this failed decriminalization experiment and put the safety and well-being of British Columbians first.


Originally published in the Fraser Valley Today, October 11, 2023

Subscribe to e-News

Stay up to date on important news:

One more step...

Please check your inbox for a confirmation email. Click on the button to confirm your subscription.