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NDP needs to protect children’s public places from drug use, says Kevin Falcon

Opposition leader says decriminalization puts too much pressure on individual municipalities
BC United leader Kevin Falcon spoke to the media in Abbotsford on May 17 on a range of topics, including decriminalization and the pressures it’s putting on individual municipalities. (Jessica Peters/Abbotsford News)

BC United leader Kevin Falcon is calling decriminalization “a risky experiment,” that will put children at risk in communities around the province.

The opposition leader spoke to media Wednesday during a visit to Abbotsford, alongside Abbotsford South MLA Bruce Banman.

“I keep asking them, ‘for God’s sake, just make the right decision and put some guardrails in place’ so that this risky experiment of theirs doesn’t become a total disaster,” he said regarding the recent decriminalization of small amounts of drugs.

“At a minimum we have to protect our parks, playgrounds and beaches, especially as our kids are coming out of school in the next few weeks,” he said. “We cannot have them exposed to open drug use of heroin, crack cocaine, fentanyl and all the other dangerous drugs that could affect our children.”

BC United MLAs want to see those areas protected in the same way schools are, where open drug use is prohibited.

That suggestion, he said, is coming from municipalities who feel the decriminalization is “tone deaf” to what is happening in communities across the province.

“We have more mayors and councils stepping up here and saying they want to put bylaws in to prevent drug use in parts of public places,” he said, including Kamloops and Nanaimo.

But a provincewide ban would make more sense than offloading the work to municipalities, Falcon said.

“This is an easy decision,” he said. “Why are we having to argue with them for months about doing something that’s so obvious?”

It’s just one of the topics he’s talking to people about as he travels around this spring, as well crime, housing and “social chaos and disorder.”

“The situation is disastrous,” he said. “It’s awful. It’s the worst I’ve ever seen.”

British Columbia has the highest average rents in Canada, the highest housing prices in North America, and there is no change on the horizon, he added.

READ MORE: B.C. MLA calls for provincewide ban on drug use in parks, playgrounds


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Jessica Peters

About the Author: Jessica Peters

I began my career in 1999, covering communities across the Fraser Valley ever since.
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