NANAIMO – Illicit drug toxicity is now the leading cause of unnatural death in B.C., according to a report from a panel of experts released this week. Today, NDP Critic for Mental Health and Addictions, Gord Johns, and NDP MP Lisa Marie Barron (Nanaimo-Ladysmith) toured Nanaimo to see the effects of this crisis first hand. Johns recently tabled a bill which would decriminalize drug possession for personal use and expand access to crucial harm reduction, treatment and recovery services to help address the growing crisis.
“Like many communities in B.C. and across the country, Nanaimo has been struggling with the toxic drug overdose crisis which has cost many families their loved ones. No one should have to experience this kind of suffering,” said Johns. “The Liberals continue to ignore the advice of experts on how to deal with this crisis. I am hopeful they, and all Parliamentarians, will support my bill which will save lives here in Nanaimo and across Canada.
Victoria-BC: Changes to federal funding distribution for language revitalization programs has raised concern for the survival of programming at the Victoria Native Friendship Centre (VNFC).
The VNFC offers language classes to meet the needs of its diverse Indigenous community, including Nuučaan̓uɫ, Nihiyaw (Cree - Y dialect and TH dialect), Nedut’en Carrier, Dene, Dakota, and Anishinaabe.
Johns praised Nuu-chah-nulth elders, educators and learners, who he said are making tremendous progress towards revitalizing their Indigenous language, in spite of the uncertainty of federal funding from one year to the next.
“Now their language program funding may be cut by up to 57 per cent because of a newly proposed federal heritage funding formula. The formula fails to recognize that British Columbia has the highest concentration of Indigenous language and cultural diversity of any province or territory in the country, with 35 distinct languages and more than 90 dialects,” said Johns in his statement.