Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her kind words.
I have a clear commitment to harm reduction and to neighbourhood participation. I have to say, the downtown east side of Vancouver is an incredible neighbourhood. People often think of it as a terrible place. Anyone who has any familiarity with it will know that it has some of the best qualities of a neighbourhood that we would find anywhere in Canada, the way people co-operate with each other, take care of each other, look out for each other and try to plan for the needs of that community.
When that community was discussing ways to address the drug issues in the community, I was a member of a church in the downtown east side. My partner was the minister of that congregation, the First United Church at the corner of Hastings and Gore, a central corner of the downtown east side. When the community was looking for a place to house a safe injection site, the people of the First United Church congregation, the people who run the mission at First United Church, were there to say that they wanted to participate in that.
They were willing to house that safe injection site, knowing that it was outside the law and that it was likely an act of civil disobedience to do that, but they knew the importance of that facility. They knew the importance of harm reduction. They knew that facility was going to save lives. It was eventually established not in the church but down the street, but the evidence and studies have shown that it does do all those things and that it has saved lives of people who live on the downtown east side.
Sadly, the government removed harm reduction from its approach to dealing with drug issues. That was a mistake. The community in Vancouver knows that I believe, in my riding of Burnaby--Douglas, there is a different approach that is needed. I hope that someday we will come to that. I do not have much hope that it is going to happen in this Parliament, with the current government and with this kind of legislation, but we need to come to that kind of appreciation.