Madam Speaker, the member across the way clapped, and I would like to challenge the Conservative Party as to why they are adamantly opposed to something that has been so successful for Canadians as whole.
If members did the research and checked with medical practitioners and social workers to get a sense of the results Insite in Vancouver has had, they could not possibly say it is bad thing. Not only has it saved lives, it has also redirected lives. In many ways, it has helped the communities. The Conservative Party wants to overlook or turn a blind eye to the many positive things. I find that unfortunate.
When the Liberals were in opposition, the Conservatives were making it more and more difficult to give any consideration to any new sites being located elsewhere in Canada. Members will recall that they they brought in legislation and the bill was debated at second reading. The government had to bring in time allocation. When it got to committee, we listened to the reports being presented and we got a very clear indication of why this was of such great value to our communities, moving forward not backward on the issue.
True to form, the Conservative Party pushed the issue until the legislation ultimately passed. Then, to no surprise, after the election, there was a pilot project of sorts, Insite, in Vancouver, British Columbia, which has been demonstrated to be a huge success. Now we have legislation before us that will enable other communities, where it has been deemed necessary, to establish similar sites.
The Conservatives are preaching fear. They are trying to say that the government is really proposing to have all these injection sites scattered throughout our country in all the different regions and communities. They are saying that there is going to be flood of these injection sites. That has not been our experience to date and the Conservatives know this is not the reality of the situation.
Let there be no doubt that with this legislation, we will enable communities, such as Montreal and others that believe their communities would benefit by having a safe injection site, to have that opportunity.
The Conservatives like to say that it should be community based and community driven. That is a given. That is in fact what does take place. Communities do work together. There are stakeholders in different communities. Where there is a justified need, we could possibly see one appear.
We are not talking about hundreds, which the Conservatives try give the impression. It will be based on the desires and needs of different stakeholders, different communities. I suspect it will be well-thought out before we see an injection site put in place. This is not determined overnight. There are a great many experts who get engaged on issues of this nature.
As I indicated, when we were in opposition, there were lengthy debates on this. Ultimately, it even went to the Senate. The Harper government was able to make it law. However, no one should be surprised that with a new government, we are taking an approach that is based on science and based on what is healthy for our communities. It is not just about what the Liberal Party thinks.
Since day one, the Minister of Health has recognized the very serious nature of this issue. She has worked with caucus colleagues and with members on both sides of the House to come to grips with this problem to see what we can do as a national government. The single biggest thing we could do, beyond the legislation itself, is to demonstrate national leadership on the issue, and we have done that.
We have worked with the provinces and municipalities and have come up with some special funding arrangements where the crisis is so great. There are about $10 million for British Columbia and several million dollars for Alberta. This money will go a long way toward saving lives.
The Minister of Health has had national conferences, many different meetings, whether one on one or with different stakeholders and provincial counterparts. There has been a great deal of dialogue on this issue. Interestingly enough, the only group I am aware of that has taken the position that this is a bad thing is the Conservative Party of Canada. It does not want this legislation to pass. Provinces and their regimes seem to recognize the value of what is being done here.
I would ask my Conservative colleagues across the way to look into the issue in more depth and get a better understanding of what constituents want. I believe my constituents would want a proactive approach in dealing with this health issue. It is best dealt with by working with others to try to make a difference. If we are successful, we will save lives.
From what I understand, more people die from fentanyl and opioids in the province of Ontario than those who die in fatal vehicle accidents. Three or more people will die on average every day in the province of British Columbia from drug overdose. Two people a day will die in the province of Alberta. People are dying all across the country from drug overdoses. Passing this legislation will not prevent people from dying, but it is part of a more comprehensive package that will make a difference.
I will give my NDP colleagues credit for the fact that they have recognized how important it is that we take this action. It is not very often we get co-operation when we try to get legislation passed through the House. However, we saw that at second reading ,when the legislation was in the House for debate for the first time. We are seeing it again today. The leader of the Green Party has also recognized the importance of this issue.
In reflecting on the community which I represent, it is not good enough for us to close our eyes out of fear of taking action. We can do better at fighting the problem of drug abuse that is facing our communities and our country as a whole. No community is exempt from drug abuse. If we can take initiatives that will make a difference, that will save lives, that will possibly put people on another course, then we should be bold enough to take them.
I would ask all members to support Bill C-37, send it back to the Senate, and make this the law of Canada.