Madam Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise today to table a petition on behalf of constituents from Courtenay. They have stated that over 4,000 Canadians died in 2017 and over 2,800 in 2016 due to preventable opioid overdose resulting from fentanyl-poisoned sources. The number of preventable deaths has surpassed the total number of deaths in all public health emergencies in the last 20 years, including SARS, H1N1 and Ebola.
Those who have died as a result of a preventable overdose from fentanyl-poisoned sources were valued citizens of this country: our children, siblings, spouses, parents, family members, clients and friends.
The petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada to declare the current opioid overdose and fentanyl poisoning crisis a national public health emergency under the Emergencies Act in order to manage and resource it with the aim to reduce and eliminate preventable deaths and to reform current drug policy; to decriminalize personal possession; and last, to create with urgency and immediacy a system to provide safe, unadulterated access to substances so that people who use substances experimentally, recreationally or chronically are not at imminent risk of overdose due to a contaminated source.