#Human Rights
Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Dear Mr. Stephen Harper,

This petition has been developed by a group of graduate level university students who have come to recognize the injustices against human rights, as per Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This section cites that “everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice”. In direct conflict of this human right is the Federal Government’s agenda to appeal the BC Supreme Court decision which gave an exemption of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (Section 56) to the safe injection site, Insite, in Vancouver, BC.

It is our concern that the rights of marginalized individuals are being neglected. Insite serves intravenous drug users, who often experience oppression, as they are commonly viewed or portrayed as weak or flawed. This oppression impacts their ability to access essential services such as health care and employment as well as their willingness to talk about the addiction. This reinforces stereotypes of those struggling with addiction, impacting their ability to integrate into mainstream society. There are few places where it is safe for individuals to disclose personal information without feeling judgment. This is especially true for people with addictions, as they frequently experience feelings of blame, guilt and shame. By providing a safe, open and clean place, stigma is decreased and barriers are broken down.

We would like to request that you consider the voices of the Vancouver community, as well as the voices of concerned citizens across Canada. We strongly support the work of Insite and its proven effectiveness, which has been demonstrated in reports by the Government’s EAC(Expert Advisory Committee) and over 25 other empirically supported research studies. These initiatives have found that Insite is effective in reducing the spread of communicable diseases including HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C; the number of people injecting drugs in public; and needle sharing. Not only has Insite been shown to reduce health care spending, this service has also increased the number of individuals accessing treatment for drug addiction.

Mr. Harper, by not supporting basic human rights for all Canadian citizens, and neglecting the findings of the above mentioned research, you are committing a disservice to the marginalized members of the Downtown East Side of Vancouver as well as Insite. Furthermore, you are reinforcing oppressive values, which perpetuate the ideology that persons who struggle with addictions are not worth being helped. As voting citizens, this impacts our perspective of the Conservative Government and how it treats its most vulnerable populations.

We the undersigned citizens and residents of Canada, call on you, Mr. Harper, and the Government of Canada to:

(1) Accept the BC government exemption of the Controlled Drug and Substance Act (Section 56);

(2) Accept that all citizens of Canada deserve the right to equal access to services as mandated in the Human Rights Act;

(3) And accept that Insite is an essential service to Vancouver’s Downtown East Side and maintain its services to the community.

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The Keep INSITE Open petition to Prime Minister Stephen Harper was written by Katerina and Cora and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.