MLA Jane Thornthwaite, the BC Liberal Mental Health and Addictions Critic, is calling on John Horgan to reverse the NDP’s new Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) rules that will force vulnerable men and women recovering from addictions out into the cold.
“Earlier this month we learned that John Horgan’s new ALR rules would shut down a women’s recovery centre in Abbotsford and now we’re finding out that a proposed men’s recovery centre in Langley is the next victim of the NDP’s callous rule changes,” said Thornthwaite. “For this government to force out some of our most vulnerable citizens, in the middle of an addiction crisis where thousands are dying, is heartless and irresponsible. John Horgan must reverse this decision immediately.”
The organization currently houses 23 men recovering from addictions in Surrey and had plans to expand operations to house 50 men in Langley before new NDP rules shot down those hopes, with the Agricultural Land Commission ruling that a residential recovery program “does not provide a benefit to agriculture.”
The Abbotsford women’s centre existed for 35 years as a mental health facility before being told to shut down by the NDP this year due to the same ALR changes.
“This situation illustrates how many silos remain between ministries and the low priority that this government places on recovery and treatment facilities. It’s clear that not enough is being done to ensure a full spectrum of care,” added Thornthwaite. “Countless people struggling with addiction are out in the cold with no new funding for treatment and watching as the government closes services that save lives. British Columbians deserve better.”
Total opioid overdose deaths this year are forecast to remain higher than when the crisis was first declared in 2016. Since that time, there have been over 4,400 opioid-related deaths in British Columbia.