1,265 Graves Spontaneously Erect on the Front Lawn of Queen's Park in Toronto
In a demonstration by the Toronto Overdose Prevention Society (TOPS), a vigil of 1,265 crosses appeared on the front lawn of Queen's Park in Toronto yesterday morning in protest to the freeze enacted by Ontario's PC Government that has stalled the construction of three new safe injections sites across Ontario. As reported by Health Canada, the number of crosses laid by TOPS signifies the number of those who lost their lives in the opioid crisis last year in Ontario alone.
The construction of these sites now in question were approved previously by the Ontario Liberal Government under Premier Kathleen Wynne, but just two months after Doug Ford claimed office in the province, the new administration announced the halt of these projects until further review of safe injections sites determines the efficacy of the initiative. The problem, however, is that while the province bides its time under the guise of policy research already abounding on this very issue, the opioid crisis continues to claim lives across the province and beyond.
“We continue to take the ongoing opioid crisis very seriously. I have reviewed the latest data, evidence and current site models, visited various sites and held consultations. I am now in the process of finalizing my recommendations.” - Christine Elliott, Ontario Health Minister
The Ontario PC Government, while no doubt sincere in their doubts of such a program, the fact that the issue comes under review at all foretells a dark future for injections sites in Ontario moving forward. Their delay in reaching a new conclusion on existing research into drug use and mitigation signals a defiantly partisan attitude that should concern all Ontarians. If conservative opposition to reasonable drug treatment succeeds in the dissolution of safe injection sites, evidence shows the death toll will only continue to rise, at which point conservative legislators should themselves be tasked with burying future casualties of the opioid crisis on the front lawn of our legislative assembly.
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