Alberta’s NDP Is Playing Coy About Their Plan To Provide Free Drugs To Addicts

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on May 23, 2023

Public safety and the opioid crisis have proven to be compelling issues during the 2023 Alberta provincial election. The rise in crime fuelled by the opioid addiction crisis has required the United Conservative Party (UCP) and the Alberta NDP to come up with solutions to reduce crime as well as drug dependency and overdoes. 

The UCP has been pairing an increase in deployments of police officers in the streets of Alberta’s major cities with a new addictions policy, the Compassionate Intervention Act, which allows police officers and family members to appeal to Alberta courts to compel severe addicts to go into rehab. It is an intense approach to the current problem but the UCP believes a tough approach is required to flatten the rise in addiction and crime. 

The Alberta NDP on the other hand has gone in the opposite direction on crime and drug addiction. While the NDP has said they’d provide more police officers and social workers, which was only in response to the UCP already providing more officers, the main obsession the NDP has had when it comes to drug addiction in Alberta has been “safe supply” programs.

“Safe supply” is a program that effectively entails giving addicts on the streets access to free opioids deemed to be safer than other street drugs. In practice, this just floods the streets with more powerful drugs that can be consumed or traded for stronger drugs. 

The Alberta NDP used to heavily criticize the UCP for opposing their calls for safe supply programs, but then all of a sudden went silent on the matter going into the 2023 provincial election.

You cannot interpret posts by NDP MLA Janis Irwin calling for “safe supply now” and NDP leader Rachel Notley claiming the UCP is unfairly misrepresenting safe supply during an ongoing fight over the policy, as anything but a statement of intent to pursue safe supply if the NDP forms government in Alberta.

The NDP has never officially backed away from the idea of safe supply and with heavy hitters in the NDP like Janis Irwin and Joe Ceci being overtly in favour of safe supply it would be hard to imagine there being enough self-control within the party to stop the push for free drugs for addicts. 

But what is really insidious (aside from wanting to give addicts more drugs) is the fact the Alberta NDP knows that safe supply is deeply unpopular, and yet is trying to slip their way into government without telling voters they intend to turn addictions policy on its head the same way British Columbia did. 

When Notley was elected as Alberta’s premier in 2015 she similarly did not tell Albertans she wanted to pass a carbon tax and tried to get away with the technicality that ‘I never said I wasn’t going to pass a carbon tax’ and other limp excuses for doing what the public obviously did not want. 

This is why Alberta voters really need to start to see the provincial election as not a referendum on Premier Danielle Smith, and more of a referendum on the NDP thinking that they can transform Alberta into a left-wing experimental policy sandbox like BC just because some voters don’t like Smith.

Frankly, I, the author of this article don’t particularly like Danielle Smith, but that doesn’t mean I want Rachel Notley and the Alberta NDP coming into government, hiking up taxes, and flooding the streets of our cities with free opioids. 

Vote wisely, not emotionally.

Wyatt Claypool

Wyatt is a student at Mount Royal University, where he is the president of its Campus Conservative club. In his writing, he focuses on covering provincial and federal politics, firearms regulation, and the energy sector. Wyatt has also previously written for The Post Millennial.

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