The BCCLA condemns BC Attorney General David Eby for throwing human rights, civil liberties, and evidence under the bus by suggesting the state should be able to involuntarily detain and force treatment on people who use drugs. As a lawyer, Minister Eby knows that such a law would violate Charter rights. Section 7 of the Charter guarantees everyone the right not to be deprived of life, liberty, or security of the person except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice. The right to decide what is done to one’s own body is essential. Forced treatment of people who use drugs cannot be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. He also knows that just this Spring, his government abandoned a similar proposal to involuntarily treat youth because of “the trauma associated with holding youth against their will, especially Indigenous youth.” Health experts know that the evidence does not support Eby’s dangerous musings; all evidence is clear that involuntary drug treatment can cause great harm – even death – and does not save lives.
Minister Eby said involuntary care is needed to give people who use drugs a “chance” to survive. He is wrong and he knows it. What is needed is an end to the criminalization of drugs, a safe supply, and culturally safe, accessible, and voluntary treatment services for all.
This attempt to score political points for his leadership campaign is misleading, immoral, and reckless. But David Eby knows that too.