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The Supreme Court sides with Insite

Photo: Russell Maynard
The head of Vancouver’s Dr. Peter AIDS Centre, which also offers supervised injection services, responds to the Supreme Court’s ruling.

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A triumph for Insite

Photo: Russell Maynard

During its eight years of operation, Insite has been proven to save lives with no discernible negative impact on the public safety and health objectives of Canada. The effect of denying the services of Insite to the population it serves and the correlative increase in the risk of death and disease to injection drug users is grossly disproportionate to any benefit that Canada might derive from presenting a uniform stance on the possession of narcotics.

- The Supreme Court of Canada, Sept. 30, 2011


The verdict is in: Insite saves lives

Insite in Vancouver. Photo: Stephen Dyrgas/Flickr

The verdict is in: Insite saves lives. A study by UBC scientists at the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS adds to the collection of data already showing that North America's first medically supervised safer injection facility saves lives and money.

The study, published last month in the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet, concludes that the opening of Insite in 2003 was associated with a 35 per cent reduction in overdose deaths in the neighbourhood surrounding the facility. This reduction translates into real lives saved at no expense whatsoever to the federal government.


Tories rebrand 'Government of Canada' in Harper's image

What you see is what you'll get: Whitehorse's David Skelton protests Harper's vision of the Yukon's Federal Building on Tuesday, March 8. Photo: Meagan Perry.
Canada is out and Harper is in as the trending word among chichi Conservatives.

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Ottawa's political needs trump recording violence against Aboriginal women

Created in 2005, Sisters in Spirit has led the way in research on missing and murdered aboriginal women. Their April 2010 report "What Their Stories Tell Us," identified the knowledge gaps that have hurt the creation of effective policies and programming to address the high number of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls in Canada.

So it mystifies many Aboriginal women and their advocates that Sisters in Spirit was shunned by the Conservatives in a recent $10 million announcement to deal with violence against Aboriginal women.


The Conflict of Interest Act is toothless and leads to conflict of ethics at the PMO

Nigel Wright's position in the PMO, as Stephen Harper's new chief of staff, is only possible because of huge loophole in ethics rules.

How is it that a senior executive, formerly one of the managing directors of private equity fund Onex, who stills own shares in this huge conglomerate corporation, could serve as chief-of-staff in the Prime Minister's Office and take part in policy decisions on many issues that affect the corporation? 


The government must free scientists to talk to journalists

This week is Right to Know Week in Canada, intended to acknowledge and celebrate our freedom-of-information laws. Some 40 other countries have a Right to Know Day, but we Canadians get a whole week. And you know what? We need it.

Ironically, this celebration of open information comes on the back of new evidence of unacceptable political interference in the public statements of federal government researchers. In short, the information policies of Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper are muzzling scientists in their dealings with the media.


U.K. politician George Galloway flies to Toronto on Saturday after court decision

George Galloway in 2007. Photo: David Hunt

Editor's update: Former British MP George Galloway will now arrive in Toronto on Saturday, Oct. 2, to resume his pan-Canada speaking tour after being prevented from entering the country in March 2009. A welcome rally will assemble at 5 p.m. at the Terminal 1 arrivals gate at Lester B. Pearson International Airport, where Galloway will hold a 15-minute press conference.

On Sunday, Oct. 3, at 3 p.m., Galloway will address a public meeting at Trinity-St. Paul's United Church, 427 Bloor Street, in downtown Toronto. This event is sponsored by rabble.ca, and will be livestreamed on rabbleTV.


Questions for premiers at the Council of the Federation

This week provincial and territorial premiers will meet in Winnipeg for the annual Council of the Federation meetings. With the federal government refusing to take any meaningful action on climate change, provinces and territories have the opportunity to pick up the slack and lead.

Here we try to clear up a few questions that premiers might be asking themselves regarding climate change action going into these meetings.

Is this really urgent?


Civil disobedience considered by prison farm protesters

Is Stephen Harper ready to face more angry citizens so soon after his G20 fiasco in Toronto? Certainly, the venue will be different -- a smaller city -- and there will be no international spotlight, but it might be unpleasant just the same.

I'm talking about the large number of Kingstonians of all ages who have signed up to help stop the government from selling and removing the dairy herd, established a century ago, from the property of the Frontenac Institution prison farm. It's one of six prison farms slated for closure by the Harper government -- and a clear majority of citizens want it to stay.


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