Yukon NDP urges Government to follow British Columbia, apply for decriminalization of illicit drugs

Whitehorse, June 1st, 2022 – Yukon NDP leader Kate White is calling on the Yukon Government to follow British Columbia and apply to the Federal Government for decriminalization of personal possession of illicit drugs in the territory.

John Horgan’s BCNDP Government received approval from Health Canada on May 31st for the partial decriminalization of opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA. As of January 31st, 2023, British Columbians aged 18 years or older will be allowed to possess up to 2.5 grams of illicit drugs for personal use.

“We know the exemption allowed by Health Canada doesn’t go far enough, but it’s a good start. The Yukon is a small jurisdiction, and we could pilot a more aggressive version and be a leader in saving lives from the drug poisoning crisis.”

–     Kate White, Yukon NDP Leader

On June 1st, the day after the exemption was granted in British Columbia, the House of Commons voted down private members bill C-216. The bill, authored by NDP MP Gord Johns, would have seen personal possession of illicit drugs struck from the Criminal Code of Canada. Yukon MP Brendan Hanley voted in support of the bill but was unable to convince his Liberal colleagues to do the same.

“Yukoners continue to die preventable deaths because of the toxic drug supply. The Yukon has taken the first steps – a supervised consumption site and a modest expansion of safe supply – in fighting the opioid crisis. If the Federal Government won’t act, it’s up to the Yukon Government to step up our game and decriminalize personal possession of drugs and to implement a rapid expansion of a safe supply program in the territory.”

–     Kate White, Yukon NDP Leader

Yukon NDP members had previously called for decriminalization policy and a safe supply at their annual convention in February of this year, making it official party policy, as part of a broader policy resolution about drugs and alcohol.