Tuesday, August 24, 2010

RCMP backed off from endorsing safe injection site: report

Seems they were all ready to make a public statement, then were ordered not to:

It would have been quite a news conference, and it very nearly happened. Last fall, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, after months of intense, private talks, agreed to face the media together to declare their agreement that research shows the “benefits” and “positive impacts” of supervised injection sites for intravenous drug users.

For the RCMP, making such a statement would have been a turning point: the Mounties would have had to distance themselves from dubious studies, commissioned by the force itself, that were critical of Insite, Vancouver’s pioneering safe injection facility. And that would have been a politically awkward move for the federal police, since Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government is firmly committed to shutting down Insite.


The proposed joint media release was never issued. Nor did the RCMP officers and the centre’s doctors appear together for their planned news conference. According to Montaner, two days before the scheduled event last December—after a venue had been booked at the University of British Columbia and “the banners were ready”—he received a telephone call from Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass, the most senior RCMP officer in British Columbia. “He said, ‘Julio, can’t do it,’ ” Montaner recalls. “I said, ‘What do you mean, Gary?’ He said, ‘I’m really sorry, I’ve been ordered not to go ahead with the news conference.’ ” Montaner says Bass made it clear that the order came from RCMP headquarters in Ottawa.

From Maclean's, via 6079_Smith_W in this babble thread. What I find interesting is not so much that this happened (stories of federal government institutions being ordered to suppress information are commonplace in today's Canada) but that Maclean's is reporting it. Maclean's is about as mainstream as you get in this country; if they are willing to publish such stories, it's a sign that the MSM is losing confidence in the Harper government. It seems like the census issue and/or the war has opened the floodgates, and suddenly all the negative stories that the MSM had previously ignored have become news. If so, this is very good; it's a sign that Harper's days as PM are numbered.

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