'Not ready': Alberta police association says it won't support drug decriminalization
As others in Canada start to take steps towards new personal possession rules, Alberta's police association says it's too soon to decriminalize hard drugs in our province.
Calgary's top cop Mark Neufeld, speaking on behalf of the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police, says there's not enough evidence that shows the strategy alone will have an impact.
"By itself, decriminalization would not reduced rates of addiction or overdose," he said. "(It) triggers an immediate need for structural and societal changes in areas that do not currently exist."
The association says there is still work in health, social services and justice that needs to be done before rules can be overhauled. It believes premature changes will result in complaints and open public drug use that will lead to more work for officers.
"If you were to just pull sort of one lever, and it was going to be the decriminalization lever, all it would do is just make it easier to possess illicit drugs and also to see individuals using them in public," Neufeld said. "We're not ready."
Calgary police chief Mark Neufeld says the city isn't ready to decriminalize drugs
OPEN DRUG USE HAPPENING NOW: ADVOCATES
But while the chief is trying to save his officers added duties, many advocates point out that policing work is already embedded in drug use effects -- and decriminalization would be a step to remedying that.
Across the country in 2018 to 2020, almost 28,000 annual arrests were made for possession.
"We're making people's lives very miserable if they use drugs," advocate Euan Thomson told CTV News. "With a new strategy, drug use will likely go down, people will gain stability in their lives and as their human rights are restored, and our communities will actually become safer."
Thomson points to Portugal, where decades-old decriminalization can be directly linked to a decrease in overdose deaths and drug use in teens, and to an increase in those seeking treatment.
"Decriminalization is very much needed, even if it's on its own," Thomson said. "Just like we saw with cannabis legalization, the sky is not going to fall on the day you decriminalize all drugs."
The City of Vancouver has applied for an exemption from the federal controlled substances act so it can update its personal possession rules.
British Columbia applied to the federal government in November to remove criminal penalties for people who possess small amounts of illicit drugs for personal use. The province argued that substance abuse and addiction is a public health issue, not a criminal one.
Since B.C. declared a public health emergency in 2016, 7,700 British Columbians have died because of a toxic drug supply.
Toronto's board of health said it would also seek permission from the federal government to allow drug users to carry small amounts for personal use.
Calgary's police chief expects many more cities will also explore that option.
"We're aware that other provinces have submitted requests to Health Canada seeking an exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act that would decriminalize personal possession of illicit drugs. These are conversations that are ongoing in our province as well,'' said Neufeld.
"I'm not concerned that this is moving forward in any way that's imminent. It is a discussion that has been ongoing for the last number of years, which has been intensified obviously by the drug poisonings and opioid overdoses."
As of now, no changes are imminent in Alberta.
With files from The Canadian Press .
Calgary Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
The decision by police to wait before confronting the gunman at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde was a failure with catastrophic consequences, experts say. When it was all over 19 students and two teachers were dead.
A Dene filmmaker based in Vancouver says he was "disappointed" and "close to tears" when security at the Cannes Film Festival blocked him from walking the red carpet while dressed in a pair of moccasins.
Justice Minister David Lametti is defending the federal government's authority to challenge provincial laws that they believe infringe on the rights of Canadians, after Quebec said Ottawa's reaction to Bills 21 and 96 lacked 'respect.'
As Russia asserted progress in its goal of seizing the entirety of contested eastern Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin tried Saturday to shake European resolve to punish his country with sanctions and to keep supplying weapons that have supported Ukraine's defence.
Around a hundred people gathered at noon Saturday at the empty Vancouver home where Chelsea Poorman’s remains were found late last month to show their support for her family's call for answers and justice.
Canada and Finland won semifinal games Saturday to set up a third straight gold-medal showdown between the teams at the IIHF world hockey championship.
Riot police fired tear gas and pepper spray at Liverpool supporters forced to endure lengthy waits to get into the Champions League final amid logistical chaos and an attempt by UEFA and French authorities to blame overcrowding at turnstiles on people trying to access the stadium with fake tickets on Saturday.
One week after a severe wind and thunderstorm swept through Ontario and Quebec, just over 48,000 homes in the two provinces were still without power on Saturday.
The devastating storm in southern Ontario and Quebec last weekend damaged thousands of hydro poles across the two provinces. CTVNews.ca gives a rundown of where utility companies get their hydro poles from, as well as the climate challenges in the grid infrastructure.
An emotional rally outside City Hall Saturday afternoon called for more permanent solutions to help keep Edmonton's Chinatown a vibrant community.
A slo pitch league in St. Albert is helping seniors stay active and have fun on the field.
A street in north Edmonton will bear the name of a Ukrainian dance company to honour their more than 50 years worth of contributions to the local arts and culture scene.
A wave of resignations among Northern B.C. health-care workers – including half the doctors in the intensive care unit of the region’s biggest hospitals – is raising alarms among civic leaders already calling for an audit.
Volunteers in Vancouver are stepping their efforts as the city continues to see a rise in property crimes.
Rough road to recovery for N.B. duty-free shop – still holding out hope border traffic will increase
A N.B. duty-free shop owner at the U.S.-Canada border says high fuel costs and lingering requirements at the border are hurting business.
Two special prosecutors tasked with taking on Nova Scotia's human trafficking cases are sharing some insight into what's currently happening in the province's courts.
Vinyl lovers packed a community centre in Riverview, N.B., Saturday in search of a hidden gem or the missing piece to their collection at the bi-annual Moncton Record Expo.
The fire at the vacant Pioneer Square Mall in Mill Bay that shut down Highway 1 for several hours on Friday is considered suspicious, Mounties say.
The British Columbia government wants First Nations to reach consensus before logging is deferred in old-growth forests on shared Indigenous territories.
After losing his wife Jackie when she was just 31, Adam is now completing a cross-Canada journey to raise money and awareness for research into the genetic heart condition that killed her
Toronto police are announcing the arrest of three men in a more than six-month human trafficking investigation that involved an 18-year-old girl.
Police say a coyote bit a child in a west end Toronto park on Saturday afternoon.
A person is dead after a fire erupted in an apartment in the city’s east end Saturday morning.
Is it unconstitutional to make someone pay to get a legal document translated into French? One of Montreal's top lawyers thinks so, and pointed out two other things from Bill 96 that he thinks the courts would most easily find fault with.
Quebec announced special financial assistance to cover food losses suffered by those using social assistance programs following power outages.
The CAQ wants to promote the idea that they are proud people; proud of themselves, proud to be Quebecers. It is the main message the party is choosing to deliver to the population four months before the election.
NEW THIS MORNING
NEW THIS MORNING | Here's what you need to know about the storm cleanup in Ottawa
Hydro Ottawa is entering the "last phase" of restoring power to homes and businesses following a devastating storm over a week ago, with the goal to have the grid back on by tonight.
Hydro Ottawa says "we are close" to restoring power to the "bulk energy system" as crews enter "the last phase" of restoration efforts.
NEW THIS MORNING
NEW THIS MORNING | What you need to know about the return to school on Monday
Hydro Ottawa crews continued to make progress through the weekend restoring powering to thousands of customers across Ottawa.
The Kitchener-Waterloo Dixieland Jazz Club held a rumpus New Orleans-style wake on Saturday, in remembrance of its long-time director Nancy Pauli. Pauli passed away in February at the age of 81.
No driver's license was needed for a group of high-schoolers driving their own electric vehicles through the University of Waterloo campus on Saturday.
From crayons to corks, car seats, bicycles and batteries, the second semi-annual Re: Purpose Fest took place in Guelph Saturday afternoon.
A major fire ripped through a three-story Saskatoon apartment building in the 300 block of 108th Street W overnight on Friday.
The Prince Albert Police Service is investigating a homicide after a man was shot in the early hours of Saturday morning.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders along with other football teams in the province have declared a weekend in September as “Football Weekend” in the province.
A small but passionate group gathered Saturday to protest the Ford government and autism therapy wait times outside PC MPP candidate Vic Fedeli's campaign office on McKeown Avenue.
The Sudbury Defeat Depression Walk/Run returned to Bell Park on Saturday, as the COVID-19 pandemic eases and normal events resume.
A long line of cars wrapped around the Humane Society's parking lot in North Bay Saturday morning as dozens of cats and dogs got microchipped.
A building located on Mayfair Avenue is being declared a complete loss after a fire broke out Saturday morning.
In Manitoba, the average home price in April 2022 was around $372,000, which is up from April 2021, when the average price was around $328,000, according to Manitoba Real Estate Association.
It’s been nearly four months since the historic Kirkwood Block caught fire and was left in ruins, but it is now starting to be taken down.
High school students from the Prairie Valley School Division gathered in Lumsden to build and support the LGBTQ2S+ community with the third annual Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Student Summit.
Environment Canada released a rainfall warning Saturday afternoon predicting 30-50mm of rainfall for the southeast corner of the province.