Toronto Liberal MP Nathaniel Erksine-Smith is suggesting his own party’s stance on drugs doesn’t go far enough.
In an opinion piece for Vice News published on Thursday, he argued for the decriminalization of all drug use and possession in Canada in the name of public health and harm reduction.
Erksine-Smith, who represents the riding of Beaches-East York, said that the war on drugs has been an “abject failure.”
“Fentanyl and illicit drug overdoses killed hundreds of Canadians in 2016. B.C. officials and medical experts have called it a public health emergency.”
“Preaching abstinence isn’t working. But there is evidence that decriminalization does,” he wrote, pointing to the example of Portugal, which has the some of the lowest rates of overdose-related deaths in Western Europe, according to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.
Erksine-Smith is a rookie MP who worked as a lawyer in commercial litigation before entering politics.
He said the government’s support of supervised injection sites and the legalization of marijuana are “a good beginning to a modern drug policy.”
He argued that Canada can be an example to the world by continuing down that path.
“It may not be an easy sell,” he admitted. “But it’s the right answer.”