Pivot says "RCMP secretly funded anti-Insite research"
Prompted by elections here, there and everywhere ... we've been busily discussing the role of business, civil society and government and social innovation.
Then ... Pivot's news release took hold of our coffee chatter.
Without comment, here's what Pivot has to say:
- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 8, 2008
RCMP secretly funded anti-Insite research
Formal complaint to Auditor General requests an investigation into RCMP financing of four injection site critiques
Vancouver – Pivot Legal Society is calling upon Sheila Fraser, the Auditor General of Canada, to examine whether or not RCMP funding of academic critiques of Insite went beyond the legislated mandate of the RCMP and constituted a misuse of public funds.
In 2006 officers of the RCMP’s “E” Division, based in Vancouver, commissioned four authors to write opinion pieces on the scientific research surrounding Vancouver’s safe injection site in the hopes of questioning Insite’s effectiveness. One of these pieces, entitled “A Critique of Canada’s INSITE Injection Site and its Parent Philosophy: Implications and Recommendations for Policy Planning”, was authored by Colin Mangham, director of research for the Drug Prevention Network of Canada, and subsequently relied upon by Health Minister Tony Clement as proof that the research surrounding Insite was inconclusive.
“The RCMP Act gave the RCMP a mandate to act as peace officers for the citizens of Canada. Using public funds entrusted to them to fund a cynical critique of health-based research clearly does not fall within this mandate” states Douglas King, a lawyer with Pivot Legal Society.
Internal E-mails show true motivation of the RCMP
A series of e-mails, obtained through Freedom of Information requests, show the true motives of the RCMP in funding the anti-Insite critiques and how they wished to keep their involvement a secret.
In one of these e-mails former Constable Chuck Doucette of the “E” division reports to his superiors that “Dr. Mangham’s report has now been published…As per our request, the report has no reference to the RCMP”. Other emails refer to the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS as the “Centre for Excrements”, and call on members of the RCMP to phone in to a local radio show, stating “You know that the Pro Insite side will have people lined up to support it. Let’s try get more calls in than they do”.
E-mails also show that Conservative MPs met with the RCMP officials who commissioned the reports, and talked about shifting Canada’s drug strategy away from harm reduction. One RCMP email states “As we know, with a minority government, it isn’t going to change overnight; but, at least we know this is what they will be pushing for when they can.”
Supporting documents are here.
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Tags for information about: for:vsef, Social Policy, INSITE, Pivot