How is Smoking Meth in BC Hospitals OK but Nurses Refusing Vaccines Isn’t, Conservative MLA Asks

by EditorK

Crystal meth drug is displayed to journalists during a press conference at the German federal police headquarters in Wiesbaden, western Germany, on Nov. 13, 2014. (Daniel Roland/AFP/Getty Images)

Chandra Philip

By Chandra Philip

A Conservative MLA in British Columbia is questioning why patients are allowed to smoke meth in provincial hospitals while nurses who decline the COVID-19 vaccine are fired.


Bruce Banman made the comments in an April 4 video posted on X by Conservative Party of B.C. candidate Damon Scrase.

“We found out that you can smoke meth apparently in the hospitals, that’s allowed, but if you refuse to get the jab you get fired,” Mr. Banman said, referring to a leaked memo that directed hospital staff not to take drugs from patients or interfere if drugs are being delivered to patients.

“How is that healthy to anybody?” Mr. Banman asked.

The comments came after a debate at the provincial legislature on April 4, where B.C.’s Health Minister Adrian Dix was asked about a memo that allegedly directed nurses in the Northern Health region not to take patients’ drugs or weapons.

United Party MLA Elenore Sturko questioned the premier about not prioritizing the safety of nurses in hospitals.

“Nurses face a daily reality of drug-fuelled violence, from having drug smoke purposely blown in their faces to being kicked, punched, shoved, and even stabbed while bathrooms are being lit on fire,” Ms. Sturko noted during question period.

Mr. Dix pointed out that many patients are dealing with “severe health issues—some mental health, some addictions, some physical health issues—that require them to meet the very high standard of being admitted into our hospital.”

“Possession and use of controlled substances are prohibited for all clients in emergency departments, any unit where clients under the age of 18 are present, inpatient psychiatric units, and inpatient withdrawal units,“ he said. ”This is just a fact. It is absolutely prohibited to have weapons in hospitals.”

He said the ministry added 320 security officers to support public health care workers in 2022.

“It is absolutely appalling that we are in a state where we actually have to have security guards in hospitals so people can go to work and be safe,” United Party MLA Shirley Bond said in response to the minister’s comment.

Conservative leader John Rustad, who also appeared in the social media video, criticized the government’s drug decriminalization policy.

“It’s absolutely crazy to see the drugs and the open drug dens seen happening now in small communities,” he said. “This is happening right around the province. It is absolutely unacceptable.”

Mr. Rustad said the Conservative Party of B.C. would “bring an end to safe supply” and “decriminalization,” saying they needed to get people into treatment and recovery.

“That is the answer.”

United Party Leader Kevin Falcon also criticized the government’s decriminalization policy in an April 4 video posted on X.

He said nurses should “never have to deal with people openly using drugs in their hospital bed.”

“Under a Kevin Falcon-led BC United government, this policy will end within hours of forming government.”

BC Decriminalization

It’s not the first problem the province has faced over the decriminalization policy. B.C. announced in September that drug use would not be permitted in public spaces such as parks, playgrounds, and beaches. 

A month later, B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth introduced the Restricting Public Consumption of Illegal Substances Act. He said while the government supported decriminalization that “does not mean that it is OK to use drugs everywhere, and this legislation sets clear province-wide standards that communities expect and deserve.”

The bill passed in November but, on Dec. 29, 2023, a Supreme Court of B.C. justice paused the enactment of the law in response to a lawsuit brought against it by the Harm Reduction Nurses Association.

The nurses’ association argued the laws would violate the Canadian charter in various ways if enforced.

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson agreed, saying the laws would cause “irreparable harm” if they come into force due to a lack of “supervised consumption services, indoor locations to consume drugs, and housing.”

Mr. Rustad said the notwithstanding clause should be used to overrule the court decision.

“We want British Columbians to feel safe in our neighbourhoods, and we want people to support local B.C. businesses—that can’t happen when people are on our streets, using hard drugs.” Mr. Rustad said in a Dec. 30 statement posted on the party’s website.

He noted there were laws that prohibited drinking in public places, but people were permitted to use heroin and crack cocaine in public.

“If the courts want to protect hard drug use in public, we will use the Notwithstanding Clause to overrule them and enact a common sense approach that puts people and families first,” he said.

Vaccine Mandates in BC

Hospital workers in B.C. are still unable to return to work unless they have received the COVID-19 vaccine. 

“In British Columbia, thousands of doctors, nurses and other health-care workers are still prevented from returning to work because they did not get injected with the COVID vaccine in 2021,” Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms president John Carpay wrote in a March 14 opinion piece.

An order dated Oct. 5, 2023, by B.C.’s provincial health officer, Bonnie Henry, states that health care staff must not work unless they are vaccinated and provide proof of the vaccination, or have been granted an exemption.

“An employer must not permit a staff member who is not in compliance with section 1 to work,” Ms. Henry wrote. “A staff member who is not in compliance with section 1 must not work.”

The order does not have an expiration date.

Chandra Philip is a news reporter with the Canadian edition of The Epoch Times. 


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