Gretzky Gets Personal With Premier Over Safe Injection Sites

Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky is now getting personal with Ontario's Premier as she pressures the government to approve safe injection sites. 

The New Democrat MPP told AM800's the Lynn Martin show Friday morning that of all people, Doug Ford should know the provincial government should be doing more to help residents with drug addiction.

"If we look at Premier Ford, he had a brother that struggled with addiction, and so he should be willing to listen to experts out there who are saying that we should be doing everything we possibly can to make sure we are saving lives and getting people into treatment to help with their addiction."

It's the first time an Ontario MPP has spoken publicly about Ford's brother Rob in the discussion about safe injection sites. The former Mayor of Toronto received treatment for his alcohol and drug addiction before he died in 2016. 

Gretzky admits she is surprised the Premier is not more supportive of safe injection sites. 

"One would think that since his family has lived it and his brother had experienced addiction himself that he would be more open," says Gretzky. "But unfortunately I am not seeing that's the case based on comments the Premier's made," says Gretzky. "I'm hoping the Minister of Health is able to get through to him."

During Question Period in the legislature on Thursday, Gretzky revealed a group of health professionals in Windsor are looking at setting up a safe injection site.

She also pushed Health Minister Christine Elliott for her report on when the legal program would be revealed.

Elliott said she continues to study the issue, and noted the Premier has indicated that he wants to make a proper evidence based decision.

Critics and advocates say shutting down the sites would be a major step back in fighting the opioid crisis that health officials say claimed nearly 4,000 lives across Canada last year.