Saturday October 1, 2011

Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday October 1, 2011

Council Muzzles Mayor Bob Bratina

Crack addicts won’t be getting a supply of pipes from Hamilton.

Councillors reversed an earlier board of health decision Wednesday that would have seen “inhalation kits” distributed by public health workers in an effort to reduce the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis B.

The proposed program, which has been adopted in cities such as Ottawa, Toronto, Kingston, Guelph and Simcoe, spurred more than an hour of debate Wednesday.

Several councillors said they heard from outraged residents after the 7-4 board of health approval of the plan on Monday.

Councillor Tom Jackson argued Ottawa has seen a “backlash” and a “stigma” associated with the free crack pipe program in that city.

Councillor Sam Merulla urged councillors to listen to medical experts and police, rather than “political babble.”

Mayor Bob Bratina added “modern municipalities” are increasingly adopting similar programs.

The plan died in a 10-5 vote. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)