Thursday, October 9, 2008

Vcr group says RCMP paid for reports used to justify closing injection site.

This is from the Canadian Press. It sounds as if the RCMP was trying to get a report that would justify closing the site. No doubt the researchers new what was desired. They did not seem to do any new research just a critical examination of existing research. Interesting that the retired police officer mentioned in the article managed to snag a job with the Drug Prevention Network run by a Conservative MP that seems determined to help close the site.

Vcr group says RCMP paid for reports used to justify closing injection site

VANCOUVER — A legal group is calling on the federal auditor general to examine whether the RCMP misused public funds by secretly paying for two reports the group says were a bid to undermine Vancouver's supervised injection site.
Both authors published online the reports, which reviewed scientific research favourable of Insite, without any mention of RCMP funding.
Lawyer Douglas King of the Pivot Legal Society said Wednesday the Mounties had refused to divulge whether they paid for the reports, even though one author admitted he received an undisclosed amount of money from the force.
"One of the biggest problems here is the secrecy surrounding (the reports)," King said.
"Academics should be required to disclose where their funding is coming from, who they're paid by, so that the public knows."
King said the lack of such information raises questions about the RCMP's motives.
He said the Mounties had the RCMP name removed from two previous reports that weren't critical of Insite and failed to publicize the findings.
He said the group has written to Auditor General Sheila Fraser, asking her to look into the matter because the supervised drug-injection site involves health issues, not policing concerns.
Ghislain Desjardins, a spokesman for the auditor general, said the office hasn't yet received the letter so he couldn't comment.
RCMP Const. Annie Linteau said the Mounties paid a total of $15,000 for the two critiques and that the force isn't trying to keep that a secret.
"We had a responsibility to look at everything that's out there and that's what these commissioned researchers did - to look at what's out there and look at the conclusions that are cited regarding the effectiveness of the supervised injection site," she said.
Linteau said the first report was done in 2006 by Simon Fraser University criminologist Garth Davies, who was paid $5,000.
She said the second report was released last year, written by Colin Mangham, the director of research for the Drug Prevention Network of Canada, for a payment of $10,000.
Insite opened in 2003 under an exemption from federal drug laws but the Conservative government has never been keen about letting the facility continue operating despite backing from health officials and some Opposition Liberal, provincial and municipal politicians.
The RCMP has maintained that more studies are needed into whether the facility should remain open while the Conservative government is fighting a court battle to be able to close the site.
Several other studies published in top international journals that have suggested the facility has reduced overdose deaths and HIV rates from addicts sharing needles on the street.
King said internal RCMP emails his group received through an Access to Information request suggest Tory MPs may have used the reports to justify efforts to close Insite.
In one email to former RCMP Const. Chuck Doucette, the sender talks about a report that the Drug Prevention Network would use "to help persuade the (federal) government to refocus Canada's drug strategy."
"As I mentioned, the MPs that spoke to us at our meeting indicated that was the direction they wanted to go in," says the email sent from Lise Crouch and released to reporters by Pivot.
Documents on the RCMP website identify an Insp. Lise Crouch as the officer in charge of the RCMP Drugs and Organized Crime Awareness Service.
Linteau said she couldn't comment on the email's contents.
King said Doucette, who retired from the RCMP, now works for the Drug Prevention Network of Canada, which is headed by former Conservative MP Randy White.
The fate of Insite remains in limbo as the facility is embroiled in a court case aimed at preventing Ottawa from shutting it down

No comments: