Russell Brand Mistakes Alberta UCP Associate Minister for Addictions Ally

Here for the ratio[email protected]

Russell Brand could be forgiven for believing he was talking to an ally when he was introduced to the Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. I mean, his actual title is MINISTER… of MENTAL HEALTH and ADDICTIONS. Why would anyone think otherwise? 

Except Brand probably wasn’t aware at the time that funding for Safe Injection Sites or Safe Consumption Sites (SCS) has been frozen under the Minister’s watch. Ostensibly, to review the literature on Safe Consumption Sites and their usefulness in preventing overdose deaths. It’s not hard to find if you’re looking for it but who knows what they’re after.

He likely wasn’t aware that places like Red Deer were no longer receiving funding to build a proper SCS but instead had a temporary trailer set up by a local non-profit called Turning Point.  Red Deer had 47 fatal overdoses in 2018. 

Brand probably also wasn’t aware that the current UCP government, of which the Associate Minister is part, is looking for a way to shave $10 billion out of the provincial budget and it’s highly unlikely that money will be found for mental health and addictions. 

He probably also wasn’t aware that Premier Ford of Ontario, a keen supporter of the Canadian Brotherhood of Populist provinces (of which Alberta is now a founding member), cut funding for 19 SCS’s in his province. And as we all know here in Alberta, Ford and Kenney got on so well they were “finishing each other’s sentences“.

After that sweet little ratio, Russell Brand should know as well. I just hope he spent time with people who actually support his cause and not just those lurking for their next photo op. 

This post contains fact and… nope, just fact. 

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean

contact: [email protected]

Twitter: @Mitchell_AB for all the commentary, @thisweekinAB for posts