By Letter to the Editor on January 31, 2020.
I would like to take the opportunity to respond directly to the letter to the editor published on Wednesday, Jan. 29 from Lindsay Stella and colleagues at the Supervised Consumption Site. It’s become clear that my comments quoted by the local media as referenced in the letter to the editor, although captured only in part and without proper context, may have caused offence to the health-care professionals working at the SCS.
My comments were not intended to be disrespectful nor disparage the important work that these professionals engage in every day. My own wife is a registered nurse and I have nothing but the greatest of respect for any professional working to support and assist people in crisis. If my comments caused offence, then let me unreservedly apologize.
The context for my original comments to the media was related to the structure of the SCS as an organization and not the operation or staff themselves. The SCS is run by a volunteer board of directors that has no direct accountability to the taxpayer. My role as an elected official is to represent the taxpayer regardless of what level of government provides the funding. I acknowledge that the volunteer board of ARCHES is a passionate, hard-working and dedicated group of citizens. I appreciate their efforts to make our community better. I do not believe, however, that this structure is optimal given the complexities of the issue involved and, when combined, the scope of the funding required. My comments related to my belief that operation of the SCS should be administered by and integrated with the full suite of services operated by Alberta Health Services.
Thank you to the many health-care professionals who read the letter to the editor and reached out to me in support of my position.
Coun. Blaine Hyggen