January 20th, 2021

Concerns involve SCS structure, not staff

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


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It’s fine Blaine. Anyone not associated with the site and not dependant on their incomes from this fiasco get it.


It’s fine Blaine. Anyone not beholden to Mammon and understands the difference between ‘serving the taxpayer’ and ‘serving the community’ get it.


Yeh, you really can’t “serve the community” without respect for the “taxpayer”. Otherwise its an abuse.


There is no such thing as a ‘taxpayer’ in the democratic process (at least not since the poll tax riots in Britain in the late 1300s – although you may be channeling Thatcher’s poll tax in 1990 which lead to her political demise). Nonetheless, we have a democratic system where ‘citizens’ vote for representatives who govern, ostensibly, for the greater good of our community. The ‘greater good’ represents an ethical value system – balancing the needs of people, including our most vulnerable, with public safety and our economic health. The ‘taxpayer’ – whatever that may mean to you – has no more place in this discussion than ‘property owner’ or a ‘quilt maker’. And it is disturbing to hear a Councillor suggest that they somehow ‘represent’ such an entity.


Luckily for us we have Mr. Hyggen on council to serve the taxpayers and the community.

In fact he seems to be the only person on the council that is willing to look out for the community while the others seen hellbent on making Lethbridge a haven for drug scum and criminals.


spot on, fes!


i suppose what many choose not to acknowledge is that the drug that causes the most harm is alcohol
one wonders, baxter, do those that drink also fall under your vitriolic label of “drug scum”? are you going to crusade for the return to prohibition of alcohol, which is peddled on many a street corner on our fine city, and used in many a safe consumption site more plentiful than food stores? any idea how many calls police get due to idiot-out-of-control drunks? how many beatings/sexual assaults of females occur due to alcohol? the cost to society is massive (even when not factoring in the stupid estimation of loss based on lost productivity).
the idea of an scs is not the issue – the lack of accountability is, as is the lack of supports being put in place, and the lack of scs’s that should be available throughout the province so as to better serve community needs closer to the home base of those in need. there is no way lethbridge should be expected to carry a burden so much bigger than it otherwise would be.


I have zero issues at looking at stricter guidelines for alcohol and certainly think that anyone who commits criminal actions while drunk should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

I certainly don’t give alcohol users a pass, especially when there behaviour turns to illegal or harassing towards honest citizens.

You are right the lack of accountability in both cases are to blame. There are not near harsh enough punishments for those that cannot follow the laws. Instead of punishing the drug users (and alcoholics) for their illegal activities many in our society look to make excuses for them and act as though the criminals are the victims. We need to increase the punishments to these people and increase the enforcement of our laws.

Lethbridge will always carry a larger burden then it should because it is forced to take all the trouble from the communities around us that not only are unwilling to deal with it themselves but send their issues to us purposefully.


So sorry Biff (person who hides behind a pseudo name!) you are missing the point, although Alcohol is a drug and yes some abuse, the difference is, Alcohol is legal, “Meth” and other street drug concoctions, are not legal.