May 7th, 2021

Group opposed to LOPS makes its voice heard

By Lethbridge Herald on October 27, 2020.

A group of citizens gathered Monday night at Galt Gardens to protest the activities of the Lethbridge Overdose Prevention Society. Herald photo by Dale Woodard

Dale Woodard
Lethbridge Herald
A group of concerned citizens are saying enough is enough to the Lethbridge Overdose Prevention Society.
On Monday night on the southwest corner of Galt Gardens, a group of sign-waving people gathered to protest the LOPS and their supervised consumption site tent.
On this particular night, the LOPS didn’t set up, but protesters still gathered to make their message against the group heard, calling for the end to the LOPS, which had been set up at Galt Gardens.
“We’re here to present the community viewpoint on what is an illegal pop-up tent that has, as its primary intent, enabling the consumption of illegal drugs by whoever they can entice into their tent,” said activist Roy Remus.
The LOPS was formed in September in response to the provincial government closing of the ARCHES supervised consumption site at the end of August.
Since then, the group has set up its own supervised consumption site via a pop-up tent at Galt Gardens and other locations.
A little under two weeks ago, the LOPS had a media gathering at London Park Road, featuring speakers and members of the medical community to speak on behalf of their cause.
On Monday night, protesters voiced their opposition, holding up signs stating “Number of addicts rose after SCS opened!”, “We the taxpayers say arrest them!”, “Enabling Drug Use is really abuse” and “Leaders protect citizens! Vote out council.”
“First of all they’re illegal,” said Remus. “They have no accreditation. In order to do a legal SCS they have to have an exemption to Section 56.1 of the Controlled Drug and Substances act, which is a federal mandate of controlling illegal drugs. Instead, they are just saying ‘That doesn’t apply to us. We can just do whatever we want.’ That is what they told the Police Commission on Sept. 30 when they presented to them. They said right out that ‘We know we are illegal and we don’t really care because the law doesn’t really apply to us.’”
Lou Mate was among the sign-carrying protesters Monday night. He stated simply that enough is enough.
“The law is being broken. We are just average, ordinary citizens and we want the law to be obeyed,” said Mate. “These people cannot carry on like this. This is garbage. We have to get over this. The Police Service has to do their job, city council has to do their job. There is a whole lot more than just this group of people here. There are hundreds, thousands in Lethbridge that are against everything that is going on here and we need to deal with this.
“We need people in positions of authority and power to deal with this situation once and for all instead of giving us this garbage, ‘Yeah, we can’t do this and we can’t do that. We can’t fine them. We’re not going to follow the bylaws’ and all of this kind of crap. Enough is enough. We need to move on. People in Lethbridge need to stand up, and we are.”
Remus said a cause of concern is the movement was started by outside parties.
“This whole thing just arose out of the Vancouver movement that has splinter groups all across Canada,” he said. “They have caused problems in Ottawa and devastation in all sorts of places. Many people dying because of their activities, but they are always saying nobody has ever died in an SCS. But they have died in the parking lot after leaving the SCS after doing drugs there and all of those other things. This whole thing started in Vancouver, spread here and Moms Stop The Harm and various other organizations were instrumental in setting it up when a person came here on Sept. 25. It’s not as if it grew out of the community as the result of a perceived need to help our drug vulnerables. It came from other people trying to upset the community here and trying to destroy what is going on here. Because we are just trying to recover from the ARCHES fiasco.”
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You have some of the old SCS staff operating this tent, along with volunteers and others coming from Calgary, Medicine Hat and other cities that have no knowledge of what is going on our city.
Businesses were destroyed, livelihoods taken away for many downtown, while others spent tens of thousands to protect their business and some were assaulted several times in doing so.
Slaney and his band of rebels are not welcome here and they are playing doctor with no medical degrees or training certificates as trainers to do what they do.
They openly admitted in several news releases how many people of safely used drugs in their tent, stating no overdoses yet police say there is no illegal activity. They even posted on their GoFundMe page they had users with no overdoses.
After being on scene for just 15 minutes 3 people observed open drug use in the tent and 2 went in to video the illegal act when assaulted by Slaney’s goon squad.
They spew disinformation and mislead media/police and the public just as the SCS did!
It is time for government and police to act and act now!
This is an illegal tent, on public property, committing illegal acts, endangering the addicts by playing doctor!
Arrest them all and throw away the keys . . . they have cost this city tens of millions of dollars and many people died because of their mismanagement at the SCS and continued actions of operating a site without proper credentials or training.
How many people staggered out of the old SCS and died blocks away?
This site in the park keeps the most vulernable away from the proper shelter available in winter where the can get out of the cold.
The park is where we used to enjoy the lights put up for Christmas and sleigh rides. Slaney and his rebels don’t care about anyone but himself and being in the spotlight . . . maybe he has Trump blood in him . . .?
We are tired of this gongshow and we are not going anywhere. We will shut this illegal tent down by bringing in outside law enforcement if needed and next election you are going to see big change in the City Council who have no leadership abilities and fail to protect or listen to it’s citizens . . . less than a year away and they will be replaced! We elect officials to make the decisions that are best for the whole community, not a band of rebels!
Go home to your own cities LOPS and destroy them . . . You are not needed here! You are not welcome!
To get a Health Canada Exemption to be legal you must prove there is an urgent need! There is no urgent need by your own claims of the number of addicts using your illegal tent. The numbers are so low that they are by far urgent!!!
Go Home and throw Slaney in jail!!!!

Last edited 6 months ago by ewingbt
Dennis Bremner

The SCS supporters cannot afford to have an “insignificant” little mobile SCS demonstrate that the Lethbridge SCS was nothing but a Con. So need to distract as much as possible. MSTH has to picket, jump up and down! So you have all these vested interest groups attempting to pretend they have no vested interest, and get indignant when you suggest they do. In fact, they cannot get indignant enough when confronted. When the BS starts to fail, its “Savin Lives” that pops to the top of their agenda and “talk to the hand of self righteousness” is the motto!
They absolutely NEED the mobile site to fail so they can continue to carry on with their agenda. The trouble is, its not. So they need diversionary tactics to try to insinuate its failing, hence the LOPS. They say its failing but cannot produce any proof of that. If they say, a life has been lost as proof, then the same life has been lost in other jurisdictions where there is full services, ruining the story.
They were quick to jump on the hundreds of lives lost but forgot to mention it was COVID induced (ie drugs not getting across the border so home brews of drugs are circulating) or they failed to mention that other Provinces saw the same uptick in deaths, negating the issue that Lethbridge is under served. They “neglect” to mention that the SCS in Lethbridge serviced less than 5% of the addicts while announcing they were saving thousands of lives. They neglect basic math and the mere fact that 100s are not dying because of a missing ARCHES/SCS must be a huge problem for them !
You then have the atypical parade of U of L shingle hangars who believe “I am a professor, ergo, I am smart in everything” or I am a Doctor so therefore I am all knowing, and know what is right for a community. Even if we make useless points with no substantiation ,”you, Lethbridge” shall be intimidated and impressed with our “Shingle at the least, and remember “Shingle is truth”!
So, in the struggle to try to convince, the shingle hangars and the ex ARCHES employees rig the numbers. Hundreds have died in Alberta they claim, yet do not explain why the majority that did die, were being serviced by SCSs in the cities where the deaths occurred? They must have forgotten that? So they want you to believe the hundreds that died of overdoses , died in Lethbridge because the ARCHES/SCS was not here, the trouble is, the SCS was here when the “hundreds” died in Alberta, it was not shut down yet, but again, they don’t want to mention that because it ruins the story!
So between the Socialist U of L Profs who read reports and have not been out in the real world for more than 15 minutes of their lives. The Doctors who have decided they know what is best for Lethbridge. The MSTH who believe society should take care of “their children” and run a shuttle service to Lethbridge when given the opportunity. The ex-employees of ARCHES who seemed to have not noticed ANYTHING WRONG with ARCHES/SCS. The Mayor and Council who operate as if a Deer in the Headlights. The NDP Rep who can’t figure out when to say she supports something just in case its bad timing. We have the self interested, attempting to run Lethbridge into the ground, on totally fabricated data.
Like them or not, the only people that have seen through this stream of bull are the UCP. Ignoring for a moment, on all their other failings, they are on the mark with this one!

Last edited 6 months ago by Dennis Bremner

Somebody should arrest these sign-wielding vagrants, spreading bad vibes in our community.

Are you the fellow on the left of the photo, Dennis?

Lori Hatfield

As a member of Moms Stop the Harm and a local Lethbridge resident, I would like to clarify some misinformation
Clarification 1: Lethbridge OPS does not “enable drug use”, but was created in response to the closure of the SCS and the #overdose death rate (3 ppl die in AB every day). The rates in the South Zone are the worst in the province.
Clarification 2: There are not more people using drugs because of Lethbridge OPS. Drug use will happen when people lack housing, living wages, mental health & trauma supports. When people face systemic racism & discrimination. While an OPS does not increase use, it decreases death.
Clarification 3: Nobody has ever died in the Lethbridge SCS parking lot (or other) after using the facility. People who consume at an SCS stay after they use so staff can ensure they are ok, to engage in conversation, to connect people with services (treatment), to take care of health issues
Clarification 4: The protesters call for “arrests”, while Canada’s Chiefs of Police call for a health approach instead of criminalization of PWUD (people who use drugs). Reversing an overdose and saving a life is not illegal and is protected under the Good Samaritan Overdose Act. The OPS is currently unsanctioned, and these volunteers are responding to an emergency in an effort to save lives. Harm reduction started by people most affected. When your friends are dying, you need to act.
Clarification 5: Lethbridge OPS was not started by outside parties. All volunteers are local to Lethbridge and the region. Many volunteers worked at the SCS before & are trusted by clients. Many are families who have lost a loved one or have a loved one with lived experience.
Clarification 6: #MSTH is not a movement that invaded AB but was started right here in this province and is now Canada wide. Co-founders Lorna Thomas and Petra Schulz live in AB, Leslie McBain was born and raised here and has close family ties. The movement started here because their children died of preventable substance-use related deaths and our children continue to die in increasing numbers and those in active addiction live in fear of dying as they try to navigate broken systems, flawed drug policies and stigma. We speak and act from painfully gained experience.
If the citizens of Lethbridge do not want SCS or OPS in this community then they should be lobbying the governments for safe supply, as this is the only way we will end the overdose crisis.