BC Finance Minister Katrine Conroy says the government is making the biggest investment in mental health and addiction services in the province’s history. Conroy says the 867-million dollars in new spending over the next three years will go to increasing treatment and recovery beds. She says a model used at the Red Fish Healing Centre in Coquitlam, which simultaneously treats mental health and addiction, will be expanded to regional facilities across the province. Sarah Blythe, with Vancouver’s Overdose Prevention Society, says she hopes the budget will help people in the city’s Downtown Eastside which continues to deal with an epidemic of toxic drug deaths.
One person was injured and ten more displaced yesterday after a two alarm fire at a home in Vancouver. Firefighters say they responded to the reported blaze and found grey and brown smoke billowing from the home’s roof. Responders say those displaced by the fire have found other places to stay. The rescue service says the fire started in a pot on a stove, adding that weather conditions and stalled vehicles on the route made responding to the call a challenge.
The Opposition BC Liberals say the NDP government’s budget proposes billions in new spending that will deliver few results for British Columbians. BC Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon says the latest budget is full of new spending and old rhetoric, offering “very little” to average citizens who are struggling with some of the highest housing costs in North America. He says the budget fails to adequately address the province’s beleaguered health-care system as emergency rooms struggle with patient counts and staffing problems. The budget projects a deficit of 4.2-billion dollars this year and 11-billion dollars over three years.
A police officer in Coquitlam suffered non-life-threatening injuries after being rammed yesterday by two burglary suspects fleeing in a vehicle. Mounties say the officer interrupted a break-and enter in progress at a Shell gas station while on routine patrol. RCMP say one suspect fled and got into a waiting truck that then rammed the police vehicle.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in BC’s Lower Mainland today for a series of events. The Prime Minister is to meet with nursing students and later hold an announcement with Premier David Eby and Carla Qualtrough, federal minister of employment, workforce development and disability inclusion. He will then meet with trade workers and apprentices. British Columbia is one of the provinces that has yet to sign a new health-care funding deal with the federal government.