Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam MP's bill heads to senate

MP Ron McKinnon received unanimous support at third reading on Wednesday for his Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act, Bill C-224.

A year after being elected to the House of Commons, a Tri-City MP will see his private member's bill head to Canada's second chamber.

On Wednesday, Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam Liberal MP Ron McKinnon watched as every member of parliament stood up to vote in favour of his Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act.

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The unanimous third-reading vote now means C-224 will be debated in the senate — 10 months after it was first introduced in Parliament. 

"Here it is November and there was no delay. There was no controversy about this bill," he said from Ottawa Thursday.

McKinnon told The Tri-City News he's grateful for the cross-party support and, since it passed, he has received messages of congratulations from constituents as well as handshakes from MPs of all government levels.

It is believed Vancouver senator Larry Campbell will sponsor C-224 as it passes through the senate (a request for comment from Campbell was not returned).

The proposed act means people who call 911 to report a drug overdose won't be charged for drug possession offences in relation to the incident; however, the exemption would not apply to offences like trafficking or driving while impaired.

This year, McKinnon's office launched a social media campaign to boost the bill, showing video testimony from Tri-City leaders as well as medical doctors and families who had lost children to drug overdoses.

Among the endorsements were from B.C. health officer Dr. Perry Kendall, BC chief coroner Lisa Lapointe, the union representing Coquitlam firefighters, Port Moody Police Chief Chris Rattenbury and Port Coquitlam city council.

At third reading debate last Friday, McKinnon stated he "did not expect… the groundswell of support that came out shortly after the bill’s first reading. Groups and individuals from every part of Canada called and emailed telling me how much this legislation is needed. I thank them for that. That support motivated me even more to make sure this bill becomes law."

Meanwhile, McKinnon will be at Coquitlam's Douglas College campus on Thursday, Nov. 10 to talk about the economy and next federal budget.

Feedback from the 90-minute session will be forwarded by McKinnon to finance minister Bill Morneau. The event starts at 7 p.m. in Room A2050 at Douglas College (1250 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam).

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