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P.E.I. Liberals blast government over outreach centre drug use

The Prince Edward Island government has confirmed staff at a controversial homeless support centre turned a blind eye to drug use at the site and now the opposition Liberal Party is looking for answers.

The Community Outreach Centre, a provincially-funded support hub for homeless people located in downtown Charlottetown, has been the topic of debate over the last couple of months.

Liberal leader Hal Perry says the government’s response to the situation at the outreach centre is unacceptable because he says the province is “throwing the operator under the bus.”

Perry says the province didn’t acknowledge or deal with the open air drug use outside the centre.

“Every day we’re learning more and more about decisions that were made at that centre that really need to have this government respond to,” said Perry.

Housing Minister Rob Lantz said the centre has always had a zero tolerance policy for drug use on the property, however officials learned this summer staff were turning a blind eye.

Lantz said the province told the operator to reinforce the policy, which it since has.

“We were having problems in the neighbourhood, complaints,” said Lantz.

“There was discussion about it at city council, and at some point our staff was just able to confirm that, yes, maybe someone was looking the other way, but that came to an end very quickly.”

Perry also took aim at Justice Minister Bloyce Thompson, asking why police didn’t intervene.

“As minister of justice, I don’t direct police to press charges,” said Thompson.

“That’s up to police.”

However, Thompson said police should be focused on trafficking and not on arresting addicts.

The Perry said he isn’t satisfied with government’s answers.

The fate of the Community Outreach Centre is still very much up in the air. The province has put in an application with the city to move the site, but the city has not yet decided whether of not it will allow it.

For more Prince Edward Island news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories


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