Introduction

Rebecca Johnson

Abstract


In Vancouver’s downtown eastside, just down from the Carnegie Community Centre on East Hastings Street, stands Insite. Funded by Vancouver Coastal Health, Insite is a supervised safe injection site for illegal drug users—currently the only such site in North America. It is also at the centre of a heated political and legal struggle over the boundary between health and crime. InPHS Community Services Society v Canada (AG) , the courts have been articulating that struggle in the language of federalism, division of powers and interjurisdictional immunity. Insite, in the courtroom and in the media, raises a host of questions not only about the boundaries of provincial and federal powers, but also about drugs, harm, crime, health, poverty, community, the economy, urban planning, equality, epidemiology, social programming, race, gender, coalition building and municipal politics. Quite the menu of legal, social, and political possibility. In this Issue ofConstitutional Forum, we have drawn together a series of papers that were generated in the context of a pedagogical encounter at the University of Victoria, one that had students and faculty engaged in a collective exploration of the Insite case.

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