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Some homeless people don't want to leave the street, says Blaine Higgs

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A person lying under stairs in downtown Moncton. (Archive photo)

Radio-Canada

Speech synthesis, based on artificial intelligence, makes it possible to generate spoken text from written text.

The Prime Minister of New Brunswick said Tuesday that the deaths of two people at an encampment in Saint John demonstrate the need for a law to force homeless people into treatment for drug addiction.

Blaine Higgs believes that authorities should be able to force these people to undergo treatment against their will.

In response to questions from political parties opposition in the Legislature, Blaine Higgs discussed a bill that has not yet been introduced.

Some people simply don't want not get off the street, declared the Prime Minister during question period.

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Are we going to consider this an acceptable way of life and condone it? Where are we going to find a way to help them find a path back to housing and a life worth living?

The Authorities found two people dead after a fire Monday at a homeless encampment along Paradise Row in Saint John, New Brunswick.

In the Speech from the Throne, presented last fall, the Prime Minister promised the creation of a new law on humanitarian intervention. This law would allow authorities to order treatment in cases of serious drug use disorders.

This law aims to help, in extreme cases, people struggling with addiction problems who are not able to meet their basic needs, we can read in the speech.

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Prime Minister Blaine Higgs after reading the Speech from the Throne on October 17, 2023.

It is specified that the interventions would be based on an approach marked by compassion and that this law would make it possible to regulate these interventions.

Blaine Higgs affirms that this bill will be tabled later during the parliamentary session.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, however, guarantees that a person is not arbitrarily detained or imprisoned, in order to protect individual freedom against unjustified interference by the State.

The Prime Minister recognizes that the situation is delicate, but believes that it is a necessary conversation since the status quo is no longer acceptable.

That's where the debate will take place, in the House, when we present it, said Blaine Higgs.

The Minister of Health Bruce Fitch said Tuesday he didn't know if the law could have made a difference in the deaths of the two people in St. John.

Liberal Party Leader Susan Holt and Green Party Leader David Coon have both said forcing people experiencing homelessness into treatment is not a good idea. They say some people choose not to go to shelters because they don't feel safe there.

We have a government that said the problem is [the people on the streets],” Susan Holt said. However, there are solutions that this government is not applying.

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The leader of the New Brunswick Liberal Party, Susan Holt. (File photo)

Susan Holt advocates temporary solutions like safe heated tents, like those installed this winter in Halifax.

David Coon called Blaine Higgs' suggestions crazy and issues, emphasizing that there is already a law that allows people to be arrested if they constitute a danger to themselves or to others.

We'll see what the bill says, but the way it's presented, it seems like it goes way too far, he said.

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David Coon, leader of the Green Party of New Brunswick. (Archive photo)

The Greens instead propose drawing inspiration from existing models such as the 12 Neighbors Community Inc project in Fredericton, a affordable and safe tiny house project with, among other things, an addiction treatment program.

With information from Jacques Poitras of CBC and&#x27 ;Alix Villeneuve from Radio-Canada

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