Dan Williams has never been in this column before.
He definitely doesn’t shy away from leaving a strong first impression.
“I couldn’t care less what the progressive media and the radical activists say,” Williams tells Albertans.
He knows what he will say and what he supports will cause the social media wrath to rain down upon him.
After all, Williams believes strongly in the Alberta government’s pledge to put people into treatment who are a danger to themselves and others, the hardest of the hard cases in the addict world.
He believes strongly there is “misery, carnage and death” down one road and recovery down the other.
“There aren’t other options. The only thing left for us is to intervene as a society and say we still care for you.”
And Williams points his finger at those whose policies have left us with chaos.
“The Left’s best thinking has gotten us to this point. The idea we need more of the Left’s thinking to solve the problem is insanity,” says the point man on mental health and addictions in the UCP government led by Premier Danielle Smith.
“For two decades, the progressive Left has held a monopoly on policies around addiction. Their logic is we haven’t done enough of it.
“It’s obvious the radical progressive Left has failed Alberta, Canada, North America and the West in its thinking on addiction. It would destroy us as a province to go down that path further. The only solution is another road.”
But, for Williams, the old guard cling to their failed ideas.
“There are some things so crazy you have to be an elected liberal or socialist to believe them.”
He’s going to get a bruising on Twitter for that comment.
Williams says he isn’t worried.
“The solace I take is we won an election and we told Albertans exactly what we wanted to do.”
In fact, says the UCP cabinet minister, if the party’s policy on drug treatment and recovery was the only question on the ballot they would have won a super-majority.
Williams says most Albertans know in the most desperate cases of drug addiction it is not compassionate to just say it’s their choice.
If the person is a danger to themselves or others, you get involved and “get them a second lease on life” and get them treatment.
When you see these souls on the streets, says Williams, “and you have this horrible sinking feeling it’s the wrong thing to just pass them by.”
Then there is threat to others.
Williams talks of a recent story of the Chilean senior visiting Edmonton being randomly attacked on the LRT.
“Maybe they’re sword-duelling with the wind on 9 Ave. in Calgary and maybe it can unfortunately become violent.”
So the Smith government will work on coming up with a law where a justice trained to handle drug cases could issue an order for an individual to go to treatment.
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Meanwhile, don’t get Williams going and talk about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and providing addicts with “a so-called safe supply of drugs.”
“I don’t care if it’s a drug dealer handing out the hard drugs or Justin Trudeau handing out the drugs.”
For Williams, it is all wrong.
He also shakes his head over those who trumpet “crazy radical left policies again and again” and then hide those ideas during an election.
Then there’s the question that comes back again and again.
When will the drug consumption site at Calgary’s Sheldon Chumir Health Centre be moved?
It’s a long-time UCP promise. The many homes and many businesses around the site have been waiting for the site’s exit from the area.
The government has tried to move it but … surprise, surprise, it is such a wonderful addition to any community no one wants it. Insert sarcasm here.
They’re still looking at options. Williams commits to coming down to Calgary “with a fresh set of eyes” and your scribbler can show him around the neighbourhood.
So Williams gets his marching orders from the premier Wednesday.
Still, is the man ever tempted to throw in the towel and just join the status quo?
“I am a conservative who believes in conserving the good things we’ve been given in our society.
“I’m not blinking.”
“Because I believe we have the moral obligation to those who are suffering and to the community.”