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Vancouver drug-user activist says BC Liberals ad ‘weaponizes’ his words

"This is an unbelievably crass approach to an issue that is killing thousands of British Columbians."
samsullivan-fb
BC Liberals Vancouver-False Creek candidate Sam Sullivan. Photo: Sam Sullivan/Facebook

Drug-user activist and Crackdown podcast host Garth Mullins has asked BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson to eject former Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan from the party’s caucus, claiming an ad from Sullivan’s campaign ‘weaponizes’ his words against a proposed overdose prevention site in Vancouver.

“Sullivan’s misrepresentation of my position is defamatory and damaging,” Mullins wrote in a letter to Wilkinson.

The ad quotes Mullins as saying he is “not going to stand at an open hole digging a grave with John Horgan.”

According to Mullins, the quote was part of an interview with The Tyee where he said the BC NDP government needs to expand harm reduction and safe supply. He withdrew from a provincial overdose crisis response committee earlier this year.

Mullins says the quote was used without his permission and that the ad implies he is against a proposed overdose prevention site at 1101 Seymour St. in Vancouver. He is in favour of the site.

“Using my words in this way is the definition of bad faith but also shows bad judgement. This is an unbelievably crass approach to an issue that is killing thousands of British Columbians,” wrote Mullins.

The activist has asked Wilkinson to remove the ad from social media.

BIV has reached out to the BC Liberals and the Sullivan campaign for comment.

In the ad, Sullivan calls the BC NDP “dangerous for the drug-user community” and says that 4,000 people have died of overdose deaths “under their watch.”

Sullivan responded to critics via Twitter Sunday afternoon in a series of tweets: "I have reviewed the segment of my video in question and have confirmed that both the content is accurate and the quote by Garth Mullins is used in proper context regarding his frustration with the NDP's ineffective handling of the drug problem in our city. Furthermore, permission to use a quote that has already been widely published in the public domain is not required.  I stand behind the message in my video, and I will continue to speak up against the NDP's reckless handling of this issue on behalf of my community. I will provide further comments about this during my 7th community Zoom meeting being held tomorrow at 4:00pm. Those interested in attending can email sam.sullivan@bcliberals.com for an invite link."

hwoodin@biv.com

@hayleywoodin

With additional reporting from Vancouver Is Awesome

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