VICTORIA – BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson’s opposition to the New Democrat government’s widely-supported lawsuit against opioid manufacturers mirrors his past work backing big tobacco companies against the province of British Columbia.
BC New Democrats are asking why Andrew Wilkinson is siding with opioid producers instead of people and families across B.C. who have suffered from the crisis.
“We were shocked to see the BC Liberals oppose holding drug companies accountable,” said Ravi Kahlon, New Democrat MLA for Delta North. “Perhaps Andrew Wilkinson’s past with Big Tobacco explains why he isn’t standing with us when it comes to opioid companies and the devastating impacts their marketing practices have had on people in B.C.”
Last month, when the B.C. government announced litigation against opioid companies for their deceptive marketing practices, the BC Liberals attacked the government, claiming the lawsuit is “overly simplistic” and, “will not save lives.” The BC Liberals also said that this lawsuit puts “too much attention” on opioid companies.
Similarly, Wilkinson defended Big Tobacco as part of the legal team representing Philip Morris against the B.C. government in 2011. Big Tobacco is being pursued by B.C. for healthcare costs relating to false advertising.
The BC Liberals have accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations from opioid companies named in the government’s lawsuit, including Apotex – the lead sponsor of the BC Liberals’ 2016 Party Convention.
“Who does Andrew Wilkinson work for? British Columbians, who have suffered so much as a result of the overdose crisis, or, multinational corporations, who give money to his party?” asked Kahlon.