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A Letter to Andrew Scheer

Dear Andrew Scheer,

Just a short note from Paul J James (PJJ) regarding Human Rights abuses of those Canadian citizens diagnosed with Substance Disabilities.

Over the past two years I have been seeking support from political opposition parties and politicians for the extreme circumstances and social injustices which have descended onto my life since opening up to York University in 2008, concerning poor mental health.

During this same two year period I have confronted the Liberal Party of Canada, including the Right Honorable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the issues which surround human rights discrimination based on poor mental health in the form of substance disability.

After 6 years trying to resolve the matter honorably, both in private and through the Canadian Judicial system, I finally had to resort to hunger strike protests along with launching the Confronting the Stigma of Drug Addiction website aimed at accessing social justice and/or fair resolution from York University. Both approaches have been rigorous painful strategies to bring attention to the plight of PJJ and by association millions of others past and present who have faced similar circumstances, yet have been forced to conform to consequential oppression and pitiful social injustice.

The approach has now passed over two years, obscenely, without justice or resolution being served. In fact further extreme injustices have been delivered. Nevertheless, the campaign itself has illuminated valuable information on where Canada stand as a nation on the Human Rights protection of their citizens; the hypocritical values we pick and choose when to respect; the truthful facts which encompasses substance disability; and the devastating consequences of the Stigma associated with this subject matter - most specifically onto those persons whose substance disability is exposed.

Emphatically, Stigma ruins the lives of millions of Canadians, much more so, than any ingested substance.

As a metaphor/analogy, I regard the extreme nature of the hunger strike protests and confrontational writings as a head-on pugnacious contribution to Ending the War on People. A global effort against the misguided War on Drugs ideology launched one hundred years ago, rammed up in the 80's and remarkably, irresponsibly, still continuing through to the present day. The true damage this misplaced philosophy and approach has delivered is realistically incalculable while the conditioned, criminalized Stigma it has fueled onto Canadian society has been thoughtless, irresponsible, unnecessary and ultimately, unforgivable.

One need to look no further than the Paul J James story to appreciate that other less advantaged Canadian citizens have no chance of living a life free of oppression once their substance disability is exposed. They have absolutely no human rights. No protection. Just. In most instances. A life of maltreatment, ridicule, humiliation, manipulation and abuse. And of course the pain of ongoing mismanaged substance use. I understand much more profoundly why persons in spite of the life or death decision to use fentanyl still choose to take the risk. The alternative once they are exposed is treatment from their fellow citizens all too often depraved.

You disagree? Then how can you explain that Paul J James a three time inductee into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame having represented Canada over one hundred times has had to embark on ten excruciatingly painful and humiliating hunger strike protests only to be met with further, escalated injustice and what can only be defined now as collective abuse from a nation and at every level.

As with any solider in any war, while I am beat up physically, psychologically and emotionally from the past 26 months and in fact the past decade, I will not give up the fight or fighting format. Living is not as important as winning at this stage.

As this tenth hunger strike protest progresses and with my commitment to escalate its nature to just drinking water I am concerned that my life will pass sooner rather than later as my heart weakens. I am not weak. I am not mentally ill. Just pragmatic. As a former Canadian international soccer player and coach I am attuned to my body.

With that in mind and with consideration that neither you or any Conservative party member have paid attention to this case I am requesting on record, that you and your colleagues commit to bi-partisan politics when debating the mental health of Canadian citizens most specifically in the form of substance disabilities. Progress simply cannot be made on the issue of improving the Stigma of Drug Addiction while politicians, the media, Canadian organizations, the Canadian Judicial system and Canadians themselves fight each other on ideological grounds, and/or collude to protect those who have infringed on the human rights of others. Partisan politics are bad politics when applied to mental health, particularly substance disability. It is totally counter productive and costly at every level. The harm you have ALL delivered over far too many years based not just on incontestable facts, but now profound personal experience, is gut wrenching and totally unacceptable.

The handling of the Paul J James matter by Canada as a nation is a clear signpost we are still illiterate on the subject matter including institutions remitted to care for those in need of support.

Good, bad and evil politics I do concede, at varying degrees, are inevitable in any society. However, with Canada's commitment to be being progressive and humane, well then - a fifth way through the twenty first century - only good, fair, consensus politics should logically be applied when debating mental health policies including those affecting substance disability. Of course, for that to take place, and it is long over due, Canadian Conservatives must now eliminate their political War on People mandate on the issues of class A substances. You'll feel better once you do!

In the event you cannot make such a commitment however, then in good faith and conscience, I could never encourage any Canadian citizen to consider voting for any party other than the Liberal Party of Canada.

They and specific persons have been on the receiving end of my wrath for not resolving this matter or at a bare minimum launching an investigation. I have a legitimate right to be disappointed and outraged with their handling of the Paul J James human rights matter. With that said, they proved in December of 2018 that they cared to a higher degree than any other political party. Combined with their informed, correct, educated stance on the subject matter itself - at least that substance disability first and foremost is not a crime - warrants credit and support, up to the point of human rights protection.

The Conservative Party of Canada meanwhile have paid no attention to this important issue nor the human life and well-being of a Canadian citizen fighting for the greater good. This in spite of being copied as a collective group on valuable information for over two years. Your indifference is to your discredit, for which I am profoundly disappointed and discouraged.

You may battle and confront the pipeline; conflict of interest; and obstructing justice issues of your opponents. You can even critique the Omar Khadr matter. But there is nothing more important than the mental health and well-being of Canadian citizens. And on that issue you currently lose by a thousand furlongs.

Stigma campaigns have focused exclusively on talking about mental health and opening up. Well Paul J James did that. And look what happened. Stigma is far deeper than the shallow approach we have taken as a society and it is costing Canadians billions of dollars annually and much heartache. Without human rights protection against discrimination then it is futile and irresponsible to endorse such campaigns at the level we do. And here is the rub for the Conservative Party of Canada. Without decriminalizing all substances the misalignment of government policy and judicial law as proven in the Paul J James matter will continue to create havoc.

Again, Mr Andrew Scheer. I respectfully request you and the Conservative Party of Canada consider and agree as a party, to partake in bi-partisan politics on mental health issues most specifically substance disabilities moving forward and for evermore. In doing so you will be on the roundabout of progressive improvement for, in particular, the man made social phenomena you have created, the Stigma of Drug Addiction. It will permit you to begin to make amends for the irreparable damage you have inflicted - unwittingly at times perhaps - on far too many Canadian citizens over far too many years. You will finally be on the right side of the issue.

In the event I do not make it through this current path it would encouraging to know of something positive in my absence.

Yours respectfully,

Paul J James

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