The Tyee is reporting Vancouver Pride has withdrawn its partnership with Last Door Recovery Society for Sober Lounge and associated programming at Pride 2023.
This marks the first large community partner or sponsor to publicly cut ties with Last Door since allegations surfaced from at least eleven women of sexual abuse by an employee at Last Door over several years. The employee, Adam Haber, has since been charged on three of the eleven counts.
Last Door’s Director of Community Development, Giuseppe Ganci, also chairs Recovery Capital Conference of Canada (this may have changed, but his email address is still listed as primary contact on the site), which runs Alberta Recovery Conference among other similarly branded conventions.
So far, no sponsor of Recovery Capital Conference has publicly withdrawn support.
On the heels of the abuse allegations, a small group of us protested Alberta Recovery Conference 2023. Sponsors of the conference include the Alberta Government, Alberta Health Services, Calgary Homeless Foundation, Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Foundation, Edgewood Health Network and various recovery organizations. Edgewood was awarded a multimillion-dollar public contract for the Red Deer Therapeutic Community by the Alberta Government. Edgewood’s Clinical Manager for Western Canada is Stacey Ferland, hired soon after her resignation from Calgary Police amid a trauma counselling scandal.
Open doors for Recovery Capital through 2023
It’s not just Alberta Recovery Conference sponsors who may be thinking to join Vancouver Pride’s show of solidarity with the alleged victims. Three Last Door-sponsored and hosted events are upcoming in New Westminster, Regina and Winnipeg with their own set of sponsors. Although it’s a dwindling list from the Alberta Recovery Conference, current sponsors include the BC and Saskatchewan Governments, Edgewood Health Network (again) and On A Dime Transformations.
Giuseppe Ganci will take the stage again. I find it endlessly fascinating how Last Door continues to place itself visibly amid its sponsors and supporters, rather than fading into the background while these legal proceedings play out. Dr Julian Somers also makes a speaker appearance, fresh off his chaotic spring in which a group of grad students mounted a successful strike against his mandatory course at Simon Fraser.
We said it in February and I’ll say it again now: instead of supporting organizations with “visible ties to far-right nationalism, allegations of sexual misconduct, questionable sole-source contracts and a persistent refusal to provide measures of success,” these sponsors should join calls for oversight of the unregulated, increasingly privatized addiction treatment industry.
The politics behind these issues are weaponized against LGBTQ+ communities and people who use drugs. Where's the pride in sponsoring that?
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