Canada’s federal drug policy under the Harper government (2006 to present) is “tough on crime” and dismissive of public health and harm reduction approaches to problematic drug use. Drawing on insights from discourse and critical race theories, and Bacchi’s (2009) poststructural policy analysis framework, problematic representations in Canada’s federal drug policy discourse are examined through proposed and passed legislation, government documents, and parliamentary speaker notes. These problem representations are situated within their social, historical, and colonial context to demonstrate how this policy is poised to intersect with persistent racial inequalities that position Indigenous peoples for involvement with illicit substances and markets, and racialized discourses and practices within law and law enforcement that perpetuate Indigenous over-representation in the criminal justice system.


I am grateful to Elizabeth Comack for her valuable insights and support with this analysis, and to the anonymous reviewer for the helpful suggestions.

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