Legends of journalism

Editor in chief of the Calgary Herald, Licia Corbella, pens an op-ed about Vancouver’s InSite clinic. Much sturm und drang has been spilled since, but I thought I would touch on the following passage:

Sure enough, the first working girl I approached was Sam — whom we called Jackie for the article — who along with her boyfriend, Danny, had to make enough money daily to support their $600-a-day heroin habit.

Sam and I hit it off…I made sure she had my home number as well as my work phone number, and one night, months after the story ran, she phoned me in a panic from Montreal.

She had left Danny for a regular customer and had run out of heroin in Quebec. As she entered into the agony of withdrawal, she begged me to drive to Parkdale that Saturday night, find Danny and get him to put some heroin on a Greyhound bus for her, as she couldn’t find heroin in Montreal.

I told her what I’d do instead was call the Montreal police and ask them if they knew where the heroin users and dealers hung out. I didn’t have any Montreal police contacts, but called the on-duty sergeant. He didn’t know…

At great personal expense I have procured the transcript of that telephone call:

[Ring ring]: Allo, Service de police de Montreal

Hello there. I am journalist. Where can I buy the heroin?

Pardonez-moi?

Where can I buy the heroin?

Madame, are you asking where you can procure heroin?

Yes. I have a friend who needs some quite badly.

Madame, er…your “friend” probably should not do heroin.

But she’s a junkie and needs more heroin. She feels terrible!

I think your friend should seek medical assistance. The city has come clinics and programs….

That sounds like socialism. I just need to know where I can buy the heroin! Is everyone in France so dense!

I don’t know where to buy heroin, madame. Good night [click]

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