Opinion writers, by definition, convey opinions through their work with the expectation their insight and point of view will spark dialogue or change or, at the very least, solicit reaction.
But not even Calgary Herald Opinion Editor Licia Corbella could've predicted the kind of reaction to her piece stating that Calgary-born "Glee" actor Cory Monteith would still be alive, had it not been for Vancouver's ready supply of illegal drugs and its Insite safe injection program.
The Internet erupted with outrage, disbelief and levied accusations against Corbella that went from calling the piece "disappointing," to calling her "shameful," "ignorant" and "inflammatory."
@liciacorbella you'd think an editor would do some fact-checking? Insite doesn't provide heroin, only needles. You're an idiot.— Jason Fernandes (@psyoureanidiot) July 19, 2013
Corbella makes the connection that Monteith died in a hotel room five minutes from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, which according to her, everyone in Canada, including her "strait-laced 82-year-old mom," knows is where drugs are easily available.
"Heck, ask virtually any informed person across the country and they’d be able to tell you that if you want to go on a seedy trip of your choosing — be it a heroin holiday or a crack cocaine carousal — just head down to East Hastings Street and you will find what you’re looking for with no risk of arrest," Corbella writes.
Then Corbella asserts that being so close to Vancouver's safe injection site, that is probably where the 31-year-old actor sent a gofer in search of a fix.
"It’s unlikely that the 31-year-old would have risked bringing hard drugs across the border from his home in the United States, so it’s safe to assume he either picked some up himself or had a gofer do it for him by visiting InSite, the government-sponsored and funded safe injection site at 139 East Hastings. The next step is easy. Wait for an injection drug user to show up, ask them to score you some heroin, grab a few clean, free needles and distilled water, and you’re set," Corbella continues.
Monteith, the star of the hit TV show "Glee," was born in Calgary but was raised in Victoria.
He reportedly had a history of drug addiction going back to his early teens and died from an alcohol and heroin overdose in a Vancouver hotel room on July 13.
Yahoo!'s Matthew Coutts in his blog Daily Brew called Corbella's views on the situation "disappointing."
"You know a writer is trolling the Internet when she blames the death of a 31-year old actor, with a history with drugs, on Vancouver by citing as evidence the inherent knowledge of 'any informed Vancouverite,' a brief relationship she had with a Toronto heroin user, the unwillingness of Montreal police to tell her how to score drugs and her own personal sushi addiction," writes Coutts.
"Let's set aside the fact that Insite doesn't sell drugs, and set aside the fact that there has been no suggestion or indication that this is where Monteith obtained the heroin that ended his life. Because these assertions are so far beyond belief that even Corbella's regular readers likely went, "OK, let's just see where she's going with this."
The remainder of the article is a shameful diatribe clearly written by someone who wanted to hit a specific conclusion and only needed to find dots to connect along the way," Coutts continues.
Many Herald readers also held nothing back, calling Corbella out online.
Click through the gallery for more reaction to the column.