Federal Framework on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Act

An Act respecting a federal framework on post-traumatic stress disorder

Sponsor

Todd Doherty  Conservative

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)

Status

Second reading (Senate), as of Dec. 14, 2017

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill C-211.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment requires the Minister of Health to convene a conference with the Minister of National Defence, the Minister of Veterans Affairs, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, provincial and territorial government representatives responsible for health and representatives of the medical community and patients’ groups for the purpose of developing a comprehensive federal framework to address the challenges of recognizing the symptoms and providing timely diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

March 8, 2017 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Health.

Department of Veterans Affairs ActPrivate Members' Business

December 1st, 2017 / 1:20 p.m.
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Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

moved that Bill C-378, An Act to amend the Department of Veterans Affairs Act (fairness principles), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise today in the House to speak about my private member's bill, Bill C-378. I stand in the House on behalf of the millions of men and women who have fought for our country, the 700,000 veterans. It is for them that I rise with respect to this bill.

I also rise with an understanding that the sacrifices that have been made by those men and women and their families throughout the course of Canadian history is what allows all of us who sit in our symbol of democracy the privilege to do so. I want to thank them, their families, and their memories. I hope by the time I am done here today, I will have done a good enough job explaining what the private member's bill is all about and ask for the support of the House for it.

I am looking to establish three basic principles within the Department of Veterans Affairs Act: that the person, as well as his or her dependants or survivors, is to be treated with dignity, respect, and fairness; that the uniqueness of a person's professionalism, obligations, and sacrifices such a profession demands also impacts the experiences of the individual's family; and that any decision regarding the care, treatment, and re-establishment in civilian life of the person and the benefits to be provided be made in a timely manner.

It is in the spirit of Sir Robert Borden, who spoke to Canadian soldiers preparing for that great battle of Vimy Ridge, that Bill C-378 is introduced. Our eighth prime minister said to the troops at the time:

...you need have no fear that the government and the country will fail to show just appreciation of your service...The government and the country will consider it their first duty to prove to the returned men its just and due appreciation of the inestimable value of the services rendered to the country...

Sir Robert Borden may have been the first to talk about an obligation and duty, but he has not been the last. Veterans and current members of the Canadian Armed Forces who I met with this summer told me they wished to see these principles in place.

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to travel across the country to meet with veterans, their families, and stakeholders. Every single one of them talked about this sacred obligation, this covenant, on behalf of the government and its service men and women. When Sir Robert Borden spoke of that obligation to Canadian soldiers, there has never been an obligation to the men and women and their families enacted in Canadian legislation, and that is what I hope to change with Bill C-378.

This is not an indictment on any government. It is not an indictment on the current government and it is not an indictment on the valuable employees who work at Veterans Affairs Canada. This is about doing something for which veterans have asked.

The previous government brought in a Veterans Bill of Rights in 2007. Under the Veterans Bill of Rights, veterans have the right to take part in discussions that involve them and their families, have someone with them to support them when they deal with Veterans Affairs, to receive clear, easy-to-understand information about programs and services in English and French, as set out in the Official Languages Act, and have their privacy protected, as set out in the Privacy Act.

More importantly, the Veterans Bill of Rights has two rights that are included as principles in Bill C-378. The first principle is that the person be treated with respect, dignity, fairness, and courtesy, the benefits and services as set in our published service standards, and knowing one's appeal rights.

Canada had the Veterans Bill of Rights, but it is the 2011 armed services covenant from the United Kingdom, Prime Minister David Cameron, that was the gold standard, and continues to be the gold standard, for stating a nation's obligation to its forces.

Highlights in the U.K. armed forces covenant include that they, the men and women and their families, “deserve our respect and support, and fair treatment.” It says in that covenant, “the whole nation has a moral obligation to the members of the Naval Service, the Army, and the Royal Air Force, together with their families.” They “should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services. Special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given most such as the injured and the bereaved.”

It is also important to understand that the United Kingdom is the only country in the world that has a covenant with its service men and women.

I am proud of Bill C-378 and the principles that our armed forces members and veterans are asking for. I would like to take some time to go through the three principles. The first principle states, “that the person, as well as their dependants or survivors, is to be treated with dignity, respect and fairness;" This respect is duly earned, as the men and women who defend our democracy essentially go to work in a theatre of war where those they are battling do not recognize the rights and freedoms that Canadians expect to have.

Canadians would not have those rights and freedoms without the efforts of our brave soldiers and the sacrifices they have faced on battlefields for the past 150 years. In the words of Aaron Bedard, a veteran and someone I now consider a friend, about fairness, respect, and dignity, “I know that the principles of fairness, respect and dignity towards Canadian veterans are as important to [Canadians] as they are for veterans and our families.” I believe that in all that I am. It was Sir Robert Borden who first touched on the idea of obligation because of the duty performed by our Canadian Forces.

The second principle of Bill C-378 states that we should recognize “the uniqueness of the person's professionalism”, and “the obligations and sacrifices”, such as that a profession “demands also impacts the experiences of their family”.

It was only in recent years where the duty of a soldier's family has been recognized. This recognition is long overdue. For far too many years, families along with veterans suffered in silence with what was at first called “shell shock”, which we know now as the unseen injury of post-traumatic stress disorder.

On that note, the hon. member for Cariboo—Prince George has passed Bill C-211 in the House. It has been 168 days that legislation has been in the Senate, and it is time that the bill be passed in the Senate.

In many veterans affairs committee meetings, it was the spouse or a family member that spoke out about their roles in keeping their father, brother, mother, sister alive after returning from theatres of war. Bill C-378, if passed, will forever recognize the uniqueness and obligations of not only the veterans who fought, but the families of the soldiers and our veterans.

More important is the third principle, “that any decision regarding the care, treatment or re-establishment in civil life of the person and the benefits to be provided to them be made in a timely manner.”

Many discussions in the House and in committee revolve around the care that our veterans receive. In some cases, Veterans Affairs does well, and I commend the men and women who work in VAC offices across Canada, in call centres, and in the Charlottetown headquarters, for the work that they do.

However, there must be a recognition that there are cases where gaps are located and the standard of service cannot be met.

The idea of providing benefits in a timely manner must be considered in all aspects of the care received by our veterans when they are transitioning to civilian life. There is a standard of care, but there are way too many gaps right now causing delays. We can do better, and we must do better.

Dave Bona, a veteran and mefloquine survivor said it best when he stated:

When a soldier comes home all they ask for is to have the services and medical care they need available in a timely manner for themselves and their family. Having these reasonable principles in the act will set in place the simple obligation that we ask for.

The obligation is that care be provided when it is needed, not six, seven, 10, or 12 months after it is asked for. The obligation of getting care to veterans rests with Veterans Affairs Canada. Service provision in a timely manner does not mean using an average of 16 weeks to deliver services within, for example, but giving a realistic expectation to veterans and their families of the different care that will be delivered in varying circumstances. The principle of receiving care in timely manner takes the idea of “in a timely manner” from being aspirational to being realistic and expected. It also puts it in legislation. As research improves how care is delivered, so should the timing of when that care is delivered.

As I said, last summer I had an opportunity to travel the country with the members for Yorkton—Melville and Souris—Moose Mountain, and met with veterans and their families. I met with a Robert Gagnon, a veteran walking across B.C. to help veterans suffering from PTSD. In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, we talked with the women and men who run the military family resource centres. I met with Medric Cousineau, who has saved 99 lives by pairing veterans with trained service dogs. In Calgary, we learned the incredible story of how the police are helping our homeless veterans. In Edmonton, we met with CAF members and veterans together, and in that meeting, a colonel helped one veteran get off the street after hearing his story at that round table.

I give all of the credit for the three principles in Bill C-378 to everyone we met this summer. It is the veterans and their families, the MFRC staff, and the volunteers and activists who helped get this bill to the House today.

I hope all members of the House will support this bill and get Bill C-378 to committee, where more voices of veterans and their families can be heard on these important principles and the need to get them put into legislation.

Finally, as I close, I will give the last words to Don Sorochan, a lawyer from Vancouver, B.C. He wrote to me and said:

I welcome this Bill to further recognize the Military Covenant. Throughout our history Canadians have put life and limb on the line to serve Canada. The Covenant is Canada’s promise that in return for this service to protect our country and its democratic institutions, those who serve and their dependents will be honoured, respected and looked after by a grateful nation. The implementation of this Covenant should not be left to the whims of bureaucrats or the other pressing demands of the government of the day.

It is important to understand that this obligation is not just to be placed on the current government, this minister, or the bureaucracy. This covenant is to be placed on future generations, future governments, future ministers, future bureaucrats, and future parliamentarians, who understand the sacred obligation, the covenant that Canada should have, needs to have and, hopefully, will have with its veterans.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / noon
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to stand in the House today, 150 years since the very first sitting on November 6, 1867.

Before I move onto this, it is appropriate that I send our thoughts and prayers to friends, families, colleagues, and first responders who attended the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends, the families, and all first responders in that entire community. Just as they are grieving, we are grieving with them.

I thought about what I would say on the fall economic statement. Today, I will talk about our legacy because, at the end of the day, all of us will be remembered for something. In preparing for this speech, I stumbled across a couple of quotes that I thought I would enter into the records. The first is, “No legacy is so rich as honesty.” That was by William Shakespeare. Over the last two year, we have seen the Prime Minister's actions, his direction and his choice of how he will move forward in his mandate or what he believes is his mandate.

I coached for a long time. I would always tell our kids, when I was coaching hockey, or baseball, or soccer or when I was working with youth groups, that they would go through this life once. At the end of the day, all they would have was their integrity, their legacy. I would ask them what they would like to leave behind, or what would be their brand as they moved through life. When I would worked in schools, I would talked to kids. I would ask them what a brand was. They would say that a brand was the swoosh on a Nike shoe, or it was the great big A&W sign or the bear for A&W. I would tell them that their brand was what people would say about them after they left the room. The kids talked about the the swoosh or all those other items. These are logos and marketing tools, but a brand is really what people say about us.

If we compare governments and prime ministers over the years, Prime Minister Harper took us from back row and second from the left to principled leadership and the front row. That will no doubt elicit jabs from the other side, but I want to offer this. We had a leader who was principled, who put his thoughts always on Canadians, how our policy would impact those who elected us, how we were seen on the world stage with respect to Canada as a collective as one nation, and I have the examples to back it up.

There are those of us who are more concerned about how we are perceived through the lens of others than how our actions are perceived and what our legacy will be. I will use a very recent example.

We have a young Prime Minister who has been in Vogue. He has been seen planking, photo bombing through Stanley Park in my beautiful province of British Columbia. He has been seen with his shirt off. Far be it for me to criticize.

We had a leader who was known for his principled leadership. Now there is a leader who is known for fancy socks or for showing up in question period in a Superman Halloween costume underneath his clothes. I was in the House that day. Many on this side were wondering if he had a new haircut. Somebody said that he was trying to be Waldo. I said no. I said that if we had learned anything over the last two years, it was that he believed he was Superman. I said he was trying to Clark Kent. The Prime Minister left part way through question period and returned quickly. Shortly thereafter in social media was the Prime Minister coming down the stairs showing the large Superman logo. He thought that was very novel and that it would be on the front page of newspapers.

At a time when fishers, farmers, and small business people are suffering, the Prime Minister is being investigated by the Ethics Commissioner. The finance minister is embroiled in an investigation, one that I do not know we ever have seen before. He seemingly has profited since being in office. He introduced legislation that would benefit the companies in which he had assets. We now know that there are more hidden businesses, numbered companies, in the Bahamas. The latest leak in the last 24 hours is that there are more questions. Canadians are hearing about questionable actions, which are leading to more questions.

I come back to our legacy. When I ran in the election, I had an opportunity to speak to a few members of Parliament, a few MLAs, and leaders within the community, who I hold in high esteem. They are really my mentors and I respect them. They put our constituents first. I think the world of Mayor Lyn Hall in my riding. During the course of the wildfires, he led his team with actions, not just words. He helped alongside myself and some of the MLAs as our community grew beyond our traditional population base. We welcomed 11,000 evacuees into our community and looked after them. We opened up our hearts and homes and looked after them.

With true leadership, MLA Mike Morris, MLA Shirley Bond, and MLA John Rustad did whatever they could to ensure that those in our communities were cared for. We do that every day, not just when there are emergencies. Why? Because we care more for how those in the community who elected us are doing than getting a picture on the front page of a newspaper, wearing new socks, walking a red carpet, or taking a selfie. We care about those who elect us. We care deeply about our communities. We care deeply about Canadians.

We have a government that campaigned on promises to Canadians, that said they were ready to lead. They said real change will be coming. Have we ever seen real change. The Liberals announced in their fall fiscal update that they have no plan to get back to a balanced budget. They have no plan, because it is not their money. They have no idea.

When I talk about my family finances, I do not refer to them as my fortune. In my riding of Cariboo—Prince George, there are very few people who can stand before a mike or a camera and talk about their family's fortune. They would probably say they are worried about their family's finances or how they are going to make ends meet. They would probably say they are worried about the fact that Canada does not have a softwood lumber agreement in place.

There is a further concern in terms of one of our number one industries within the province of British Columbia. This past weekend, Tolko, one of the largest mills in my riding and located in Williams Lake, had a massive fire. This added further insult to the fact that we lost 53-million cubic metres of fibre in the wildfires this past summer.

The Liberal government has dithered away any opportunity to get a softwood lumber agreement in place, and hundreds of people have been waiting to see their government stand up for them and fight. Now there is further uncertainty in our communities. There is further uncertainty in our communities because of what the government has done. The Liberals like to say that Canadians are far better off, but the reality is that hydro, gasoline, home heating, health and dental benefits, employee discounts, personal savings, life-saving therapies, and local businesses have all been attacked by them, regardless of what they say.

People at home are listening to this debate today. People in the gallery are listening. I can say that everyone gets talking points. Government members get talking points. When we ask the hard questions that Canadians want us to ask, time and time again the Liberals will stand up and give the same repetitive answer, which turns out to be a non-answer. Why is that? It is because they do not believe they have to answer to Canadians.

There is another quote that I want to mention, “All good men and women must take responsibility to create legacies that will take the next generation to a level we could only imagine.” What level are we talking about for the next generation? Under the leadership of Prime Minister Trudeau, what is the government going to leave to the next generation? The debt we are incurring today, the money we are talking about today, is not free money. It has to be paid back. Who is going to pay that money back? It will be my kids. It will be their kids. The next generation will have to pay it back. That will be the Liberal legacy.

I have stood in the House a number of times since the summer. I have talked about the wildfires and how our communities managed to rally together.

Speaking about legacies, there is a gentleman back home who is very sick. I believe he knew how sick he was during the summer. Regardless of how sick he was, he continued to fight the fires. He continued to lead teams all on his own. He is a local logging contractor whose name is Lee Todd. He is legendary in the Cariboo. However, he was sick, and I am not quite sure how sick, but he flew his personal helicopter to try to spot where the first fires were. He led other local contractors.

In the Cariboo, we do not take no for an answer and we do whatever we can to get things done. Regardless of whether it is prescribed, we just get it done. We do not ask for permission, many times we beg forgiveness afterward, but we get the job done. Nobody knows what tomorrow is going to bring but, for me, one of Lee's legacies is going to be that regardless of his own health and well-being, he continued to lead and do whatever he could. For example, he opened his shop and fed the firefighters and contractors who wanted to save our community.

I throw that in because, again, when we are talking about legacy and moving forward, we have to be reminded time and again that this House does not belong to us. It does not belong to the government or to those of us on the side. It belongs to Canadians. We were elected to be here and be their voices. We have talked about parliamentary privilege over the last year. That privilege is not so we can get to the front of line, ride in fancy vehicles, or attend fancy events. Parliamentary privilege is there to protect the rights of Canadians. This has been forgotten.

We have a Prime Minister and a House leader who wanted to change the standing rules of the House because they thought it would modernize them. They have invoked closure on debate, time allocation, time and again. I know what is going to come from the other side. They are going to start pointing fingers and saying that when those guys were in power this is what they did. Well, I can only speak about my experience. I am a new member of Parliament, as people know. I am fortunate that the good people of Cariboo—Prince George elected me. I have lived every day of being elected with the mindset of asking what my legacy is, because I may only get the chance to be elected once. We do not know how long this opportunity is going to last. Whatever we do, we should try to impact and change as many lives as we can.

Hopefully, people see that they have a fighter and I am fortunate enough to be elected in the next election. Whether it is my bill, Bill C-211, that calls on the government to develop a national framework with respect to post-traumatic stress disorder; our work in talking about the impacts of impaired driving on families, which loss never heals regardless of time; working with my colleagues on this side of the House to hold the government accountable and fight for Canadians; working with colleagues across the way on team Canada approaches, and going to the U.S. to sit side by side with them and presenting team Canada, not being partisan, but team Canada; or whether it is through parliamentary trips, we always have to be mindful of what our legacy is.

I know my time is very short. I want to leave everyone with this last quote, and I have one question after that. John Diefenbaker said, “Freedom is the right to be wrong, [freedom is] not the right to do wrong.” I think that is so important. I am going to leave my colleagues with this. Before the partisan jabs come out, I want to ask everyone in the House what they want their legacy to be and what they want to be remembered for. Is it standing up for someone who is hiding assets and making it harder for Canadians? Fight, fight for Canadians.

Post-traumatic Stress DisorderStatements By Members

November 2nd, 2017 / 2:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to be attending the 70th annual Ontario Psychological Association's public service awards event this evening. The ceremony honours those who have contributed greatly to improving conditions for the most vulnerable among us. The OPA itself has been recognized at the highest level for groundbreaking work with Canada's military heroes.

Today, I am pleased to announce that my bill, Bill C-211, has received second reading in the Senate. However, more work is needed. Just as we witnessed in the House, the support of all our Senate colleagues is needed to ensure we see my legislation through.

Tonight, as I attend the OPA event, I will carry the message that we are all working collectively to see that Bill C-211 gets passed as quickly as possible and that we all recognize that lives depend on it.

Every day, I am touched by those who are suffering, those brave enough to put a face to my bill. I am deeply committed to honouring their bravery, their strength, and their perseverance as we work together to ensure those who need help get help.

October 31st, 2017 / 4:35 p.m.
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Robert Hage Fellow, Canadian Global Affairs Institute, As an Individual

Thank you very much, Madam Chair.

I should say that I've timed my remarks. They're five minutes and 30 seconds, so perhaps you would grant me the other 30 seconds.

During my 38 years in the Canadian Foreign Service, I have had the opportunity to work in the department's legal bureau, including a period as director general for legal affairs. I was also a representative for Canada at the UN Conference on the Law of the Sea.

I have written two articles relevant to the committee's work for the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. The first is the “Legal Aspects of an Oil Tanker Ban: Bill C-211”, which I wrote in 2012; and “Risk, Prevention, and Opportunity: Northern Gateway and the Marine Environment”, which I wrote in 2015.

Bill C-211 was the last of five Liberal or NDP private members' bills between 2007 and 2011 to legislate an oil tanker ban on B.C.'s west coast in an area north of Vancouver Island. I wrote that this “opens a Pandora's box of issues involving the United States, including Canada's historic claims to these waters, the Alaska Panhandle boundary, the passage of nuclear submarines, innocent passage, and fishing rights.”

All five bills ban tanker traffic in the Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait, and Queen Charlotte Sound, an area under Canadian legislation known as fishing zone 3. The key issue is the nature of the Alaska boundary, called the A-B line, adjacent to Dixon Entrance. Canada claims that the 1903 British-American arbitration, which delimited this boundary, created both a land and maritime boundary. The U.S. position is that the A-B line is a land boundary only and does not demarcate an ocean boundary. It has claimed a territorial sea south of the line, thereby creating a disputed maritime area where each nation has arrested the fishing vessels of the other.

Since the 1890s, Canada has maintained that Dixon Entrance is part of the historic internal waters of Canada. Canada has made similar claims for Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound. While the previous bills banned tankers sailing within the defined waters of fishing zone 3, Bill C-48 prohibits tankers carrying crude oil from entering or leaving ports in the same area.

In focusing on the use of Canadian ports, the government has avoided a confrontation with the United States over the status of these waters. A May 12, 2017, media report quotes Minister Garneau's response to reporters' questions about why Bill C-48 does not ban tankers simply passing through Dixon Entrance, Hecate Strait, or Queen Charlotte Sound. Minister Garneau replied that “such passage is allowed by international law, but it is effectively stopped under a voluntary tanker exclusion zone that the U.S. and Canada agreed some 30 years ago.”

However, for years, Canada has claimed these waters to be internal waters of Canada, where passage is governed by Canadian law and not international law. The U.S. maintains that its rights indeed are governed by international law and has sent numerous diplomatic notes in that regard.

The rather odd result under the bill is that tankers carrying crude oil can still ply these waters as long as they do not enter or leave from a Canadian port. The legislation also does not apply to tankers transporting refined oil. It does not apply to B.C.'s southern waters, including the Strait of Juan de Fuca or the Port of Vancouver-Burnaby, the site of the Kinder Morgan tanker terminal.

Enbridge's Northern Gateway project was cancelled by the government, and the government always has the right to deny any future proposal for a terminal. This raises the question of why such legislation is required at all. The only pipeline and terminal project that the moratorium act affects is the proposed Eagle Spirit Energy corridor, which initially would build an oil pipeline across first nations traditional lands from Fort McMurray to a terminal on Lax Kw’alaams coastal lands, north of Prince Rupert.

In the 2015 article, I looked at Alaska's experience involving its native people and petroleum development. The United States government created 12 regional profit-making native corporations designed to give indigenous peoples the means to ensure their financial independence through their corporate ownership of large tracts of land and the opportunity to develop that land. The results have been very positive. One corporation on the north slope is the state's largest Alaskan-owned corporation, with over 10,000 employees. Another, on the Gulf of Alaska, designed, built, and operates the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, along with one of the world's largest spill preparedness and response organizations.

While Canada has not created similar native corporations, I believe the proposed Eagle Spirit Energy corridor on traditional first nations territory mirrors this partnership approach, with indigenous peoples very much in the driver's seat. It is paradoxical that this tanker legislation puts an end to a first nations project, which they see as an important move towards reconciliation.

I thank you for your attention, and I'm pleased to respond to any questions.

Suicide PreventionStatements By Members

October 23rd, 2017 / 2:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, this morning I received word of yet another first responder who took their own life. This is the sixth first-responder suicide in a month. Every day I receive messages from people across Canada who desperately want Bill C-211 passed.

In 129 days, eight paramedics, six firefighters, eight police officers, three correctional officers, and four military officers, a total of 29 first responders' lives were lost unnecessarily. These serving men and women have lost their lives in the time since Bill C-211 was passed by the House this past June. They were someone's father, mother, sister, brother, son, and daughter. They all wanted to make their community and country a better place. They served your family, Mr. Speaker, and mine.

It has been 129 days since we stood together and sent the message that we were fighting for those who fight for us. To our colleagues in the Senate and those in the House who have influence, I urge them to put aside partisan politics and let us get to work passing C-211. Lives are depending on it.

September 28th, 2017 / 4:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

I hear you loud and clear, sir. Thank you for your testimony.

I'd like to go to the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs.

Chief, I really appreciate your frankness with us here. My colleague Todd Doherty has a bill, Bill C-211, which would help to create a national framework for post-traumatic stress disorder. Are you supportive of that effort?

Federal Framework on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder ActPrivate Members' Business

June 16th, 2017 / 1:55 p.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today in the House to lend my support to Bill C-211.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a difficult challenge for many Canadians and their loved ones. We need to do more to help Canadians from all walks of life living with this condition.

I want to thank my colleague from Cariboo—Prince George for bringing this very important bill forward. I want to thank people from home, the Port Alberni Fire Department, who are watching this live. They have been advocating for a long time for us to deal with PTSD. I also want to thank all the first responders and nations in my community who contributed to help advise me and those who are in the chamber who have been affected by PTSD.

At present, we lack the resources to even begin addressing these challenges. PTSD touches all Canadians in one way or another and we need a national approach to solve it.

Nearly one in 10 Canadians experience post-traumatic stress at some point in their lives. Bill C-211 is a strong step toward helping these Canadians. It sheds much needed light on a disorder too often kept in the darkness. Many people struggle with the stigma attached with mental illness. Particularly, it is difficult to articulate how the effects of trauma continue to manifest in a variety of symptoms. Canadians do not lack in compassion, but we are failing to provide the resources that people need to deal with mental illness.

As I mentioned, the bill is a very strong step, but I am concerned with some of the limits in its scope. It calls for a conference within the next 12 months between the ministries of health, veterans affairs, and National Defence, provincial groups, and health care providers to determine a framework to begin addressing PTSD. I am very happy to see that. These measures include: establish a program to monitor and track rates of PTSD and its social and economic costs at the national level; establish best practices guidelines for health care providers to diagnose and treat PTSD; and create an awareness program to help spread the word across the country around the issues and challenges that people with PTSD face.

We know we are lagging behind our fellow OECD countries when it comes to the funding for mental health. This is inadequate. We must do better.

I am glad the bill calls for collaboration among the ministries of health, defence, and veterans affairs. How we choose to support our veterans, as my friend from Windsor West talked about, will be a key part of the legacy of both the current and previous governments. Many veterans in my riding come home with PTSD. I see them on the doorstep. They are vocalizing the lack of supports they need. Now is also the time for us to take a really hard look at ourselves and how we treat our vets. We see the impact that prolonged military engagements have had on our bravest service men and women and we are failing them.

While the Prime Minister reminds us that we have a sacred obligation to our veterans, very little has been done for those who are falling through the cracks. This is in large part due to the traumatic events they have bravely volunteered to face for our country.

The bill also calls for a better collection of data related to cases of PTSD across Canada. Canada has been described as a country of trials and pilot projects when it comes to health care. We often have innovative projects that result in great outcomes and knowledge. However, when it comes to implementation and education across the country, we fall behind. At the moment, Canada has little to no data at the national level informing our policy on PTSD.

In my riding, despite the best efforts of some truly amazing health care professionals, our health care system is in a state of crisis. The bill would help immensely to bring the level of PTSD awareness up across the country. It would help ensure that the knowledge and research of experts is shared with practitioners and a framework is adopted for everyone.

PTSD is a significant issue for first responders, police personnel, firefighters, and the countless others we ask to assist in emergency situations. According to the Tema Conter Memorial Trust, 68 first responders committed suicide in 2016. This is a tragedy and we need to have better support for these individuals. It is staggering how little consistency there is to support these professionals from province to province. We need to take the lead at the federal level to establish a national framework.

One RCMP officer put it to me like this: “We should not have to beg and jump over fences to get the help we need.” I could not agree with him more.

In the small communities in my riding, first responders often get called to fatal emergency sites of people they personally know. It is difficult for these individuals to describe the feeling of isolation and helplessness that this can create.

While these individuals are hard at work keeping our communities safe, they often struggle in their personal lives. One individual spoke about how something as everyday as a car driving by pulled him back to the scene of a particularly devastating accident. That accident was 10 years ago, but the vivid details still linger for him. This is all too often the case.

Another individual had this to say about a recent experience: “In this last couple of days, I've experienced some overwhelming emotions that I haven't experienced a lot in my previous nine and a half years on the job. On a Thursday nightshift during a response to a stabbing, during the treating of the victim before ambulance arrived, my partner was working directly in front of me. Due to the nature of injuries, we both had to be very hands on, totally focused on patient care. It was during this time that I had this feeling of wanting to keep looking over my shoulder. After the patient was packaged, my partner went with paramedics to assist. As I walked back to the blood-covered clothes and started looking at all the equipment we had used, I felt this overwhelming sense of being alone. As I gathered up our equipment and drove alone to the hospital to pick up my partner, the full weight of trauma set in.”

I want to thank these brave individuals who took the time to share their stories with me. We are doing this for them, and for the countless others who keep our communities safe. It is vital that this bill includes the Department of Public Safety in its framework.

We also need to have a meaningful look at how we handle mental health for indigenous peoples. I wish that this bill did more to address these challenges, but ultimately it falls to the government to do more. Many first nations people are living with trauma and damage from the lingering horrors and effects of the residential school system. They are living with PTSD. Unfortunately, suicide and illness are a common part of life in my community, and in communities across this country. The legacy of residential schools cannot be downplayed.

This is a key opportunity for us to address their suffering, which is too often ignored by Ottawa. I know that many of the communities in my own riding have established, but heavily underfunded programs that rely on counselling, traditional healing, and other services to help their members.

I urge the House to consider those people and their programs as they confront PTSD. I want to conclude my remarks by reminding my colleagues in the House that partisanship must not stop us from addressing the challenge of post-traumatic stress disorder. It touches homes and communities across the country. New Democrats and I are proud to support those in this House and others who are taking actions to deal with this tragic disorder. We sincerely hope that we can get both education and treatment for those who need it.

Federal Framework on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder ActPrivate Members' Business

June 16th, 2017 / 1:45 p.m.
See context

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise and speak to Bill C-211, an act respecting a federal framework on post-traumatic stress disorder.

I would like to thank the member for Cariboo—Prince George for putting this legislation forward. His approach in getting the bill through the House is very professional. It is important to recognize that members of Parliament can work together, and this legislation is a good example of that co-operation.

There are a couple of points that I want to note with regard to the bill, but first I want to tell the House one of the reasons I have such an interest in the bill.

Some of the people in Windsor West who might be watching us today are from Branch 143 of the Royal Canadian Legion. It was during my time as a member of Parliament that I learned about the seriousness of what is taking place and the commitment that our men and women in the military make, both overseas and in Canada.

About 10 years ago, I had one of the most interesting and life-changing moments of my life. I was invited to participate in a discussion group at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 143. Also present were a number of individuals who were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. That intimate exposure was certainly important. These were not just soldiers who fought in Afghanistan. They were World War II veterans, Korean veterans, peacekeepers, and others who were all still struggling with the ordinary things in daily life. That experience helped to elevate my understanding of PTSD.

I was a social worker before I came to this place. I dealt with people who came to Canada as refugees. The trauma that they experienced in their countries is quite different from what people go through here in Canada. My job was to help them integrate into Canadian society, whether it was school or work or whatever. How can we take a young man who has lost his family and his house and then integrate him into our Canadian society? He himself might have volunteered in a hospital or another traumatic place while never receiving any type of support.

This legislation is important because it would help to bridge a gap. PTSD does not just affect military personnel. It affects first responders and other citizens in all of society. We need to understand that mental health and illness issues are a life-long journey for all of us. People should not be ashamed of these issues and should not be afraid to talk about them. More importantly, work needs to be done to provide the support that people need.

Windsor West lacks many services for children who need, for example, psychologists. This is a critical problem. We do not invest in mental health in the way we should, as we do in our other health areas. Not being able to deal with these kinds of issues on a regular basis affects all of us.

If, despite the overlap of jurisdictions, we can deal with this issue as a nation from coast to coast to coast, with all of the provinces and territories and all the municipalities, it will make Canada truly special and an example for others to follow. More importantly, we can achieve effective results.

It is important to outline a few things in the legislation that people may not understand. The bill talks about bringing together the appropriate ministers in a reporting process. I will not go into all of the details, but the bill proposes putting a system in place that could deal with PTSD. The bill is not talking only about consultation. A lot of people, especially our good men and women in service, have been consulted many times, and they need action.

I will be supporting the bill in its current state because although it includes the consultation process, it also talks about expectations, measurements, and deliverables. That will put the government of the day and members of Parliament of the day on notice that this is a serious issue that affects all Canadians. At the end of the day, we expect to see results, and the results mean helping people deal with the many different personal issues related to PTSD.

Those issues affect us so profoundly. The symptoms include everything from re-experiencing traumatic events over and over or reliving them, to recurring nightmares, disturbing memories of the event, acting or feeling as if the event is happening again, avoiding friends and family, drug addiction, being unable to feel pleasure, constant anxiety, difficulty concentrating, getting angry easily, sleeping difficulties, fearing harm from others, experiencing sudden attacks of dizziness, a fast heartbeat or shortness of breath, and fear of dying. All of these things, when left in a vacuum, are not helpful, not only to the individual but to society.

I would argue, not on the principle of doing this for mere ethics or because it is the right thing to do, but I would argue that it is a bond and social contract that should be expected in return by individuals who occupy professions that put them at risk in service to their communities and society.

We have decided to provide the supports necessary to allow the people in those occupations to not only have what they have today but in the future. That is a social contract for firefighters, police officers, soldiers, nurses, and paramedics. For all of the different occupations, there is a social contract that does not end when that occupation concludes. We are asking people to perform duties that put them at risk and affect their families as part of their jobs. The social contract we have is to provide the proper supports so they can continue to be productive and, most importantly, have good mental health.

We have an opportunity in the House to make a difference with the bill. The member for Cariboo—Prince George has provided the opportunity for all of us, in a non-partisan way, to end this session on a high note. New Democrats are very proud to be part of it. There are so many people who contribute so much. We have invested in training professionals, in their occupations, in being parents, and in being community leaders. If we do not take care of them, we are not taking care of ourselves.

One reason I like community activism is the ability to act. At the end of the day, the ability to act defines us differently as Canadians. When I look at all the campaigns to stop the shame of mental illness, many of them involve the corporate sector, the non-for-profit sector, and, where I come from, the professional sector. Some of the moments for our Afghanistan veterans have put things in a different light and we now have an opportunity to go forward.

I do not want to name people, but I will name one person, because it is an important chapter that will never get told. A gentleman in the Windsor area named Wayne Hillman was among a number of Canadians who served in Vietnam. He told me that our Afghanistan veterans are coming home with some of the same issues that he and his comrades had. They had no supports when they came home, even though they served in the American military. They finally got some psychological counselling and services, which helped them in their lives. The same thing has been happening here, so we need to apply those resources.

With this bill, let us apply even more resources. Let us make sure it not just captured in one occupation or profession. Let us make sure it is part of the normal Canadian practice and culture that mental illness and wellness is part of living healthy in a healthy society.

Federal Framework on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder ActPrivate Members' Business

June 16th, 2017 / 1:35 p.m.
See context

Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne Québec

Liberal

Sherry Romanado LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to private member's bill, Bill C-211, an act respecting a federal framework on post-traumatic stress disorder.

Bill C-211 was introduced by the member for Cariboo—Prince George and calls on the Minister of Health to spearhead a concerted effort aimed at developing a federal framework to address a complex issue.

I would like to thank the member for Cariboo—Prince George for bringing this to the House. I would like to take a moment to talk about the important issue of post-traumatic stress disorder, otherwise known as PTSD in Canada.

As the daughter and spouse of firefighters, and the mother of two serving Canadian Armed Forces members, the issue of PTSD is a personal one for me. We have come a long way in our collective understanding of PTSD since it was first added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by the American Psychiatric Association in 1980.

This addition was a significant turning point, because it formally acknowledged PTSD as an acquired mental health condition rather than a personal shortcoming. During the last decade, neuroimaging studies have reaffirmed that PTSD is real and measurable. Researchers can now observe the brain circuits that mediate this disorder.

Unfortunately, sensational media coverage has helped perpetuate the stereotype that people with PTSD are psychotic and violent, which is an inaccurate portrayal of this mental illness.

A traumatic event involves exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence. It may be a one-time incident or involve sustained or repeated exposure.

Exposure can involve experiencing the traumatic event first-hand or witnessing or hearing about a traumatic event that happened to others.

The traumatic event or events completely wipe out the individual's capacity to deal with or process the thoughts and emotions related to the incident.

Events that may be associated with PTSD include combat exposure, childhood abuse, sexual assault, and physical violence. Many other traumatic events can be associated with PTSD, such as natural disasters, intimate partner violence, and other extreme or life-threatening events. PTSD can develop immediately after someone experiences a disturbing event, or it can develop weeks, months, or even years later.

According to a 2008 study, about 9% of people in Canada will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. This is consistent with the worldwide prevalence, which ranges between 7% and 12%. Studies show that females are twice as likely to develop PTSD compared to males, but males are less likely than females to seek help. Children and adolescents also experience this disorder, and genetics may make some people more likely to develop it than others.

We also know that certain populations are at increased risk for PTSD because their jobs expose them to extreme and traumatic events that may be recurring. While many associate PTSD with military service, it can manifest in first responders, firefighters, corrections officers, emergency room personnel, victims of crime, and members of the RCMP.

The few studies that have been conducted indicate that between 10% and 35% of first responders will develop PTSD, and the lifetime prevalence of this disorder among active members of the Canadian Armed Forces is 11%. Unfortunately, there is not enough quality data to provide a clear and complete picture of the prevalence, and social and economic impacts of PTSD in Canada.

Collecting quality data on the prevalence and impact of PTSD in Canada is only part of the solution. Another important aspect is raising public awareness about this mental illness.

Although Canadians have become much more aware of this problem in recent years, there are still gaps in their knowledge and understanding of PTSD symptoms and treatment.

As with many other mental illnesses, a big problem is that, unfortunately, the stigma associated with PTSD prevents many people from getting help and prevents others from recognizing the symptoms associated with this mental illness.

Developing PTSD is not a sign of weakness. Many factors play a part in whether a person will experience PTSD, and it will manifest itself differently for different people. Risk factors make a person more likely to develop PTSD, while protective factors can help build resilience and reduce the risk of developing this disorder.

Risk factors include having prior trauma, having been abused as a child, having pre-existing mental health issues, and having a family history of mental illness. Other socio-economic risk factors include lower levels of income and education, and being from an ethnic minority. Following a traumatic event, people who lack social supports are also at a higher risk.

Protective factors include seeking and receiving support from friends and family, finding a support group, and having positive coping strategies. Researchers study the importance and interplay of risk and protective factors. Their findings continue to inform our understanding of PTSD, including the development of effective preventive and treatment approaches.

While symptoms vary from one individual to the next, those affected by PTSD often relive a traumatic event they experienced either through flashbacks and nightmares or by being exposed to situations that trigger memories of the traumatic experience. Some symptoms include negative thoughts, feelings of isolation or distress, and lack of reaction or fear.

People with PTSD might also have sleep disorders, anxiety, and depressive behaviour, or feel paralyzed at the thought of doing the simplest task.

It is also common for individuals with PTSD to self-medicate by using drugs or alcohol.

With such a range of symptoms, it is not surprising that this disorder can also reduce a person's ability to function in relationships, at work, and in leisure activities.

Without proper treatment, the symptoms of PTSD can get worse and have lasting and devastating effects including substance abuse, chronic pain, hypertension, self-mutilation, and suicide.

Growing evidence shows that early treatment of trauma symptoms may reduce the risk of developing PTSD. This suggests that identification and early intervention using evidence-based treatments is critical to preventing this disorder. PTSD affects people differently, so a treatment that works for one person may not work for another. Some people with this disorder need to try different treatments to find what works for them. Recovery is more complicated for people who have endured repeated trauma, and for those who were traumatized early in life.

The idea is to develop more personalized, effective, and efficient treatments, and possibly even to prevent the disorder from ever manifesting.

Diverse areas of research continue to provide pieces of the puzzle bringing us closer to understanding the whole picture of PTSD. I am inspired by the work done on PTSD, not only by federal departments but also by provinces, territories, and advocacy groups across this country.

We need to come together to break the stigma and to allow those suffering, and the families who suffer along with them, to get the help they need. Today, we come together, we put partisanship aside, and we support our everyday heroes.

I very much appreciate the opportunity to speak about this important issue in the House of Commons.

Federal Framework on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder ActPrivate Members' Business

June 16th, 2017 / 1:15 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

moved that the be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, I proudly rise today to speak to my private member's bill, C-211, an act respecting a federal framework on post-traumatic stress disorder.

On a personal note, I would like to express my gratitude to all those who have helped us on our journey to get to today.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank the paramedics, firefighters, military, veterans, police officers, correctional officers, dispatch, and nurses. I thank those who came forward to provide feedback about how we could go about strengthening this legislation in the future, if it is the desire and the will of the House and the Senate to enact the bill into law. I want to thank the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, the jurors, and Mr. Mark Farrant for the honest and heartfelt feedback.

I want to acknowledge the families of the fallen, those left behind to pick up the pieces. I want to thank them for sharing their stories of their loved ones. I want to thank them for showing incredible strength through their immeasurable and unspeakable pain they are going through. I know it has not been an easy journey for anyone, and their willingness to share their stories has been truly inspiring.

I also want to apologize to everyone that it has taken this long to get to this point. It has been 606 days since we were elected. It has been 600 days since I first landed in Ottawa with the background for Bill C-211. It has been 462 days since we tabled Bill C-211. It has been 100 days since we all stood together in the House and passed it unanimously at second reading.

Over this journey, I have tried to bring the voices of those who are suffering forward. I have tried to relay their incredible stories, with the same honest emotion they have shared with me.

I said this before and I will say again, we have received so many emails, so many calls, and so many messages, many of them full of heartbreak and tragedy. With the indulgence of members, I will take this opportunity to read a small excerpt of an email I received a little over a year ago after we first tabled Bill C-211. It is from the wife of one of our fallen, and it reads:

“Thank you.”

“As I write this, I'm trying hard to hold back the tears. The truth is I'm unsure how I even have tears left. I've cried every day since his death and it's been over a year. I can only manage a day at a time, and even that at times is too much. I don't know what tomorrow will bring. I guess no one really does. We were only married three years and he was my one true love. He would have been 30 this year. Our son will never know his father. He will never know the incredible man he was. My husband only wanted to serve and to save. Sadly, no one could save him. It's odd how everyone gathers around you at first, then life goes on. I don't get the invites anymore. It's like other wives don't want to be reminded of this, of how this could have been them.”

“Mr. Doherty, your bill is too late for my family, but I hope you will be successful. My pain endures and I'm not sure there is a fix. I will tell my son that his dad was a hero and saved lives. I believe if my husband knew of you and your efforts, it just might have given him enough hope that he would have reached out, that he would have hung on. Please keep fighting for this. For us it is too late, but you and your colleagues will save the lives of others.”

The letter ended with a big “thank you”.

This is one of hundreds, maybe even thousands of emails, messages, comments on social media and from private meetings that we have received since tabling our bill. It is truly overwhelming the stories we have heard from those who are struggling today, those who are receiving help, and those who are left behind to somehow pick up the pieces.

I challenge us all to come up with solutions so we do not lose another life to PTSD.

My team has also heard horrific stories of pain and suffering. In some cases, for those we met with along the way, today was too far away, and the pain was too great. Last week alone, we saw four responders from across Canada commit suicide. Within the last 48 hours, we have had a firefighter from Ottawa and a paramedic from Pickering commit suicide.

One of the questions I was asked when I was appearing at the health committee was whether there was one story that really stands out. The truth is that there are many. It is hard not to get emotional when talking about this, because it is an incredibly heavy burden. Collectively in this House, we have created so much hope.

I will take a moment to try to explain some of this to our hon. members who are in the House right now. From a young age, there are people we have been told to respect and to hold in the highest regard. We hear the stories of their heroics. Books are written. Movies are written and made about these larger-than-life individuals, these superheros. They truly embody all that is Canadian. They are altruistic individuals who want nothing more than to go out and go to work so they can help others, so they can save others, and so they can make their communities and our country safe.

This is something we heard very powerfully from Natalie Harris, a former advanced-care paramedic in the county of Simcoe in Ontario. When she appeared before the health committee on May 16, she told committee members that she went to school in 2001 to become a paramedic. She said, “I learned something new every day, was financially stable, and made such a difference in people's lives. I was in my glory, but no matter how much I loved it, each year became a bit tougher for me to cope with, and I didn't know why.” She would tell herself, “I've fought too hard. I've conquered so many difficult circumstances in my life.” She did not want to lose this career. She reassured herself, “I'm sure I'll be okay.”

Natalie continued by saying:

It's not normal to have a person ask you to just take their leg and arm off because they were experiencing so much pain from being trapped in a car with multiple open fractures all over their body. It's not normal to learn that the patient who hanged himself the night before had a second noose waiting for his wife, had his son not called 911 at the right time. It's not normal to witness a young woman, seven months pregnant, rub her belly with the only limb that could move as she had a stroke that would leave her disabled. It's not normal to see the cellphone on the road beside the obviously dead driver, crushed between the pavement and the car, who was texting and driving, and it's not normal to know he made the three sisters in the other car now two. It's not normal to experience and see the look of true evil when you learn how two innocent women were murdered.... It's not normal to see someone die before your eyes more times than you can actually count.

I would like to take this moment to thank Natalie once again for coming forward. Nothing prepares a person for these experiences. As politicians, we often do our best to translate our concerns and the concerns of our constituents into speeches and talking points, but I can truly say that in all my life, there are few people who have been able to make such an impactful statement. I know the members of the health committee who are here today felt the same way.

Our warriors make the ultimate sacrifice. They make the sacrifice by taking time away from their loved ones, their family, and their friends. They put their uniforms on every day knowing full well that they may never have an opportunity to say goodbye. They are those who run toward danger when we and others would run the other way. They experience human tragedy every day, yet they still, without exception, without hesitation, answer the call of duty. They face the sights, sounds, and smells that will stay with them for a lifetime.

Freedom is not free. There is a very real cost. Knowing what these individuals go through, I would like to share with members the flip side for a moment.

All of a sudden, these roles are reversed. Those people are now looking toward this House. They are looking to all of us, as members of Parliament and legislators. They are asking for help.

The hardest part in all this is having those people, who I know our hon. colleagues also look to as heroes, coming forward, through emails, calls, and messages, saying, “Thank you for bringing this legislation forward.”

It is such an honour to be a member of Parliament. It is truly a humbling experience. There are a few experiences I have had over the course of the last two years that have really hit home. I would like to tell members about a couple.

Shortly after being elected, stepping out of my car in a parking lot back home in Cariboo—Prince George, someone came up to me and asked if I was a member of Parliament. I said I was, and the person said, “We just want to let you know that our family loves you, and we pray for you every night. Thank you for your service.”

Another point was having someone come to us, with tears in his eyes, a police officer, thanking us, saying that we have saved his life because of the work we have done on this bill. It has allowed him to come forward to his family and to his friends, seeking help.

The other was at second reading, when a giant of a man, a former firefighter who himself has been fighting post-traumatic stress disorder, came to me and said, “Thank you. For the first time, I have hope.” Then he introduced me to his young son and said, “This is what a true Canadian hero looks like.” Words cannot express how humbling that was.

Is there not something to be said about that, that our heroes, our warriors, have been left to deal with the horrors of post-traumatic stress disorder alone and in silence? Even though they are hurting, they continue to remain just a call away when we need them. To me, that is simply shameful. It breaks my heart.

We have been blessed that so many people have followed us along this journey, some of whom were here March 8 when 284 members of Parliament rose together to send Bill C-211 to committee, and they have seen the good work we have done to this point. However, the work does not stop here.

Bill C-211 was developed to look at the overwhelming issue and the epidemic we have with respect to our first responders, our veterans, and our military. We are losing our warriors left and right. The challenge is this, a challenge that many groups we have met with over the last 18 months acknowledge. Today, as it stands, we do not have a piece of legislation that deals with PTSD. We have inconsistencies across our country, even in terminology, in diagnoses, and in treatment. We have some groups doing great work. We have others who hang a shingle and claim that they are experts. The reality is that they are causing more harm than good. We have inconsistencies across our nation in who or what is covered. An RCMP member serving in one part of our country may not be eligible for the same services their colleagues are in other provinces.

One academic brought forth the rule of thirds. He said 30% of those who are suffering with PTSD will recover 100%; 30% will have an okay life; and 30% we will lose altogether. That was one of my first committee meetings, and I took exception to this. Post-traumatic stress disorder is not something that can be cured 100%. It is a traumatic brain injury, and anything can trigger a setback.

I want to leave my hon. colleagues with this. If they had the power to save a live today, would they do so? If they knew their actions today could save lives, would they be brave enough to follow through? I ask because we have been given that opportunity today, as we speak. We can help ensure that another life is not lost and that the four lives last week, the two within the last 48 hours, and the hundreds lost since I first tabled Bill C-211 were not lost in vain.

As I read earlier from the wife of the fallen officer, the one line that sticks out is, “I don't know what tomorrow will bring.... I guess no one really does.”

For those who have been following our journey, those who are in the room with us today and those who are watching across our nation and internationally, tomorrow is just another excuse or delay, and sometimes tomorrow is too far away. I ask of you, let us not wait for tomorrow when we can truly make a difference today.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-211, An Act respecting a federal framework on post-traumatic stress disorder, as reported (with amendment) from the committee.

Post-traumatic Stress DisorderStatements By Members

June 9th, 2017 / 11:10 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, the average rate of suicide within the general public is 11.5 per 100,000 people. The rate of suicide within the first responder community is 56 per 100,000 people.

Today Peel Region paramedics are saying goodbye to one of their own. He was a husband, a father, a friend, and a brother. This past week families, friends, and colleagues said goodbye to first responders from North Battleford, Saskatchewan, from North Vancouver, and from northern British Columbia. Four lives were cut short because of post-traumatic stress disorder.

My bill, Bill C-211, comes too late for these families. I hope next week, when Bill C-211 enters the House for third reading, that it passes unanimously, because collectively we will send a message that these deaths were not in vain, that we stand together in the fight against PTSD, and that those who are suffering are not alone.

To my colleagues, we must be better; we must do better. To the families, friends, and colleagues of the fallen, my heart goes out to them, and I am truly sorry for their loss.

PTSD Awareness MonthStatements By Members

June 5th, 2017 / 2:10 p.m.
See context

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, June is post-traumatic stress disorder month and is dedicated to raising awareness of those it affects. This month is also meant to teach all of us how we can help those who suffer from PTSD.

As a former firefighter, I am very proud to have supported the work done by the member from Cariboo—Prince George on Bill C-211, an act respecting a federal framework on post-traumatic stress disorder.

PTSD does not discriminate. It can affect anyone at any age at any time at any stage of their lives. It affects those in combat situations, veterans, first responders, and other occupations, like doctors and nurses.

I would also like to recognize the work of Natalie Harris, a Barrie resident who, as a paramedic, suffers from PTSD, but it does not prevent her from selflessly helping others with PTSD. Natalie was in Ottawa last month testifying at the health committee. She is an inspiration to me and to so many others.

Let us all work together to raise awareness and help those suffering from PTSD.

HealthCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

May 30th, 2017 / 10:05 a.m.
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Liberal

Bill Casey Liberal Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure and honour to present, in both official languages, the 10th report of the Standing Committee on Health in relation to Bill C-211, an act respecting a federal framework on post-traumatic stress disorder. After some incredible testimony and impressive witnesses with emotional stories to tell, the committee has studied the bill and decided to report the bill back to the House with amendment.

May 18th, 2017 / 11:05 a.m.
See context

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Bill Casey

We will call our meeting number 56 to order. Imagine: meeting number 56.

Today we are doing clause-by-clause of Bill C-211, and then we have a bit of committee business to do after that. We will go right to Bill C-211.

Is everybody ready?

Pursuant to Standing Order 75(1), consideration of clause 1, the short title, and the preamble is postponed until the end, so I am calling clause 2.

(On clause 2)

Does clause 2 carry? All in favour?

Mr. Davies.