Ms. Israel asked us to comment on the issue of seniors and suicide, and I don't think we can really blame this on primary care providers. Let me finish, Ms. Israel. I think the issue of isolation among seniors is not a simple one. We need to deal with the issue of seniors without sweeping it under the carpet. You can't just wait until somebody is depressed, isolated, and despairing before you intervene. You have to look at the root causes. Why are seniors isolated and despairing? Why are seniors living in poverty? What are we doing about that?
The concept of isolated seniors.... I have so many seniors in my riding whose families don't even visit them. They live so far away. There doesn't seem to be time in our busy lives to take care of our parents and our grandparents. I think that's something we need to talk about, a societal change and how government can help to make sure seniors are not left in isolation. I think there's no one answer to this problem. There are many answers. How we pull those together is going to be an interesting issue as we talk about a strategy. A strategy is not just for Health Canada to do. It's going to have to broaden itself to all kinds of other areas—social, etc.
I wanted to go to the armed forces, because post-traumatic stress disorder is a big issue for me. I live in Vancouver, and I have so many veterans whom I meet with regularly who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and who have absolutely no resources. So the concept we have of a very low percentage of veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder for me is not a reality. There are many of them, especially young men and women coming in from the Afghan war and from a lot of the recent wars. I think there isn't any assistance.
For instance, there is a remarkable program going on at UBC right now, which I would like to see replicated because its outcomes are excellent. It's being paid for—not by the federal government or by any government at all—by the Poppy Fund, which is the money we raise from buying poppies. We cannot afford, when we send our men and women out there to fight for us.... We cannot just allow the Poppy Fund to look after them.
When you have something that works and when it is saving lives—and this is. I have seen the work done. I have seen the videos. I have seen young men break down in tears, because they come home and they're violent and they attack their families and their family system is breaking down and they don't know what's happened, because of the trauma they experienced watching their buddy being blown up right next to them. There is nothing for them when they come back.
I really would like to know what it is that the armed forces proposes to do for what I consider to be a really urgent issue. This is not only about suicide. This is about family violence. This is about an inability to fit into your society when you come back. This is about all the things we know of current post-traumatic stress disorder. We can't let our young men and women down. What is it you propose to do?