Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
Thank you, Minister, for being here today with your team. It's a fantastic opportunity to have this chat.
Lieutenant-General, all the best in your retirement. I'm kind of jealous. It has to be a nice feeling right about now, going into summertime. Some days I want to retire.
First of all, I'll just say that it's unfortunate at times that we have to choose between the equipment we need and the individuals in our military. I'm really happy to see in these estimates that you included the $148.6 million to help victims of assault or harassment. It's important that we invest in that, so kudos for that.
What I'd like to speak about, and perhaps you could update me on, is that I know that 15 military personnel committed suicide in 2018. I have some figures from 2010, when you did a study, which was fantastic news. However, there were some incredible numbers. Female veterans were 81% more likely to commit suicide than non-veterans, and more than 155 active service members have taken their own lives since 2010.
National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada built a new suicide prevention strategy in late 2017, which I think is fantastic news. I don't have the new numbers, and that's one of my questions. The strategy included promises to improve the services and support available to our current military members and veterans in the hope of increasing awareness and reducing the number of suicides in all the populations.
You made a great comment on January 9, “We must always strive to do better.” You said, “Every time we lose a member of our Canadian Armed Forces to suicide, it is felt by us all. One suicide is too many.” I agree and I am sure everyone in this room has the same understanding.
Since that time, have there been any checks and balances? I haven't seen a report or heard anything as of yet. How are we doing now? Are we investing the right money? If we want men and women to continue to join and have a career in the armed forces, we have to make sure we have those supports.
First, could you tell me that?
I have some follow-up questions as well.