Mr. Speaker, I have enjoyed the debate today because it has been a very different debate for this place. It has been very emotional. A lot of personal stories have come out.
We are seeing consensus building not only in the country, where I think there has been consensus for quite some time, but also in the House of Commons among all parties that this issue needs to be dealt with. I hope that a committee will be struck as a result of this Reform motion which will bring forward strong legislation to deal with this huge problem.
The hon. member outlined the social costs, both financial and personal, of these tragedies to the country.
I would like to relate a story to the House. The first tragedy that I remember was as a very young boy. I might have been about five years old. We had to go back to my Dad's hometown of Minnedosa for a funeral. Actually there were two funerals.
Two of my cousins had graduated from the high school in Minnedosa and were heading to Brandon for the evening. Minnedosa is not a big place so they got together with the high school in Brandon for their celebration. There were five people in the car. The road is as straight as an arrow from Minnedosa to Brandon but unfortunately a drunk driver swerved over and hit their car head on. Two of my cousins were killed as well as others in the car. In the small town of Minnedosa it was a real tragedy.
As is so often the case, the drunk driver walked away from the car. Five kids were killed, but the drunk driver for some reason was not killed. I do not know if it is because these drivers are so drunk or what, but very often they are the only ones who walk away from the scene.
The community was in shock. My aunt, uncle and the extended family were in shock. I always wondered if my aunt, who recently passed away, ever recovered.
I can still remember it. I was five years old. I can remember all the draped coffins at the front of the church. There was such profound sadness. I was very young so I did not really understand it all, except I knew that everyone I knew and cared about was shaken to the core.
That was one of the instances in my life that somewhere along the line I decided as an adult that I would abstain from alcohol. I realize it is a personal choice and I do not say it has to be the choice of a lot of people. Part of it was I wanted to send a message to those people I cared about. The deaths, the broken homes and the social cost of irresponsible drinking especially is just not something I want to participate in. I made the decision a long time ago. I drank an awful lot of Coca-Colas while others around me were doing otherwise, but it has never hurt me. It was triggered really at five years of age when that first tragedy in my life happened.
Perhaps if there is a minute left the hon. member may want to tell it again, because I think these personal stories are a powerful testimony of why change is required. Perhaps he would like to relate other stories from his life as a physician where he has had to deal with this horrible social crime.