Mr. Speaker, suicide remains a taboo subject, despite the size of the problem. Every year in Quebec, close to 1,500 lives are lost, the equivalent of a Titanic disaster. There are also close to 29,000 suicide attempts.
On the occasion of national suicide prevention week, I would like to acknowledge the efforts of thousands of paid and volunteer workers throughout Quebec, but particularly those of Richard Lavoie. He is the man behind a consciousness-raising walk, the “Marche Québec-Amérique”.
During the summer of 2003, Mr. Lavoie covered more than 1,000 km raising public awareness of suicide among young people. He attracted audiences by stopping in a number of towns where he organized percussion performances. I had the pleasure of welcoming him to Saint-Hyacinthe and taking part in one of these performances.
He has also written a book, entitled La prévention du suicide est malade , in which he tells the story of his three months of travel and shares his feelings on this issue and on the shortcomings in the way it has been handled in the past 10 years.
To Richard Lavoie, his partner Manon, and daughters Allison and Stéphanie, as well as all the volunteers who made these public awareness efforts possible, my thanks and congratulations.