Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise at the end of this debate to acknowledge and thank the many members on both sides of the House who have risen in support of Bill C-224, the good Samaritan drug overdose act, many of whom have shared with us their personal, powerful stories about why the bill is so important. This support has resonated not only on a multi-partisan basis throughout the House but throughout Canada as well, from coast to coast to coast.
We have, for instance, received strong expressions of support from the ministers of health in several provinces. In B.C., there is support from the B.C. chief coroner and the B.C. public health officer, as many have noted already, who has just recently declared a public health emergency due to the surge in overdose deaths, a dramatic increase that has in fact echoed across the whole country.
In my own tri-cities community as well, a great many of our local public officials have stepped up, from the mayors of each of the tri-cities to school board trustees and a large number of city councillors. Indeed, Port Coquitlam city council passed a unanimous resolution of support.
We have heard from police, firefighters, and paramedics as well, for first responders know that they can only save lives if they actually get the call. We have heard from religious leaders and ordinary citizens, as well as, throughout the country, families of victims who might have lived if only someone had picked up the phone and made that call a little earlier. By providing limited immunity from simple possession charges, we would remove a significant barrier to making that call. This means more lives will be saved and more people will live to have a chance to make better choices.
In my opening speech, I spoke of Austin Padaric and Kelly Best, two young men who tragically died too young and who might have lived if someone had made that call earlier. Austin and Kelly are just two of the all too many unfortunate victims throughout this land who on a daily basis needlessly die because someone was afraid to call for help. Austin and Kelly, let these names stand now on behalf of all those victims through all the years, but better yet, let them stand as well for all of those we might yet save in the years to come by passing this bill.
The bill will not end the scourge of drug overdoses and we will not end the intolerable toll of death, but surely, we can stem the rising tide. We will not slay this dragon in this one fell blow, but we can bring it to its knees.