Letters to the Editor

Improvements to suicide prevention bill defeated

Suicide is the number one cause of death in males between ages 25 and 29 and 40 and 44. It is the leading cause of death for women aged 30 to 34. Inuit and First Nation suicide rates are over seven times the national average and the increasing number of suicides among veterans is tragic.

For these reasons the Liberal Party, in October 2011, put a motion before Parliament for a National Suicide Prevention Strategy, near unanimously supported in the House of Commons.

We were therefore supportive of Conservative MP Harold Albrecht's Private Member's Bill C-300, which sets out a framework for a Federal Suicide Prevention Strategy.

According to Parliamentary rules, all bills are sent to the appropriate all-Party Committee to be considered. Expert and concerned witnesses are called to advise on the bill. Witnesses supported the intent of Bill C-300 but offered substantive amendments, where the bill fell short, to enhance its effectiveness.

As they have done consistently, the Conservative MPs, including Mark Strahl, voted against every single amendment, ignoring the expert advice of witnesses and nullifying their valuable input.

The real tragedy is that a long awaited bill, which raised the hopes of millions of Canadians, will not be able to fulfill its promise, because it has been denied the supportive mechanisms to do so.

Hon. Dr. Hedy Fry, P.C., M.P.

Vancouver Centre

Federal Liberal Health Critic

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