The Canadian Press – OTTAWA — The misery and neglect at the root of a suicide crisis on a remote northern First Nation has “shocked the world,” an NDP MP said Tuesday as the cascading tragedy in Attiwapiskat reverberated on the floor of the House of Commons.
No one can understand “how a country as rich as Canada can leave so many young children and young people behind,” said Charlie Angus, whose sprawling northern Ontario riding includes the deeply troubled and isolated aboriginal community.
“Will this minister commit to a total overhaul to ensure that every child in this country has the mental health supports that they need to have hope and a positive future?
Health Minister Jane Philpott said the government must — and will — respond. “It is completely unacceptable in a country as rich in resources as Canada that young people should get to the point that their life seems worthless and they would want to end it,” she said.
She pledged to ensure that mental health resources be applied to those who need them, describing the mental health of young people in particular in the troubled communities as “devastating.”
Earlier Tuesday, Commons Speaker Geoff Regan cleared the way for a rare emergency debate on the crisis, which has so overwhelmed local leaders that extra police officers have been called in from nearby communities.
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