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Parliament passes Charlie Angus’s motion to establish national suicide prevention action plan

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As parliamentarians voted unanimously Wednesday evening in favour of a national suicide prevention action plan, NDP MP Charlie Angus, who proposed the private member’s motion, says he was reciting in his head the names of all the young people lost to suicide on northern Ontario First Nations. “It was […]


As parliamentarians voted unanimously Wednesday evening in favour of a national suicide prevention action plan, NDP MP Charlie Angus, who proposed the private member's motion, says he was reciting in his head the names of all the young people lost to suicide on northern Ontario First Nations.

"It was a very emotional moment," said Angus, who represents Timmins-James Bay.

"But, out of the darkness can come determination and hope."

M-174 establishes a "national suicide prevention action plan, including among its provisions (i) commitment to the actions and resources required to establish culturally appropriate community-based suicide prevention programs as articulated by representative organizations of the Inuit, First Nations, and Métis peoples."

As a tribute to those who have lost their lives, Angus says he carries an eagle feather given to him following his visits to Attawapiskat First Nation on the western coast of James Bay.

He says it was given to him following the state of emergency called in that community in April 2016, when 11 people attempted suicide in one day.

It was while responding to repeated crises in northern Ontario First Nations, and what he calls the government's piecemeal approach to them, that Angus became motivated to do something.

"It was particularly the deaths of young girls in Wapekeka (an Oji-Cree First Nation near the Ontario-Manitoba border), when we held that press conference in January of 2017, and the leadership of the community begged the prime minister, begged him, to sit down and say we've got to find a way forward," Angus said.

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