A bill by the MP for Cariboo–Prince George calling for a federal framework on post-traumatic stress disorder passed third reading Thursday in the Senate
Todd Doherty called it a bittersweet, emotional day that marks the culmination of years of hard work.
“I don’t even know how many messages I’ve received so far that have basically said that you have saved people’s lives,” he says.
“I’ve heard messages today and in an office meeting with a firefighter and an officer who basically said that the only reason why they’re sitting here is because C-211 gave them hope so at that point we didn’t know whether it was going to get passed or not and they were clinging to hope.”
“That’s the important thing with mental health injuries is that we never want anybody to lose that hope, lose that fight because then they choose death. Bill C-211 at the very least has created a national discussion about mental health and mental injuries, and it appears to have given hope for people to get to that next day and keep putting our feet forward.”
Now that Bill C-211 has passed Doherty explains it needs royal assent following which the real hard work will begin.
“What will likely happen is that government will then look at all the bills that they’ve moved to this point before summer break and then the Governor-General will review and we’ll receive royal assent,” he says.
“We were told right afterward that it could even happen tonight, but I don’t with everything that’s going on it could happen very quickly.”
Bill C-211 will require the Minister of Health to convene a conference with the Minister of National Defence, the Minister of Veterans Affairs, provincial and territorial government representatives, representatives of the medical community and patients’ groups for the purpose of developing a comprehensive federal framework to address the challenges of recognizing the symptoms and providing timely diagnosis and treatment of PTSD.
“I’m not satisfied with just passing it. We need to make sure that we are an active participant in the building of the framework,” says Doherty.
“The government now has a time frame from the day the Bill has passed and receives royal assent that there are 18 months to tell Canadians and parliamentarians about the framework they have to build, the meetings they have had, and as they move forward.”
“That was a fundamental key within my bill was that there were measurable timeframes and reporting whether it is this government or the next government that they have to report back any successes or challenges, but also if they are going to repeal or scrap it they have to come before Parliament and Canadians and explain why they are going that.”