Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre released the names of his new Shadow Cabinet today and Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty was named Shadow Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.
Doherty says it is near and dear to his heart.
“As you know, it’s something I am very passionate about and have really dedicated my last 7 years of being elected to doing whatever we can to leave a legacy of action when it comes to mental health and suicide prevention. I am also incredibly proud that our new leader has made it a priority for our caucus and for the direction that he is taking our party. He sees it as a major priority for us as we move forward as the government in waiting.”
Doherty says a lot has been done, but there is a lot more work to do.
“As much as we’ve done quite a bit with 988 (new three-digit suicide hotline number) and bringing C-211 to Canada as well making Canada the first country in the world to adopt a federal framework to combat PTSD, we continue to see Canadians suffer, we continue to see that stigma of mental health. We continue to lose Canadians at an alarming rate to suicide, so we need to do whatever we can to try to make sure that we’re viewing mental health in parity with physical health, and that we’re working alongside the grassroots organizations, the national organizations, and our provincial counterparts to make sure that we are managing to recovery.”
Doherty says he thinks, whether it’s a mental health issue or an addictions issue, recovery is always possible so we need to make sure that we’re building that capacity so that resources are available in communities.
He also likes the idea of a wellness budget.
“I believe it was in 2018 New Zealand put out what it called their wellness budget, and it really is the first time that I’ve seen a national government really take a view of all aspects of the government policies and government operations through a mental health lens. And their view was this, is that a healthy population both mentally and physically is good for all aspects of their economy and their national well being.”
Doherty says he would like Canada to adopt a similar idea moving forward.