question period — Health

Suicide Prevention

December 16, 2020


Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition)
[14:53]

Honourable senators, my question for the government leader in the Senate concerns a motion which passed in the other place unanimously last week. It was brought forward by B.C. Member of Parliament Todd Doherty and calls on the government to establish a national suicide prevention hotline which consolidates all suicide crisis numbers into three digits: 988.

Leader, I know that the Minister of Health has said she likes this idea. However, as Senator Frum reminded us last week, the current government supported a motion in 2018 to immediately designate the IRGC as a terrorist entity in Canada and that has yet to take place. It’s clear that we will need to keep pressing the government to make 988 a reality as well.

Senator Gold, when does your government expect to come forward with a plan and timetable for the implementation of a 988 national suicide hotline?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate)
[14:54]

Thank you for your question. I don’t know when the plan will be coming forward, but I will inquire and certainly report back.

The importance of providing resources to those who find themselves tragically contemplating suicide, or those who fear that loved ones are, could not be more important. Thank you for raising this.

[14:55]

Thank you. This question is so important while we are talking about MAID. We want to prevent the kinds of suicides that we are all very much concerned about.

The work to establish a 988 hotline will require close collaboration with our provinces and territories. Do you know whether the Government of Canada has engaged with provinces and territories in this regard?

Senator Gold
[14:55]

I don’t know whether they have, but I can assure you that when they move forward with this initiative, if that is in fact what the government does — I will inquire — they will collaborate with the provinces and territories, as you’d expect them to and as they must.