Madam Speaker, some people say we need more boots on the streets in order to deal with violence and gang violence, but I believe that the root causes of violence are poverty, desperation, lack of education, lack of a sense of hope, mental illness and addiction.
In my community, many people can get in trouble with the law because they have an affliction like alcoholism or addiction. I am an alcoholic, a proud sober alcoholic who has been sober for 24 years. It is not a disease I would wish on anybody. Because I have lived experience and hit bottom at the age of 36, I know how hard it is to live with, for the families and loved ones as well. They say it is a family disease because it affects everybody.
Therefore, I believe that we need to put more money into addictions research and helping people on the ground. In Nova Scotia, the wait time for people to see an addictions counsellor is atrocious. Sometimes it is 365 days or 125 days.
I was glad to see that our government put money into mental health in Nova Scotia to the tune of about $138 million each year for the next five years. I am pleased about that because we need as much help as we can get.
Sadly, in Millbrook First Nation there have been a few suicides. One blossoming young man was a mixed martial artist, a firefighter and well loved, but he was suffering from depression and anxiety. He went to the hospital and was given some pills. He went home, took the pills and then hung himself. This is a really sad state of affairs. This did not have to happen.