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Results: 1 - 15 of 29
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, it truly is an honour to participate in the debate on Bill C-224. I thank the member for Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne for bringing this important legislation to the House. We may disagree on a lot of things, but I know that she is equally passionate about serving and fighting for those brave men and women who serve our communities and our country.
If members will indulge me for just a moment, I would like to recognize a friend of mine and a champion in my hometown of Williams Lake, whom we lost far too soon last week. Des Webster served in the Williams Lake fire department for over 24 years. He retired as fire chief in 2018, after leading our community through the worst fire season and the largest mass evacuation our province had experienced during the 2017 wildfires. Des had literally just become a grandfather. My condolences go out to his family and friends back at the fire hall in Williams Lake. Des will be missed.
We are losing far too many of the men and women who serve our communities, either due to moral and mental trauma they experience or from exposure to the deadly substances and related cancers that they develop through their service to our community. I want to thank the over 26,000 Canadian men and women in the IAFF for their service to their communities and to our country. I would also like to thank the IAFF 1372 back home in Prince George.
All firefighters truly are heroes. They put their uniforms on every day, knowing full well they will experience human tragedy and may have to make the ultimate sacrifice. These brave men and women run into burning buildings. Let us think about that for a moment: They run into burning buildings. When every fibre of their being is screaming at them to find safety, they run toward danger. When people try to escape the tangled wreckage of car accidents, they dive straight in to save lives. They hold our hand as we take our last breath.
I believe we must fight for those who fight for us. I have dedicated the last seven years of my elected service to ensuring that we are fighting for those who fight for us, our silent sentinels who stand. They leave their families each and every day, not knowing whether they are going to return. Sadly, their families are far too often forgotten and left to pick up the pieces.
When I see legislation like this, it makes me proud to know that we can actually make a difference in someone's life. Simply put, Bill C-224 will save lives. More than 85% of all line-of-duty deaths among firefighters in Canada are due to occupational cancers. Can members imagine getting up every day and going to work knowing that there is an 85% chance they will die of cancer? How many members of this chamber would want to come to work if they were told they had an 85% chance of contracting cancer from our work in the chamber? Awareness and education are essential to help firefighters detect the early signs so that they can get screening early and treatment as soon as possible.
The increased use of plastics and resins in modern building materials means that the work environment for firefighters becomes more toxic with each passing year. While the average Canadian has a one-in-three chance of being diagnosed with cancer, firefighters are diagnosed with several types of cancers at rates that are statistically higher than in other occupations. Firefighters are exposed to both known and suspected carcinogens during their work. Although exposure is often for short periods of time, exposure levels can be high. Studies in fire chemistry show toxic levels of hazardous substances such formaldehyde, sulphur dioxide, benzene, toluene, and ethyl benzene, among other substances, in the smoke during the knock-down and overhaul firefighting phases, in structure fires as well as vehicle fires. With exposure, these hazardous chemicals coat their protective gear as well. They seep into every fibre. Incredibly, the gear that is designed to save their lives can also contribute to the exposure to these carcinogenic substances.
Cancer-related deaths are a growing concern among the members of the industry, and anything we can do as parliamentarians to mitigate that risk is an important first step. Bill C-224 proposes national standards for firefighting cancers, including measures to explain the link between the disease and the profession. It calls on the government to identify the educational needs of health care and other professionals and to promote research and information sharing.
There are so many things that we take for granted on a daily basis, moments that slip by us unrecognized, people, places, things that impact us without our even noticing. When we get dressed, have breakfast and leave for work, it never, in a million years, occurs to us that this could be the last day we see our loved ones, the last time we hug our wives or children, the last time we tell a friend or family member that we love them.
Firefighters have to live with this realization each and every time they put on their uniform. They go to work knowing that this could be the last time they see their families. They go to work each day to protect us. They go to work to literally save our lives and to fulfill their oath to serve our communities, to protect other families and mine, regardless of the threat to their own personal safety.
I attended the funeral of a fallen firefighter last year and I was given the Firefighter's Prayer. With the indulgence of the House, I will read it into the record:
When I am called to duty, God, wherever flames may rage, Give me strength to save a life, whatever be its age. Help me to embrace a little child before it's too late Or save an older person from the horror of that fate. Enable me to be alert to hear the weakest shout, And quickly and efficiently to put the fire out. I want to fill my calling and to give the best in me, To guard my neighbor and protect his property. And if, according to your will, I have to lose my life, Bless with your protecting hand my loving family from strife.
Passing Bill C-224 and creating a national framework that will raise awareness of cancers linked to firefighting seems such a small price to pay, a small price that will have a major impact on this essential profession, a small price that will save lives. I believe it is incumbent on all of us as leaders within our country to do whatever we can to fight for those who fight for us, whether it is fighting for the mental health supports that they desperately need so they can be well and be healthy, or whether it is fighting for legislation such as Bill C-224, which would be life-changing and help those struggling beyond their career.
None of us know what the future will bring, but at the very least, we can provide those mechanisms, put those mechanisms in place to educate health care professionals and provide resources for the families and the firefighters who put their lives on the line every day. I hope that members of all parties will join me in supporting this important piece of legislation.
Once again, I thank the member for Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne for bringing it forward. She reminded me today that it was five years ago this day that she stood in the House in support of my bill, Bill C-211, making Canada the very first country in the world to develop legislation to fight PTSD for those who fight for us: our frontline heroes.
I thank all members of Parliament in this debate today and all who have come before us. I thank my good colleague from Barrie—Innisfil, who himself is a retired firefighter, as well as the member for Essex. I thank them for their service. I thank those in the gallery today.
God bless.
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, the cost of food has risen 15%, gas is over $2 a litre, and what the government has done to our seniors is shameful. Public transit is non-existent. For many people, the hospital is over a two-hour drive away.
My constituent Dave Kendall wrote and said, “I am slowly going broke, and my savings are disappearing.” He had one question for the government, so I will ask it for him. “How do they expect seniors to live?”
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, after two long years of restrictions and lockdowns, it is great to see our country finally getting back to normal. In Cariboo—Prince George, our communities, friends and families have been through a lot, but despite the adversity, our Cariboo spirit is stronger than ever.
Summer is just around the corner and we are looking forward to welcoming back visitors from across Canada and around the world to take in some amazing events. Billy Barker Days Festival is back. The Vanderhoof International Airshow is back. Cariboo—Prince George is back.
This summer is going to be amazing. We are also hosting the 32nd BC Summer Games, and this year marks the first football season for the Prince George Kodiaks. Go Kodiaks.
As members know, rodeo season is my second-favourite time of the year. After a two-year hiatus, the Quesnel Rodeo is back, and the greatest show on dirt, the Williams Lake Stampede, is back. Yee-haw.
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, the minister needs to look up from her talking points. These are people, men and women, who we have asked to serve our country, at home and abroad, and unbelievably they are being asked to go to Habitat for Humanity for accommodations. The Liberals have failed to provide our troops with equipment that they need. They have failed to protect our troops from sexual misconduct, and now they have failed to ensure our troops have places to live.
This is an absolute disgrace, and the minister needs to answer for it.
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, it is interesting to hear the government House leader ask for Conservative MPs to come and actually tell him what they are hearing from their constituents, when all the Liberals have done is shut down debate once again. The Liberals do not really want to hear how rural and remote Canadians feel about their policies.
Also interesting is that the lapdog from New Westminster—Burnaby comes to the defence of the government. It is challenging to be one of the 338 members of Parliament elected to bring the voice of Canadians here and then, once again, the government is shutting down debate. Madam Speaker—
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, I apologize if perhaps my comments struck a nerve with our colleagues. With all due respect, I know our colleagues to be honourable. I do, but it is frustrating—
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, with all due respect, I do apologize for saying the comments, but I do not apologize for the feelings that this side of the House has, when the government has essentially given itself a majority with its colleagues from the NDP.
I want to ask what happened to the “sunny ways” of 2015, when the Liberals were not going to start with dilatory motions; they were going be the most open and responsive government, and they were not going to force closure on debates. This, they have done time and time again, not only in this session, but any time the heat is turned up on them. What happened to that government?
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, 500 days ago, I stood in the House and asked for the support of all colleagues to bring 988, a simple, easy-to-remember three-digit national suicide prevention hotline, to Canada. That date was December 11, 2020.
On that day, parliamentarians of all stripes stood together and supported bringing 988 to Canada. Collectively, we gave Canadians struggling with mental health issues hope. Five hundred days later, Canadians still do not have access to a three-digit national suicide prevention hotline. Mental health organizations, telecom providers and over 400 municipalities from across the country support bringing 988 to Canada. They understand the importance of this initiative. They know it will save lives.
The government could have, and should have, acted immediately after this motion passed 500 days ago, yet it failed to do so.
Hope is not enough. When minutes count, 500 days of delay is totally unacceptable. Let us get this done. Let us bring 988 to Canada once and for all.
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, it has been 500 days since our Conservative motion to bring 988 to Canada unanimously passed in the House. In those 500 days, an estimated 5,500 Canadians have died by suicide. A further 137,000 have attempted suicide. The Minister of Mental Health and Addictions does not know the existing national suicide prevention hotline number, but she knows 988. She knows that 988 will save lives.
For 500 days, the minister has had the will of the House, the support of municipalities and the support of telecoms and mental health organizations. She has had the power to bring 988 to Canada, yet she has failed to do so. Why?
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-269, An Act to amend the Telecommunications Act (suicide prevention).
He said: Mr. Speaker, suicide impacts us all. There is probably not a member in this House who has not been touched by suicide. I know that suicide and mental health have negatively impacted my life. Just three weeks ago, I received a call saying that I had lost yet another friend to suicide. When somebody is struggling, we must do everything in our power to remove the barriers so that they can seek and get the help that they need.
Over 500 days ago, I asked for the support of the House to bring 988, a simple three-digit suicide prevention hotline, to Canada. Five hundred days later, it still has not been done. Today I rise in this esteemed chamber to table my bill, an act to amend the Telecommunications Act, suicide prevention. With the addition of one simple line to the Telecommunications Act, Canada could have an easy-to-remember three-digit suicide prevention hotline.
Let us bring 988 to Canada. We can save lives.
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague from Calgary Shepard for the incredible work he has done. It is not a surprise, as he is somebody who dives right into whatever file he has.
I have a question for him, and I apologize if it was already brought up, as I am doing my House duty from the beautiful riding of Cariboo—Prince George.
Does this bill respect the constitutional right to representation by population? I am in one of the largest ridings, at 84,000 square kilometres, and I am proud to represent this riding. I would like to hear my hon. colleague's comment on that.
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, there are a few points on which I actually completely agree with my colleague from across the way, one being that we very often wonder what the motivation is for our sovereignist colleagues in the House, although we know what their motivation is. However, I also want to mention that the House of Commons truly is the people's chamber, and it should be representative of the population across the country. I have said that in a number of my interventions in debates, that this is the House. It is the people's House and the 338 members of Parliament who have been elected to represent those electors carry the voice of those electors to this House. This House should represent the population of our country.
I want to ask my hon. colleague if he is aware of whether the provinces with the fastest growing populations, such as my province of British Columbia, and Alberta and Ontario, were consulted. Far too often we hear, when we are on the doorsteps during elections, that the election is over by the time it gets to the western provinces. Were those provinces consulted?
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
Madam Speaker, how do I sum up my support in two minutes?
This bill has to pass. We need to do more for our firefighters, for those who stand as our silent sentinels, for those who run into burning buildings and who run towards danger each and every day, for those who put their lives in jeopardy so that our families can sleep safely, be safe and be sound.
I will save the rest of my time for the next time this bill is up.
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, the isolation, the financial pressures and the extraordinary measures that Canadians have endured have all taken a toll on our mental health. Pre-COVID statistics tell us that every day an average of 11 Canadians die by suicide. For every person lost by suicide, over 275 Canadians attempt suicide each and every day. Unnecessary vaccine mandates are further exacerbating our mental health issues.
Over 468 days ago, the members opposite all voted in favour of my motion to bring an easy-to-remember three-digit suicide prevention number, 988, to Canada. Can the minister tell us why they have done nothing to bring the 988 to Canada? They have dragged their feet. Why have they not implemented this important number?
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