Situation In Indigenous Communities — Emergency Debate
April 13, 2016
OTTAWA: Jim Eglinski, Member of Parliament for Yellowhead, participated in the emergency debate in the House of Commons the evening of April 12 on the suicide crisis playing out in Attawapiskat First Nation as well as in other communities. The emergency debate allowed parliamentarians to address this crisis and work together to solve the problem.
During the debate, MP Eglinski stated:
“Mr. Speaker, the problem that we are talking about today has been here for a long time. I go back to my first week as a police officer in early 1968. I do not think I was on the job three days before I had my first suicide, and I have never seen them stop. They need to stop.
We need to work together with our aboriginal communities, and we need to do something now. There is a lot of discussion of what we are going to do with programs, but we need to do something now.
I ask my honourable friend here if he can tell us some of the things that we could do immediately to look at the problem and try to resolve the situation that we are faced with today?”
Attawapiskat’s chief and eight councillors declared a state of emergency on Saturday, citing 11 suicide attempts so far in the month of April and 28 recorded attempts in March.
Aboriginal leaders are scheduled to address the Commons Indigenous Affairs Committee on April 14, after Northern Ontario First Nations communities declared a public health emergency earlier this year.