MP Randall Garrison asks a parliamentary committee to conduct a study into the urgent crisis of suicide among members of the

Mr. Randall Garrison (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, NDP): Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Thank you very much to the witnesses for being here today.

I’m going to have some remarks before I turn to the witness, and these are meant as no disrespect to the witnesses. This has to do with the base priorities of this committee.

We’ve been hearing from witness after witness on social finance, which is not something that I am saying I oppose. It’s something that obviously results in a lot of good in many communities, but there are many more urgent things that we believe the committee has in its mandate and that the government should be looking after.

Today we just became aware of a very urgent matter with regard to the RCMP and suicides within the RCMP. The deputy commissioner admitted that they had done no study of suicides in the RCMP even though there were 16 documented suicides by serving members in the last 8 years, and in that same period 13 suicides by retirees. We are losing three to four RCMP members every year to suicide, and yet we’ve had the RCMP failure to report. We did ask the minister today if he had asked for a report on suicides and he did not give any indication that he has.

This rate of suicide, this rate of death, is actually quite shocking. It’s higher than it is for military members, and in most years, it also exceeds the number of people killed on duty in the RCMP, so the fact that we have not paid attention to this is a matter that is much more urgent than the things we’ve been doing in this committee.

With that in mind, I am going to give notice of a motion. I have a copy for the clerk in both official languages. The motion is:
That this committee conduct a study into the urgent crisis of suicide among members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and report its findings to the House of Commons.

I am not asking that we immediately go to debate on this motion, but very soon this committee has to take a look at what it’s doing, how it’s spending the little time we have left in this session.

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