Bill C-211, which will establish a framework for supporting those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), passed its third and final reading in the Senate today.
Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty has championed the bill since before he was elected.
“Today marks the culmination of years of hard work. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the paramedics, first responders, firefighters, military, veterans, police and corrections officers who have courageously shared their stories with the country. To the Parliamentarians, Senators and numerous other groups who came forward to provide feedback about how Parliament can go about strengthening this legislation in the future, thank you. Without your voices, we would not be here,” he wrote in a statement.
The bill will now receive Royal Assent and become law. From there, a committee will be convened, including the Minister of National Defence, the Minister of Veterans Affairs, provincial and territorial government representatives, representatives of the medical community and patients’ groups for the purpose of developing a comprehensive federal framework to address the challenges of recognizing the symptoms and providing timely diagnosis and treatment of PTSD.
Doherty hopes he’ll be involved in the PTSD framework going forward, to see his hard work through to completion.
“I don’t want to just wash my hands of this. We want to make sure they are developing it. If it’s a handoff the government wants, I would like a debriefing with them of the stories we’ve heard, the hope for the bill, the groups that should be included. I’ve said from day one I’m willing to do the heavy lifting to make sure this gets done,” he tells the Observer.
Doherty says he’s received countless messages since the bill passed from first responders who have been watching its progress closely.
He notes that a local Quesnel couple have been champions of the cause from the start. Paul and Terry Nichols embarked on a country-wide horseback ride to raise awareness for local returning veterans, and offer them the opportunity to find healing through equine-assisted therapy. The couple continue to run their workshops for PTSD sufferers from their farm in Kersley through their program Communities for Veterans.
“We have an incredible champion in Quesnel, Paul and Terry Nichols, and I reference them all the time. We should be very proud we have people like Paul and Terry who are doing what they can to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves.
“Today was for them, and for everyone who put forth that sacrifice,” says Doherty.
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