Todd Doherty, Member of Parliament for Cariboo-Prince George and Shadow Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, released the following statement following passage of his Private Member’s Bill C-321, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (assaults against health care professionals and first responders) in the House of Commons at second reading and the failure of the House of reach unanimous consent:
Today, the Liberals and NDP failed to prioritize the health and safety of first responders and health care workers.
On the last day of the parliamentary session, I rose in the House to seek unanimous consent to expedite the passage of Bill C-321 through all stages of the House of Commons. Despite the bill having unanimous support to reach the committee stage, the other parties could not set aside partisan politics for the sake of our heroes.
Bill C-321 was born out of the 2019 Health Committee study recommendation. It is not necessary to study this topic again. Every day, first responders and healthcare workers experience unprecedented levels of violence in their workplaces, simply for doing their jobs. Instead of sending the clear message to those on the front lines that parliamentarians value them and that we want to prioritize their safety, the Liberals and NDP played political games.
Another study is pointless. We already know the facts. Our first responders and health care heroes are being targeted. We need to take action now.
Following this vote, Bill C-321 will now proceed to the committee stage. If passed, Bill C-321 will amend the Criminal Code to consider an assault against a nurse, paramedic, firefighter, or other frontline healthcare staff an aggravating circumstance during the sentencing of the perpetrator of the assault.
Violence should never be a part of the job description. Everyone has the right to a safe and respectful work environment. We need to work together, to ensure all nurses, paramedics, firefighters, and other frontline staff are safe at work.
Let’s get this done.