To see his private member’s bill on post traumatic stress disorder approved by the Senate would have been a nice close to the year, said Cariboo Prince George MP Todd Doherty as he reflected on 2017.
“It was a busy year with debating Bill C211, which has taken its course over the last year,” he told the Tribune. “It didn’t culminate where I wanted to see it by year end, but it is still moving forward.”
The bill, if enacted, would see the development of a national framework to address the challenges of recognizing the symptoms and providing timely diagnosis and treatment of people suffering post traumatic stress disorder.
It was passed unanimously on June 15, 2017 in the House of Commons and currently sits in the Senate.
There was an option to debate it in the Senate on Dec. 14, but that didn’t happen so hopefully it will resurface in January 2018, he added.
“I think the Senate has a legislative agenda they are trying to get through, but every day that we delay we are seeing more and more suicides,” he warned. “This is not a partisan issue, it is something we need to focus on as leaders in our communities and in our country.”
Doherty’s time is also spent committee to his Canadian Coast Guard Fisheries and Asia-Pacific Gateway files.
“We are very fortunate that our new leader Andrew Scheer, that we elected at the end of May, was able to see the leadership I’ve provided on the fisheries file up that point,” he said. “I’m honoured to be able to serve on both those files. Being named a shadow minister is an honour and very important to me.”
Delving into the softwood lumber dispute as the chair of the Conservative’s commitee has also been a big focus, he said.
Looming large in 2017 was the summer’s unprecedented fire season.
“Our region is going to be feeling the impact of this for years to come,” Doherty said. “I was in Williams Lake on Tuesday, Dec. 19 talking with friends and family that said as they went into the Christmas season, it did not feel like Christmas. We’ve been hit so hard over the last six months.”
Doherty said he continues to feel “blessed” to represent the riding and is proud of the region and its people.
“Whatever challenges are thrown at us, we find a way, whether it was contractors that did what they needed to do to help during the fires or the way our community rallied. And the way Prince George rallied to host over 11,000 people from our communities.”
During the holidays, Doherty plans to spend a week with his family in Prince George and then is taking his brother on a vacation.
“My brother, Trent Wreth, has battled cancer twice and he’s never been out of the province so we are going to sneak him and his wife and their young son away and take them on a holiday.”