The Liberals have taken a step toward repairing the damage from the recent mass shootings in B.A. and Edmonton, but have yet to do much to address the trauma that survivors, their families and the wider community have experienced.
Liberal Party announced Friday that it is introducing a wide-ranging, multi-pronged, $2-billion package of healing, recovery and support measures that includes $500 million for the national trauma centre, $1.5 billion for mental health services and $50 million for a national trauma hotline.
But the BCA.
Liberals still have not committed to supporting the healing and recovery of those who have been impacted by mass shootings, including those who are aboriginal, and to support a national hotline to connect victims and survivors to a support network, party spokeswoman Kristin Avila said in an email to The Globe and Mail.
“We recognize that there are people across the country who have not experienced or are still experiencing some of the trauma and have a right to seek support,” she wrote.
The party also plans to increase funding for the province’s First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities by $3.5 million over the next five years.
While the Liberals have not explicitly said that they support a hotline, the party has said it supports the creation of a national national service for First Nations and Inuit victims and their families.
“The Liberals will continue to work with First Nations to develop and fund a national, state-of-the-art, service for Inuit, Métises and First Nations,” Avilas said.
A report by the BMA said that in 2015, First Nations women made up almost two-thirds of those killed in mass shootings.
It noted that there were more than 2,400 First Nations homicides in Canada in 2015 alone, and that the rate of First Nations homicide among Aboriginal people is at a record high.
“There is a long-standing need for First Nation mental health resources, services, and advocacy and the Liberal government has not acted to meet that need,” the BMBM wrote in its report.
“With a $2.8-billion funding gap, we believe that the Liberals must now take action on this urgent issue.”
The party’s announcement Friday comes after a series of mass shootings at the University of Alberta in March, and after the fatal shooting of three people at a University of Saskatchewan campus in May.
On April 14, an RCMP officer fatally shot two men outside a hotel in Winnipeg, and on April 17, a gunman killed a police officer outside a Saskatoon home.
In response to the killings, the Liberals announced a $10-million-a-year initiative that would fund a community mental health service, and provide support for Indigenous communities to help those who feel abandoned and traumatized by mass shooting events.
In addition, the government announced that it will introduce legislation to increase penalties for crimes committed with a firearm, including a penalty of up to five years in prison.
The new package is a first step in the Liberals’ efforts to address mass shooting survivors and their children, and a step in line with a $12-million commitment announced earlier this year by the province to provide $50,000 for every child who has been traumatized in a shooting.
The package includes $2 million for youth mental health care, $300 million for mental illness and addiction treatment and $500,000 to the National Centre for Child and Family Safety.
It also includes $1 million for First Canada, a national support program for First Peoples, and $100 million to support First Nations mental health, Indigenous and Aboriginal people in Canada.
The Liberal Party’s announcement comes days after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that a national suicide hotline would be launched in the fall.
Trudeau, who has previously said that he has not personally personally experienced a mass shooting, said he had been thinking about this idea for a while, and the BMDM report noted that he had supported the idea of a suicide hotline when he was prime minister.
“He said he was looking forward to taking the next steps on this issue,” said Avilan.
“But the announcement that the BCL is putting forward is a big step, and it does go in the right direction.”