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A Conservative MP Gave A Heartbreaking Speech About Indigenous Suicide

"After all these years, we have so much to learn."

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Canadian MPs gave emotional speeches Tuesday night as part of an emergency debate on the Indigenous suicide crisis.

NDP MP Charlie Angus requested the debate after Attawapiskat First Nation declared a state of emergency.
Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS

NDP MP Charlie Angus requested the debate after Attawapiskat First Nation declared a state of emergency.

One of the most heartbreaking speeches came from new Tory MP Todd Doherty, though.

Thank you. That was much harder than I thought. #thankyou https://t.co/cJo69AL0L7

Doherty — the Opposition Critic for Indigenous Affairs — said the issue is close to his heart because he used to work with at-risk First Nations youth.

He worked with them "at a time when fear paralyzed the discussion, for fear it would only get worse."

He said he knows how important it is to have counselling and mental health services in these communities.
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He said he knows how important it is to have counselling and mental health services in these communities.

"We need to break the stigma where if you say you are hurting and in need of help, you are not seen as weak," he said.

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"And, Mr. Speaker, we need to be better. All of us."

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"I have sat with teenagers who felt that their only way out was death."

"I have sat with families grieving because they had missed the signs; we could not reach their son or daughter to save him or her."
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"I have sat with families grieving because they had missed the signs; we could not reach their son or daughter to save him or her."

"I have missed the signs."

"Today, so many years later, I still bear the guilt — if only," Doherty said. "Could I do more? What did I miss?"
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"Today, so many years later, I still bear the guilt — if only," Doherty said. "Could I do more? What did I miss?"

Doherty then read a quote from Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Bruce Shisheesh. He told Global News that he's homeless and sleeps on a couch.

Doherty also pointed to the fact that on Monday night, police reportedly stopped another 13 teenagers who were part of a suicide pact.
Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Doherty also pointed to the fact that on Monday night, police reportedly stopped another 13 teenagers who were part of a suicide pact.

"Kids should not have to grow up in poverty, and they should not have to feel that the only choice they have is life or death," Doherty said.

"They should not have to grow up in an environment where addiction, depression, and suicide are the norm."
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"They should not have to grow up in an environment where addiction, depression, and suicide are the norm."

"We have a state of emergency declared. We have a First Nations chief trying to lead from a couch."

"I am not sure what further consultations need to be done to demonstrate that this community and others facing the same dilemma — they're in dire need of resources," Doherty said, referencing the federal budget's call to consult people on how $8.4 billion will be spent on Indigenous communities.
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"I am not sure what further consultations need to be done to demonstrate that this community and others facing the same dilemma — they're in dire need of resources," Doherty said, referencing the federal budget's call to consult people on how $8.4 billion will be spent on Indigenous communities.

"Hope is not enough."

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"Hope is not tangible. A plan is tangible; actions are tangible; both of which we have yet to see."

"A crisis likes this opens our eyes to the fact that we still have so much to learn," Doherty said. "After all these years, we have so much to learn."

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"Sadly, it takes a crisis to bring us all together."

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"I think I speak for all of my colleagues when I say we took this job as a member of Parliament with the hope of leaving behind a better country."

Doherty said Indigenous communities deserve the same opportunities that non-Indigenous communities have.

"Sometimes partisan politics need to be put aside and members need to come together to find solutions to prevent another unnecessary loss of life."

"To give a voice to those who feel they are not being heard, to give every Canadian equal opportunity to succeed, and give every Canadian the resources to lead healthy lives, and if faced with the unimaginable, that we never miss those signs."
THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-National Film Board

"To give a voice to those who feel they are not being heard, to give every Canadian equal opportunity to succeed, and give every Canadian the resources to lead healthy lives, and if faced with the unimaginable, that we never miss those signs."

You can read a transcript of the whole debate here.

Emma Loop is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. PGP fingerprint: 4A39 DD99 953C 6CAF D68C 85CD C380 AB23 859B 0611.

Contact Emma Loop at emma.loop@buzzfeed.com.

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