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Federal Candidates sound off: opioid crisis,mental health and housing

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MyWestNipissingNow.com reached out to candidates of the upcoming election to get their thoughts on important issues. Each week leading up to the election, we will publish stories online which include the candidates voices so the riding can hear what they have to say.

This week, we discussed opioids, mental health, housing and more.

Here is the question we posed each candidate:

Social services and municipal agencies have said that homelessness, opioids, mental health and addictions have all be intertwined into a major issue affecting communities and constituents right across the riding.  What is your party’s plan, including concrete actions, to deal with this complex issue?  

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Charles Humphrey, Conservative Party of Canada
As a paramedic serving Greater Sudbury, Humphrey says he has a unique frontline perspective on the opioid epidemic, the mental health epidemic, as well as the growth of homelessness in our communities. Humphrey says mental health challenges lie at the heart of these complex issues, and he says he’s proud of Canada’s Economic Recovery plan from the Conservative Party secures mental health as a primary plank for their platform; boosting mental health care funding to the province, providing incentives to employers to provide mental health coverage and more.

 

Andréane Chénier, New Democratic Party
NDP’s Andréane Chénier, says these issues are very much intertwined. She says if people don’t have access to adequate mental health services, that often leads to self-medication, which can make homelessness a close reality. Chénier says the NDP believes there’s more that can be done to help save lives for those struggling with addiction. She says the NDP would declare a public health emergency and devote resources to tackle this problem head-on. Chénier says the NDP would also put forward a universal public pharmacare program. The NDP is also committed to building 500,000 affordable housing units across the country, with the first 250,000 to be built in the first five years.

 

Craig Gravelle, Green Party of Canada
The Green Party’s Craig Gravelle says all these issues are intertwined and symptoms of economic security. He says economic security has become more difficult to obtain, with jobs being more precarious, and student loans. He says people fall through the cracks when they don’t have the money and support systems they need to live with dignity. He says bold policies are needed to address these issues, which he says the Green Party has. Gravelle says the Green’s would decriminalize all drugs, invest more money in substance abuse prevention and rehabilitation programs, as well as implement a guaranteed livable income.

 

Marc Serre, Liberal Party of Canada
Incumbent Marc Serre says there’s no doubt that mental health should be prioritized at all levels of government. He says people are facing new stresses due to the pandemic, which makes mental health services important.
He says since 2016, he’s been working with the provincial cabinet on these issues. He says the Liberals have prioritized 6 billion dollars to give to the provinces on an early mandate, but it hasn’t been enough. He says the latest budget gives more money to the provinces for harm reduction, treatment, and prevention. Serre says still more work needs to be done, including removing the stigma, reaching out to the most vulnerable, and working with the provincial government and municipalities to make sure the riding is heard.

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