Dear Minister Bennett

Dear Minister Bennett,

I last wrote you a handwritten note at the end of January about electoral reform and mental health initiatives for our First Nations communities.

If I were to keep this short and to the point, I’d reiterate my support for Health Canada funding for the mental health programs needed in our country’s most remote communities.

If you (or someone in your office) had time to read a longer letter, I would tell you that I became a Canadian citizen late in 2015. In the grand scheme of things, I am relatively new here and uneducated in the history beyond what I needed to pass the citizenship exam.

I would tell you that I started educating myself in this area of mental health programming after a canoe trip near Red Lake in which I learned about the struggles the Pikangikum First Nation faced and continue to face. I would tell you that I started participating in a “notes of love and hope” letter writing campaign with others from the Toronto area this winter. We mailed handwritten messages to the girls in Lac La Ronge, Attawapiskat, and Wapekeka First Nations, letting them know someone was thinking about them.

I would tell you that two weeks after sending my second batch of notes I received a phone call from the Communications department in the Regional Emergency Operations Centre in Lac La Ronge. They asked if they could share the cards around the six schools in the band. I asked if our notes helped.  They said all they needed to in the long pause that followed. Of course we can’t turn around a suicide crisis with only notes. None of us are that naive.

I would tell you that two months after that call, the CBC’s the fifth estate profiled the crisis and the young people in the Cross Lake, Manitoba community. I asked the producers what we average citizens could do to help. They said to write you. So I here I am, a constituent in your riding and someone with keen interest in your national portfolio.

Minister Bennett, what would you tell me? How can I support you? What will this government do to help alleviate generations of pain and suffering that manifests itself in alarming ways in our young people?



Kate Ming-Sun





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