Decision Maker Response

Tom Mulcair’s response

Oct 16, 2015 — Thank you for signing the petition calling for an end to solitary confinement.

The NDP is concerned about how the Conservatives have neglected persons suffering with mental illness in our society. The Harper government’s failure to address mental health in a meaningful way has escalated this societal problem. Sadly, we have seen the criminalization of many people struggling with mental health whose circumstances do not improve due to the lack of adequate treatment and care within the prison system.

An NDP government will address the problem at its root cause: we will create a $100 million Mental Health Innovation Fund for Children and Youth to improve treatment and care and to reduce wait times. We know that 70% of Canadians with a diagnosed mental illness first experienced the onset of symptoms before the age of 18, so investing heavily in care early in life will help to prevent mental health problems as adults. We will also address poverty issues and the lack of affordable housing, which also contribute to the criminalization of persons experiencing mental illness.

With regard to the treatment of people within the criminal justice system, an NDP government will adopt the recommendations of the Correctional Investigator of Canada to ensure that people dealing with mental health issues receive timely and appropriate care and do not experience practices and procedures that will exacerbate their condition. We will also work towards implementing the Correctional Investigator’s recommendations with regard to use of solitary confinement and administrative segregation of prisoners.

For more information on our plan, please see our platform:

Best regards,
Tom Mulcair
Leader, New Democratic Party of Canada