Kitchener-Conestoga MP Harold Albrecht is lending his support to a new website that aims to reach out to suicidal young people.
Albrecht spoke at a press conference on Thursday announcing the launch of a new website by Your Life Counts, a Canadian organization that connects suicidal youth to resources in their communities.
Albrecht got involved with the issue of assisted suicide after the death of 18-year-old Nadia Kajouji in March 2008. Kajouji, a student at Carleton University, was struggling with depression and threw herself into the Ottawa River. Investigators allege a male nurse from Minnesota posed as a woman in her 20s and formed a fake suicide pact with Kijouji through online chat rooms.
In May, Albrecht tabled a private member’s motion in Parliament that would add new wording to the criminal code provisions dealing with assisted suicide. M388 would make counselling or aiding or abetting a person to commit suicide an offence, “regardless of the means used to counsel or aid or abet, including via telecommunications, the Internet or a computer system.”
“We need to clarify without any question that this new technology also needs to be included in the Criminal Code,” Albrecht said.
If passed into law, Albrecht said the motion would act as a deterrent to people who would hide behind the anonymity of the Internet to counsel others to commit suicide.
The motion was debated for the first time in September, and is up for a second debate in early November. Following that, there will be an all-party vote to see if the motion passes into law.
Albrecht acknowledged that the motion in itself won’t address the larger issue of suicide, which is why he’s throwing his support behind the new website.
“I’m not naïve enough to think that I’ll address the problem. We have to work together,” he said. “The positive resources that we can direct vulnerable people to certainly has to be the big picture.
“I put my weight behind trying to help them get their message out there to counteract some of the sinister forces that are out there encouraging people to take their own lives at a very vulnerable point.”