The MLA for Dawson Trial says he is disappointed the NDP decided to shoot down his proposed Men's Mental Health Awareness Week. 

Bob Lagassé notes he recently put forward Bill 217, a private members bill, which would have created an annual Men’s Mental Health Week. He says this issue is near and dear to his heart. 

“Here is a silent crisis that's occurring in the province of Manitoba, and it's the fact that men are not talking about their mental health and their needs and they're actually just taking their own lives. This is also applying to young boys, so this bill was to address, bringing awareness to that.” 

According to Lagassé, men account for close to 75 percent of deaths by suicide in Canada and it is the second-leading cause of death among men under the age of 50. 

He notes designating a set time to focus on these issues could make a big difference. 

“My plan was to have it the week before Father's Day and the reason why is that tends to be the time that we think about our dads and it would have just give you the opportunity to check on those strong ones and talk about these issues, just make it normal to talk about men's mental health.” 

The decision in the Manitoba Legislature came on Thursday. 

Lagassé notes “The day that it was being presented was really an emotional day for me because of my own personal struggles. As soon as I got into the chamber, the house leader came up to me and faked, I'd say, sympathy for this. She said to me that she understands this is an important bill, but we're not going to be passing this resolution today.” 

Even though he knows there are always many political things that come into play, Lagassé says this is a huge disappointment. He notes this bill should be outside of those political games.  

“It's unfortunate that the opposition saw this as a partisan opportunity. Really this is about saving people. It's not about blue, red, orange, it's none of that. It's just about, 'hey, everyone's a person, no matter which way you vote', so, stop making these things that are important partisan issues.” 

Lagassé says he plans to re-introduce the bill in the fall and hopes it will gain more traction and be passed at that point.