Jamie Schmale, Member of Parliament for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock, is calling on the Government of Canada to establish a National Missing Persons Day.
The petition, initialized by Siobhan Boyle of Scarborough, states the declaration of such a day would provide communities from across the country the opportunity to gather in remembrance of their missing loved ones and advocate for resources to reduce the frequency of disappearances, as well as support those left behind.
“Mr. Speaker I rise to speak to a matter of deep concern to tens of thousands of families who each year experience the most horrific of circumstances, that of finding a loved one missing,” said Schmale in a video from the House of Commons, posted by the MP on Wednesday (Nov. 22) night.
— Jamie Schmale (@Jamie_Schmale) November 22, 2017
“Anyone who has experienced the tragic loss of a family member or close friend will tell you that closure is an important part of the healing process but for so many families with missing loved ones, this process cannot even begin,” he continued.
According to Schmale, the latest numbers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police suggest 71,000 people went missing in 2015 alone.
“Canada has many national days of observance but we do not have a National Missing Persons Day.”
In a Change.org petition, pre-dating the official House of Commons petition, Boyle wrote about her experience as a sister of a missing loved one.
“As the sister of a missing loved one and most recently watching a good family friend go through what my family has been going through for many years as she sits and waits for answers about her brother, this is something that I am very passionate about. Our country needs this! We families need this! And most importantly our missing loved ones need this! We are the their voices!”
Schmale says he was “honoured to sponsor the petition, calling on the Government of Canada to enact a national day of solidarity, of remembrance, a day for action to prevent these tragedies from happening to another family.”
As he concluded his comments, he urged Canadians to sign the petition, available here. Signatures will be accepted until 5:45 p.m. on January 17.