Honorable Vernon White, Senator, Senate of Canada
Senator Vern White was a police officer for 31 years, serving in the RCMP, Durham Regional Police (as Chief of Police) and in Ottawa (again as Chief of Police) before moving to Parliament Hill as a senator. By June he will have received his PhD in Police Leadership.
Vern’s theory is that we all need to take responsibility for recognizing and addressing community problems. He challenges us all to better identify the first instance in which problems are evident where we have the right opportunity to begin addressing such problems.
He outlined three areas in particular, in which we need to better address problems:
- Drug Treatment
- Mental Health
- Aboriginal Issues
On arriving in Ottawa Vern quickly learned about the need for a Drug Treatment Centre and worked with Dave Smith to open our first treatment center. Two additional treatment centers have been opened since then. More work needs to be done.
While aboriginal people make up 3% of our population, they make up 25% of the incarcerated population in our prisons and a high proportion of our unemployed in an era when we face shortages of workers in our natural resource industries.
A high percentage of our prison population (80%) suffer with mental health problems.
Verne pledged to be there with us in any future endeavours that we might undertake to address these and other problems in our community.