Evidence of meeting #35 for Health in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was suicide.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joy Smith

I'm sorry, it's under another clause. We'll get to that.

(Clauses 2 and 3 agreed to)

Now we'll go to amendment NDP-11.

10 a.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Vancouver Centre, BC

I'd like to note that I abstained on both those votes.

10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joy Smith

Okay. Dr. Fry abstained on those votes, but they're still carried.

10 a.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Vancouver Centre, BC

Oh, yes.

10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joy Smith

Thank you.

(On clause 4—Report)

We turn to amendment NDP-11.

10 a.m.

NDP

Dany Morin Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

I move that Bill C-300, in Clause 4, be amended by replacing line 11 on page 3 with the following:

4. Within one year after coming into

From what I gather, the bill would not require the first status report on the situation to be available for four years. I feel, however, especially in politics and for people struggling with suicide or their families, this is really a very long time. I think it would not be unreasonable to ask that a report be made one year after this bill has been passed.

10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joy Smith

Thank you.

Is there any discussion?

Do you want a recorded vote?

10 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

A recorded vote, please.

(Amendment negatived: nays 6; yeas 5)

10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joy Smith

We turn to amendment NDP-12.

Go ahead, Dr. Morin.

10 a.m.

NDP

Dany Morin Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

I move that Bill C-300, in Clause 4, be amended by replacing line 12 on page 3 with the following:

force of this Act and every year thereafter,

I wish to say how disappointed I am to see that the Standing Committee on Health has become a farce and that the Conservatives do not clearly wish to have a strong bill. I think they just want to have a piece of paper to show their voters so that they can say that the Conservative government is committed to suicide prevention. But this is obviously not the case. They lack respect for both future victims of suicide and their families.

The saddest thing about this is that I am moving amendments and the Conservatives do not even deign to comment on them, to discuss them or say why they are not going to support them. This shows a lack of cooperation and goodwill. This is a sad day for Canadian democracy. The Conservative members of this committee reject all the amendments moved by the opposition parties. But these amendments were submitted to us by witnesses and various important organizations in Canada. It is really a sad day.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joy Smith

Mr. Strahl, go ahead.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon, BC

Thank you, Madam Chair.

I could make comments about grandstanding and all the rest of it, but I think what we have here is a Conservative private member who brought forward an excellent bill. He did so after doing much background research. He is a leader in this country on this issue. To suggest that he simply put this forward to grandstand with his electors is an insult. Certainly his bill is an excellent piece of legislation. It took into account many of the arguments made on the other side, and I have no problem certainly ceding to his expertise, knowing that he did the work necessary to draft an excellent bill.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joy Smith

Dr. Fry, go ahead.

March 15th, 2012 / 10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Vancouver Centre, BC

Thank you very much, Madam Chair.

I don't want us to leave this bill without making my comments as well.

I think that Mr. Albrecht put this bill forward with best intentions. I'm not going to presume to challenge his intentions. But, Madam Chair, having been a minister in government for six years when the government brought forth many government bills, I think that part of the process of moving a bill through its first, second, third reading, and committee is to be able to see whether a government, with all of a department's expertise at its fingertips, with many pieces of expertise coming from every area where the government consulted in order to bring forward that bill.... We went to committee stage mainly to hear from experts and witnesses who worked for years on the issues, who in fact were able to help us to strengthen bills, make our bills effective, so that eventually they would achieve the outcomes we were hoping they would achieve.

The concept, Madam Chair, that a single human being could do all the research and have all the knowledge and all the information on a particular issue, which is not even the person's area of expertise and profession, is a joke. No one has; not even governments, not even groups of people sitting around a table do. That's why we seek all of the input that we seek, in order to make these bills effective when they come to the floor.

I think I understand. I concur in some ways with what Dr. Morin is saying. What happens then is you put forward a bill.…To have said that we do not support and we're not collaborative in this committee is a ridiculous and an unfair thing to say, and untrue. It is not borne out by any evidence at all. We have bent over backwards as opposition parties to support government agenda, to bring forward whatever they suggested we should study. Nothing we ever brought forward was ever agreed on by the government. When we look at bills and try to strengthen them and try to bring them forward, we do not have that same sort of collaboration.

It seems to me that it really doesn't matter what one says. If I inserted an amendment saying “Can we all have a banana, please”, it would be voted against. I think it makes a farce of the committee, and I want to put that on record.

I want to apologize personally as a member of this committee to all of the witnesses who travelled across this country to come here and present to us. They hoped against hope that this bill was the beginning of something they had been fighting for and it would really have desired effects and outcomes that would eventually put an end to the tragedy of suicide, only to hear that not a single thing they proposed, and none of the recommendations coming out of CASP, or any of the groups, has even been given a second thought that could enhance the bill.

We hear over and over that an individual, intelligent as he is, as well-meaning as he is.... I am not going to say anything pejorative about Mr. Albrecht, because I support his intent in this bill, but to imagine that an individual would have all that knowledge makes every single witness who came here seem redundant. I heard the word “redundant” spoken many times here. And to hear that none of them, when pitted against the wise knowledge and complete and total omniscience of the member who brought forward this bill, had anything new to add really disturbs me. So I apologize fully to the witnesses who came here with hope in their hearts, which has been dashed today.

Thank you.

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Joy Smith

Ms. Davies.