House of Commons Hansard #94 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was world.

Topics

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

April 28th, 1998 / 2:40 p.m.

Reform

Deepak Obhrai Calgary East, AB

Mr. Speaker, Edith Jameson, a resident of Calgary East, phoned me last Saturday. She contracted hepatitis C prior to 1986. Her liver has been damaged and her gall bladder has been removed. She told me her health has been going downhill and her financial resources are stretched to the limit.

My question is for the Minister of Health. Will he stop acting like a lawyer and for the love of God offer something to Edith and thousands like her? He should make the right moral and compassionate decision and not a legal decision.

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I hope I am acting like the custodian of Canada's health care system.

As the custodian of Canada's health care system I can imagine hundreds of cases that pack emotional power of people who are in difficult circumstances, who suffer illnesses, injuries and harm as a result of risk inherent in surgery, in taking vaccines or in taking new prescription drugs, each of them with a compelling emotional pitch about how much they need our help. That is what medicare is for.

If we compensate in cash—

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Dauphin—Swan River.

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Reform

Inky Mark Dauphin—Swan River, MB

Mr. Speaker, tonight's vote is about real people like Keray Regan from Vernon, B.C. who was infected with hepatitis C through receiving tainted blood in 1986. Keray Regan said that he will continue to fight for all hepatitis C victims.

Will this government tell Keray Regan that it will do the right thing and compensate all victims of hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I will tell Keray Regan as I said to Dorothy, Christine Campbell and all the other victims to whom reference has been made, I say to all those victims that we will ensure there is a publicly financed system of medicare there to look after them in their illness. We will ensure that Canada's social safety net constructed by Liberal governments in the past will be there to respond to their needs. We will make sure that responsible public policy guarantees the future of those services because that in the last analysis is our most important moral responsibility.

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, today at the hepatitis C rally a 15-year old boy named Joey Haché had this to say about the Prime Minister: “Why is he making political prisoners of the Liberal backbenchers? Why is he forcing them to vote against their conscience?” Joey got hepatitis C through no fault of his own, through numerous blood transfusions. He does not know why he was infected.

Why is this government forcing Liberal MPs to vote against Joey and all blood injured Canadians?

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I ask the hon. member why the NDP government in Saskatchewan does not allow a free vote on this subject. Its position is exactly the same as ours. Why does she not turn around and direct her criticism at her own NDP government which is taking the same position in its legislature as we are taking in this House of Commons?

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, we also learned today at the hepatitis C rally that the office of a Liberal member called the family in B.C. that makes hepatitis C ribbons and asked for 160 of them for Liberal MPs to show their sympathy for victims. However that office refused to pay for the ribbons or the courier. They want to wear the ribbons but they do not want to pay for them. Is this meant to be an example of this government's—

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Health.

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should know but I will tell her that I was wearing that ribbon long before she ever saw one. I got it from Jeremy Beaty of the Canadian Hepatitis C Society when I met with him to talk about victims compensation. The difference is that this government has produced $1.1 billion in compensation for 22,000 victims. That is the way we feel about the issue.

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Diane St-Jacques Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, before and during his trip to Cuba, the Prime Minister criticized Fidel Castro's lack of respect for democracy. This is rather surprising from a leader who does not allow his caucus to vote freely on the motion dealing with hepatitis C, particularly since some of his members asked for a free vote, because they are not pleased with the current compensation program.

My question to the Deputy Prime Minister is this: Why is the government so intent on promoting democracy all over the world, when it does not even respect it at home?

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Deputy Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have democracy in this country and in this House. This evening's vote will be proof of that, because I am confident that the House will reject the Reform Party's motion.

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Diane St-Jacques Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week, we saw on the lawn of Parliament Hill rows after rows of crosses bearing the names of innocent hepatitis C victims. These crosses were put there by fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, spouses and children, in memory of the loved ones they lost as a result of this terrible tragedy.

Will the Minister of Health finally assume his responsibility and compensate all victims?

Hepatitis C
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Etobicoke Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Allan Rock Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we assumed our responsibility together with the other governments in Canada, including the Conservative ones. We accepted responsibility for the period during which officials could have done something to prevent infection.

It is the policy of the Canadian government, and it is the right policy.

Science And Technology
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Alex Shepherd Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Secretary of State for Science and Technology. As we speak, a rocket is being sent off from Canadian soil at Churchill, Manitoba, the first in almost a decade. This is a precursor to launching a polar orbiting satellite.

How will these activities enhance Canada's technological preparedness in the changing world of telecommunications?