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
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Jake Hoeppner Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, what is tonight's vote all about? It is about real people with hepatitis C, people who are sick, people who need help from this government, people like Mrs. Laurie Stoll of Maple Ridge, B.C.; Mrs. Joyce Smith of Mission, B.C.; Ed Wheeler of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan; Theresa Robertson of Peterborough, Ontario; Allan Ordze of Edmonton, Alberta; Lisa Holtz of Edmonton, Alberta; Ed Neufeld of Winkler, Manitoba; Mr. Wish of Winnipeg, Manitoba; Verla Sherhols of Kanata, Ontario; Cheralynn Adie of Ottawa, Ontario, Etienne Saumure of Gatineau, Quebec; Don Jamieson of Toronto, Ontario; Joan Laing of Calgary, Alberta.

These are people who live in our neighbourhoods all over Canada. Every member of parliament must remember these suffering people in tonight's vote.

Hepatitis C
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, there has been much discussion about the rationale used by Canada's government in deciding on a collaborative approach to hepatitis C compensation.

Since the Krever commission delivered its report, the federal government has been working very hard to find a solution to this difficult problem. When Justice Krever presented governments with the facts it became clear that many of the hepatitis C infections between 1986 and 1990 might not have happened if things had been done differently.

The beginning of 1986 was when surrogate testing was first used on a national scale in the United States. To ignore that benchmark date would lead us to an unsustainable rationale for offering assistance. Even after 1986 the science of hepatitis C was still unsettled and indeed it is still evolving.

Those who claim governments should ignore such benchmark dates altogether are perhaps arguing for some sort of retroactive scheme which would eventually apply to all health care harms suffered by Canadians.

Allowing that to happen without due discussion and consideration of the consequences—

Hepatitis C
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Ottawa Centre.

Hepatitis C
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the agreement reached by territorial, provincial and federal governments to compensate victims of hepatitis C is not perfect. No amount of money can ease the pain of those who have been infected.

By supporting the current agreement we are acting responsibly by providing assistance to those infected between 1986 and 1990. For those not covered in the current agreement we have a collective responsibility to find ways to ensure their needs are met.

The health care system in Canada is one of the finest in the world and provides a safety net for those who otherwise could not afford the services they need. That is why it is imperative to work with the provinces to improve services and ensure a better quality of life for every victim. As long as there is one victim suffering we still have work to do.

I applaud the Minister of Health for his courage and commitment to doing what is right.

Hepatitis C
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Howard Hilstrom Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, what is tonight's vote all about? Tonight's vote is all about people, people who could be our next door neighbour, child, spouse or even ourselves.

Hepatitis C victims are ordinary people, people like Jean Drapeau of Laval, Quebec; Steve Kemp of Toronto, Ontario; Mike McCarthy of Sebringville, Ontario; Kim Kingsley of Goderich, Ontario; Neil Van Dusen of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia; Jeremy Beaty of Mississauga, Ontario; Abraham Weizfeldt of Montreal, Quebec; Charles Duguay of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario; Derek Marchand of Tottenham, Ontario; Sherry Fitger of Calgary, Alberta and her husband Don Fitger of Calgary, Alberta; William Harrison of Edmonton, Alberta.

Tonight all members of parliament have a chance to do the right thing, to stand up for the rights of victims.

We call on all members of this House, regardless of their political affiliations, to join together in affirming our support for those the government has wronged.

Hepatitis C
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Steve Mahoney Mississauga West, ON

Mr. Speaker, when Canada's health ministers announced the compensation package for hepatitis C victims they acknowledged that testing was available but not used in Canada between January 1, 1986 and July 1, 1990. This is the key principle underlining the compensation package.

The Reform Party motion ignores this key principle when it states that the government should “compensate all victims who contracted hepatitis C”. What it is advocating is a no fault insurance scheme for Canada's health care system.

This is a wholly separate issue from the blood system inquiry. It is an issue that should be addressed on its own merits and, quite frankly, this debate has yet to happen.

Health care insurance is a provincial responsibility. I am unaware of any initiatives to establish a no fault insurance scheme for the blood system or health care in general. No fault insurance is not a feature of our health system and should not materialize by default—

Hepatitis C
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Laval East.

Monsignor Juan Girardi
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, we were saddened to learn yesterday of the death of Monsignor Juan Girardi, the Guatemalan assistant archbishop and human rights activist.

Monsignor Girardi, who was brutally assassinated, had just presented a scathing report on the holocaust suffered by the Guatemalan people during the civil war that lasted over 36 years. His death could jeopardize the fragile peace accords signed by the factions a year and a half ago.

The Bloc Quebecois wants to pay tribute to this brave man, who was able to warn the international community about the horrors of the armed conflict in Guatemala.

Once again, the long road to respect for human rights has been sullied by the blood of innocent victims who have sacrificed their lives to defend a fundamental right.

We extend our sympathies to the people of Guatemala.

Workplace Safety
Statements By Members

April 28th, 1998 / 2:10 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, today the flags in the House of Commons are flying at half mast out of respect for workers who are injured, killed or made ill in their workplace.

April 28 is the international day of mourning for injured and fallen workers and it is recognized by more than 70 countries around the world. Last year the United Nations conducted ceremonies to commemorate the international day of mourning at its headquarters in New York City.

Canada is a civilized and developed nation and yet today three more Canadian workers will die on the job and the same will be true tomorrow and the day after. In fact, 1,000 Canadian workers a year will die at work and almost a million more will suffer some form of lost time due to injury, sickness or occupational disease.

Canadian workers get up in the morning to earn a living, not to be injured, butchered or maimed on behalf of some arbitrary production schedule. Why can we not end the carnage in our workplaces? When will industry and government commit to decent enforcement of our health and safety legislation?

Our caucus is committed to working—

Workplace Safety
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine.

Hepatitis C
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have personally been affected by hepatitis C. A childhood friend of mine died, about two months ago, of hepatitis C.

Like many Canadians who have been closely following this debate, I am deeply worried about the expectations our blood supply system has raised and the impact these great expectations can have on our overall health care system.

Medicine is not infallible. Science is not infallible. Some types of treatment, medication and material are more risky than others. Blood is the gift of life, but blood is also a high-risk natural biological product.

The health care system, including the blood supply system, is doing its best to reduce the risks for those who use it.

Governments and other stakeholders have the responsibility to react when harm can—

Hepatitis C
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Brandon—Souris.

Hepatitis C
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, the hepatitis C issue is not about faceless, nameless Canadians who are affected not only by this tragic illness but by this government's tragic policy.

Hepatitis C is about our neighbours, our sons, our daughters and people who work and live beside us every day.

One of those people wrote the Minister of Health recently:

You need to hear this from my heart. I live with hepatitis C every day, and don't think it's easy to live with somebody who has only days to live. Hepatitis C has destroyed his liver. Every day I watch him fading away—preparing myself for his death not being able to get physically close. How extraordinary considering that my husband has worked his whole life to support the health care system. The system gave him this disease and now at 47 his only recourse is $700 a month on disability. You've taken away his health, you've have taken away his will and now you take away his dignity.

I only ask that members opposite carefully listen to these words and vote for compassion this evening.

International Day Of Mourning For Injured And Fallen Workers
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Hélène Alarie Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is the International Day of Mourning for Injured and Fallen Workers.

Designated by Parliament and observed in more that 70 countries, as well as the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, this day underlines the seriousness of occupational diseases, accidents and deaths.

In federally regulated sectors alone, there is a work related injury every two minutes: 57,000 workers are injured every year, over 50 of them fatally.

In the agricultural sector, between 1991 and 1995, there were 503 deaths, making farming the most dangerous occupation in North America.

There is a huge gap between the legislation governing safety and security in the workplace and its enforcement. It is shameful that even today there are so many workers killed while trying to make a living.

Hepatitis C
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Philip Mayfield Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Mr. Speaker, tonight's vote is about real people like Ronald Thiel of Saanichton, B.C. who was infected with hepatitis C through tainted blood when he had a heart valve replaced in 1983.

His liver is badly damaged. He had to stop working at age 53. He has suffered many medical complications which have made his life a misery. He writes “I know that I am dying before my time but I have no intention of going to my grave without fighting this injustice as long as I can”.

Mr. Thiel speaks for all excluded hepatitis C victims when he paraphrases Shakespeare. “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? If you wrong us, do we not revenge?”

The government cannot escape its responsibility. The victims of the tainted blood scandal and the people of Canada will one day require justice. But how much more honourable, how much more noble it would be for this parliament to offer compassion to the suffering today, rather than be forced to do so by the heavy hand of the law tomorrow.