House of Commons Hansard #30 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was research.

Topics

Canadian Institutes Of Health Research Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Reform

Ken Epp Elk Island, AB

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to have the privilege to enter into the debate in the House on a very important issue to Canadians.

I know there are a lot of people who will be directly and indirectly affected by the outcome of the legislation. First of all, there will be the people who are involved directly in research in the country. I hope the passage and perhaps some proposed amendments to the bill will have a positive impact on the ability of Canadians to participate in worthwhile, meaningful, efficient research in the area of health care in Canada.

Hopefully there will be thousands and maybe millions of not only Canadians but people around the world whose lives will be made more enjoyable and, in some cases, whose lives will be made possible because of the research that will come out of this particular initiative.

In case the people listening, either in the House, in the galleries or on television, are not aware, we are debating Bill C-13 today. It is one of those cases where the government is saying that it will end one organization and put in place a replacement organization. We are talking about the old Medical Research Council, which will be phased out with Bill C-13 and replaced with this new organization called the Canadian institutes of health research. It is a very noble sounding title with very noble objectives by this particular group.

I am one who firmly supports the funding and promotion of research in the medical field. I am not at all convinced that it should all be done by direct research grants funded by governments. I said that I support funding, but I am not sure that having a government bureaucracy involved is the most efficient. As a matter of fact, even before I get into some of the details of my discussion, I will put forward an idea for people to think about.

Perhaps what we ought to do is shift governments out of this more and more and allow private companies and individuals to receive a greater benefit in the tax regime so that they can directly support those particular areas which they support.

I know of many individuals who, because of involvements in their families with certain diseases, are very prone to supporting funding for research in order to find a cure, help to ease the problems of living with a particular disease and perhaps even in the preventative end. They would be very willing to support a research project in this area or that area. Many of our large corporations in Canada would support it.

I think that if we had that we would have a better allocation into areas of need than we do now when government bureaucracies and politicians, being subject to the vocal lobby groups, tend to respond to that. I think we are all aware of the fact that there are a number of groups that get a lot more money than the statistics would show are warranted simply because they make the most noise on Parliament Hill. I am thinking of a couple of specific organizations in different areas of research.

I had the privilege this morning of meeting with Barbara Nathan-Marcus. She is a volunteer. She is a diabetic who has learned to cope with the disease.

I have had several friends in my lifetime who have coped with diabetes. It is a very difficult disease. I do not know if members are aware of this fact, but there are some really interesting statistics in the brochure that I got from them which surprised even me. One statistic shows that the economic burden of diabetes alone is estimated to cost the Canadian economy in excess of $3 billion a year. I was also amazed to find out that there are approximately 2.25 million Canadians affected by this disease and many of them are not even aware of it. We have approximately 60,000 new cases every year. It is the leading cause of blindness. In fact, Barbara, with whom I met this morning, is very, shall I say, sight challenged. I cannot tell by looking at her. She copes very well but has great difficulty seeing.

One of my friends at university, a wonderful man, was stricken with diabetes. He was a very active, a helpful and kind person, who unfortunately lost his eyesight due to his diabetes. He died at a very young age as a direct result of it.

Do I wish that we had more funding and more research for diabetes so that my friend and millions of others like him could have their symptoms relieved and we could continue searching for a cure and for a way of preventing the disease? Absolutely. If there is anything Canadians can address themselves to as a country it is in this area.

I think of the area of cancer. I do not think there is a family or a person who has not had a close friend or a member of the family affected by this disease. We have seen it in our family. Very frankly, we need to do all that we can to find the cause, to search for a cure and to find a way to prevent the disease.

I think of Alzheimer's disease. My goodness, think of the people we know today who are totally able to communicate, to engage in discussions and debates and who several years down the road find their brain suddenly ceases to function and are stricken with a disease that causes lack of recognition of even their closest family members. How dreadful. How great it would be if, as a result of this bill, we could increase the research into Alzheimer's and look for and find something that would prevent the disease from occurring or to arrest it when it comes.

I think of Parkinson's disease. I have several friends who have Parkinson's. One of my friends who had this disease passed away not long ago. I have another friend younger than I, who I have mentioned in the House before, who had an early onslaught of Parkinson's disease. Today he sits in his wheelchair day after day. When people ask me if I would want to see a cure, a way of preventing Parkinson's, a way of curing it, I say “absolutely”. We in this country need to do all that we can.

I think of strokes and heart disease. One of my closest friends, younger than I, had a serious stroke. He will probably have to live with the marginal ability to get around and communicate for the rest of his life. Yes, let us find a cure. Let us find a prevention.

I think of multiple sclerosis, MS as it is called. I also have a number of friends with MS. I think what I am saying is true for all of us. Every one of us can think of someone in our families or a close friend who has been stricken with these different diseases.

I am not saying that Bill C-13 and the new organization of health care research is the final answer and will solve all of these problems, but I am encouraging all of us to work together to provide research so that these diseases can be tackled and solutions, cures and preventative measures can be identified, found and implemented. It would do Canada a great service and all Canadians would benefit. It would give us a mark in the world as being on the leading edge of needed health care research.

Canadian Institutes Of Health Research Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Reform

Dale Johnston Wetaskiwin, AB

Madam Speaker, it is a privilege to stand in the House to speak on Bill C-13, an act to establish Canadian Institutes of Health Research and an act to repeal the Medical Research Council Act.

It was very interesting to hear my colleague from Elk Island talk about his friends who were afflicted with various diseases, in particular diabetes and how widespread that can be. Not only does it affect the way one's body metabolizes sugar but, as my colleague pointed out, it also affects one's eyesight, circulation and even the heart.

Many of the people I have known who have had severe diabetes have had their feet or another limb amputated just simply because their circulation was so bad. Because they were not able to maintain the circulation to keep those limbs alive, the limbs had to be amputated to save the person's life. That is a very traumatic thing.

We need to think back to the discoverers of insulin, the people who isolated and reproduced insulin and got it to the place where we could replace the insulin which was not produced in our bodies in order to break down the sugar.

Research in Canada has always been in the forefront. There are very significant contributions that have been made by Canadians, contributions that we should be extremely proud of.

In the medical area, I have already mentioned Doctors Banting and Best for their isolation and production of insulin. There are other areas that we should also be very proud of, and that is the production of the Avro Arrow for instance when we were able to develop a supersonic aircraft that was significantly ahead of its time and the sort of thing that would have been the envy of all the world. Even today, technology is just catching up to where the Avro Arrow was.

Whenever I think about research, whether it is medical, technological or in other areas, I think about the problem that we have in the country of maintaining our most inquisitive and best trained minds. There has been a great deal written and said with regard to the brain drain. It was not very long ago that the Prime Minister said that there was no problem, that there was no brain drain. Perhaps he might think that but there are all kinds of evidence to the contrary. We do have a problem with young people taking their skills south of the border in particular.

Some of the reasons they would do that is because there is more opportunity for them there. There is a less oppressive tax regime. They can keep more of the money they earn. They are also working for one hundred cent dollars. I know that is a rather novel approach but a dollar in the United States is still worth one hundred cents.

As a result of the tax regime in this country, we find that our tax freedom day comes around July 1. I do not know if it is particularly significant that we celebrate Canada Day on July 1. Maybe we could get a little funding for that so we could celebrate tax freedom and Canada Day all in one. Maybe we could save some costs on the celebration. Ideally, I would like to see the tax freedom day moved backwards to June or May or, heaven forbid, maybe even April.

One of the main reasons we have such tremendous difficulty keeping active, young, inquisitive minds here is that they are having a very difficult time making a go of it. I will give an example of what I am talking about.

Adam is the father of three boys. His wife chooses to stay home and look after the children because they think they can do a better job of raising their children than the state. Adam earns almost $53,000 a year, which amounts to about $4,412 a month. That is not a bad salary, but we must consider that five people have to live on that after $1,130 is taken out for income tax, $110 per month for unemployment insurance and $140 per month for the Canada pension plan. After that he has to pay his mortgage, his insurance and all of those other things.

The reason I particularly mentioned the Canada pension plan is because Adam has said that he has given up on the idea of ever having the Canada pension plan. Part of the reason, he says, is that so many of our—

Canadian Institutes Of Health Research Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member still has four minutes remaining, but in view of the fact that we will be welcoming new colleagues today I thought we might begin our Statements by Members a little sooner.

Natural Disasters
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Sarkis Assadourian Brampton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, one month ago, on October 29, a cyclone believed to be the century's worst to hit India killed tens of thousands, left millions homeless and virtually wiped away the eastern Indian state of Orissa's infrastructure.

The Canadian Red Cross, Care Canada and the Canadian Lutheran World Relief Fund are leading the efforts in assisting CIDA in bringing aid to the victims of this disaster. I am happy to provide Canadians with the telephone number of the Red Cross cyclone relief effort that have been organized in Canada. Donations can be made by phoning 1-800-418-1111.

I encourage all Canadians to once again show their solidarity, generosity and to contribute to the relief efforts for the victims of this tragic natural disaster.

Nisga'A Treaty
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Philip Mayfield Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Mr. Speaker, British Columbians have been demeaned again.

The Prime Minister said here in this place “There is a legislative assembly in British Columbia which voted on the Nisga'a agreement expressing the view of the people of British Columbia. This parliament will vote on this issue. This is the way we do democracy in Canada”.

What arrogance. What contempt for British Columbians. What utter disregard for the democratic process.

This government killed second reading debate on Nisga'a, shutting out dozens of speakers. It then sent a committee out to B.C. on a wild goose chase to see, hear and do nothing for British Columbians.

Democracy? British Columbians are actively ignored by this government. Strong opposition to the Nisga'a agreement by the people of B.C. has done nothing to make this government care about them. What should British Columbians do to express their discontent with the Nisga'a agreement, and also about trade policies, immigration policies and fisheries policies that are not in the interest of British Columbia?

These are questions that are being seriously considered by British Columbians.

Royal Canadian Army Cadets
Statements By Members

November 29th, 1999 / 1:55 p.m.

Liberal

George Proud Hillsborough, PE

Mr. Speaker, yesterday marked the 120th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Army Cadets.

Over the last 120 years, the Canadian cadet movement has helped youth understand the values of active citizenship, leadership and physical fitness.

Through the Royal Canadian Army Cadets we are investing in Canadian youth and meeting our mandate to develop leaders for the next century.

By contributing to their communities and by acting as ambassadors for their country in the eyes of the world, cadets live up to the expectations of Canadians.

Ex-army cadets have contributed greatly to our war efforts. By 1918 there were 64,000 cadets enrolled. Of these, upward of 40,000 ex-army cadets voluntarily enlisted to serve in World War I.

It is to be noted also that of the 64 Victoria Crosses awarded during World War I, 25 were won by ex-cadets.

On the 120th anniversary I extend my thanks to the young men and women and the numerous volunteers who continue to make the Royal Canadian Army Cadets a success.

Violence Against Women
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Susan Whelan Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, on December 6, Canada's national day of remembrance and action on violence against women will mark the 10th anniversary of the tragic death of 14 young women at the École Polytechnique in Montreal. At this time Canadians will not only remember the loss of these women, but will also remember women who are killed as a result of deliberate acts of violence and those women who live with violence every day.

Violence against women touches every Canadian community. Statistics Canada research reveals that at least 51% of all Canadian women have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16 and that sexual assault accounts for almost one in ten violent crimes.

Ending violence against women requires the efforts of all members of society. Together we can eliminate systemic violence against women and children in the home, workplace and the streets.

Laval University Rouge Et Or
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Claude Drouin Beauce, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I pay tribute today to the Laval University football team, the Rouge et Or, winners of the Vanier Cup, the symbol of dominance in Canadian intercollegiate football.

Remarkably, this victory was won by a team that has been in existence a mere four years over a traditional gridiron power, St. Mary's University of Halifax. I would like to commend the other team as well for their performance in the finals.

There was heavy fan support for the entire team led by star quarterback Mathieu Bertrand and receiver Stéphane Lefebvre, who was named most valued player, as well as ball carrier Jessé Gagné from Beauce.

I am sure that all hon. members will join with me in congratulating head coach Jacques Chapdelaine and all of the team on this great victory.

Canadian Wheat Board
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Garry Breitkreuz Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, last Monday 27 farmers were found guilty of illegally exporting grain by a Regina court. These farmers received thousands of dollars in fines.

In September an aboriginal farmer from Lethbridge, Alberta was found guilty of illegally exporting grain, but instead of receiving fines he was given an absolute discharge because the justice presiding over the case said that he only did it to challenge the Canadian Wheat Board's marketing authority.

We have two different standards in this country. This group of 27 farmers was also challenging the Canadian Wheat Board's marketing authority, yet it received huge fines. Even Provincial Court Judge Bruce Henning said the farmers were only testing the law. He said “I accept that they were sincere in believing they were not breaking the law because they believed it was invalid”.

The courts are playing favourites. In the meantime our government does nothing. It is time the government ended this unfair treatment of the people who feed this country.

When will the government end its autocratic rule over western Canadian farmers?

Ontario Legislative Internship Program
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Speller Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I welcome eight members of the Ontario Legislative Internship Program to Ottawa, a program in which I participated during the early 1980s. Similar in nature to our own program, the Ontario interns, who are recruited in a competitive process, provide valuable assistance to members of the Ontario legislature.

An integral part of their program is the unique opportunity to visit Canada's federal and provincial legislatures to strengthen their understanding of the parliamentary system at both levels of government.

During their stay in Ottawa they will attend several conferences on the parliamentary system and meet with many members of different political parties.

I encourage all members of parliament to join with me in recognizing the importance of such internship programs in shaping our political future and our community leaders. Please, if members see them wandering the halls, stop and say hello.

Laval University Rouge Et Or
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Saturday, the Laval University Rouge et Or clinched the Canadian university championship with a hard-won victory, 14-10, over the St. Mary's Huskies of Halifax.

This is the first time a team from a francophone university has won the prestigious Vanier Cup, and the Rouge et Or did so with a valiant team effort right until the final seconds of a tough game.

This past Saturday, there were many fans watching who had dreamed of this very thing back in the days they attended that same university and watched their team's rapid ascent in the league.

The Bloc Quebecois wishes to congratulate all of the players, coaches and others who contributed to this great victory.

Constitutional Debate
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Harvey Chicoutimi, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's provocative approach to Quebec serves simply to muddle English Canada and to slow the advances in the polls of the Right Honourable Joe Clark.

Yes, people are tired of the constitutional debate, but they certainly need a break from the provocation carried on for the past 30 years by the leaders of the Liberal Party of Canada, who must see that their strategy has increased the sovereignist vote from 20% to 49% in 20 years. Does the Prime Minister of Canada want to carry on into the next century?

Fed up with inflated taxes, the sabotage of our health care system, the departure of our young people and the increase in poverty, Canadians want a practical political agenda from their Prime Minister.

Enough of the constitutional bear trap for our English-speaking fellow citizens.

Team Liberal
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Hec Clouthier Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, as player-coach of team Liberal, I want to say how proud I am of our hockey players.

Last Thursday night we played in the second annual parliamentary hockey championships. I must point out that the only reason the opposition finally found winning conditions was because of outside help. Just as its members rely on the media to provide ammunition for question period, they relied on two reporters who made a big impact, although little Jimmy Munson needed a booster seat to see the game. Their goalie, also not an MP, was the real ringer. He was more acrobatic than Patrick Roy.

Team Liberal, made up entirely of MPs, showcased two impressive rookies. The member for Pickering-Ajax—Uxbridge shared goal tending duties with the Secretary of State for Amateur Sport, and the member for Vaughan—King—Aurora scored a goal.

It was a great game for a great cause, the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario. I extend special thanks to the Corel Centre for donating the ice.

Mr. Speaker, the puck stops here. In the millennium rubber match we will fill the opposition net with these pucks.

Team Liberal
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I would ask hon. members not to use props.

Fisheries
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

John Cummins Delta—South Richmond, BC

Mr. Speaker, the lobster fishery opens today in Nova Scotia. A cloud hangs over the usual excitement and expectations of opening day, a cloud largely created by the Liberal government's fishery policy, a policy which seeks to displace currently licensed fishermen with aboriginal fishermen.

It appears that the fisheries minister has proposed a plan to his cabinet colleagues which would allow for the purchase of three-quarters of the commercial licences in some areas, at a cost of $300 million to $500 million. The impact on coastal communities is something this minister seems to have forgotten with his hare-brained scheme.

Taking three-quarters of the licences will cut the heart out of these vibrant communities. Without the income from lobster, the need for many businesses would vanish. The communities would lose their reason for being. Welfare would replace wages. Out migration would be the order of the day. Killing one community in a misguided effort to inject life into another is not good policy.