House of Commons Hansard #56 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was research.

Topics

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession Reference
Government Orders

11:30 a.m.

The Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession Reference
Government Orders

11:30 a.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession Reference
Government Orders

11:30 a.m.

The Speaker

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

An Act To Give Effect To The Requirement For Clarity As Set Out In The Opinion Of The Supreme Court Of Canada In The Quebec Secession Reference
Government Orders

11:30 a.m.

The Speaker

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Division No. 748
Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-13, an act to establish the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, to repeal the Medical Research Council Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts, as reported (with amendment) from the committee.

Canadian Institutes Of Health Research Act
Government Orders

February 24th, 2000 / 12:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I am now ready to give a ruling on the report stage of Bill C-13. There are 55 motions in amendment standing on the notice paper for the report stage of Bill C-13.

Motions Nos. 39, 40, 43, 44, 53 and 54 cannot be proposed to the House because they are not accompanied by the recommendation of the Governor General. Standing Order 76(3) requires that notice of such a recommendation be given no later than the sitting day before the beginning of the report stage consideration of a bill.

The other motions will be grouped for debate as follows:

Group No. 1: Motions Nos. 1, 5 to 7, 9, 11 to 14, 18, 20, 21, 23, 24, 48 to 50.

Group No. 2: Motions numbered 2 to 4, 8, 10, 15, 16, 17, 19, 22, 25 to 38, 41, 42, 45 to 47, 51, 52, 55 and 56.

The voting patterns for the motions within each group are available at the table. The Chair will remind the House of each pattern at the time of voting.

I shall now propose motions numbered 1, 5 to 7, 9, 11 to 14, 18, 20, 21, 23, 24, 48 to 50 to the House.

Canadian Institutes Of Health Research Act
Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

moved:

Motion No. 1

That Bill C-13, in the preamble, be amended by replacing lines 12 and 13 on page 1 with the following:

“that investment in health research is part of the Canadian vision of”

Motion No. 5

That Bill C-13, in the preamble, be amended by replacing lines 18 and 19 on page 1 with the following:

“vincial government to support health research;”

Motion No. 6

That Bill C-13, in the preamble, be amended by replacing line 3 on page 2 with the following:

“nate health research based”

Motion No. 7

That Bill C-13, in the preamble, be amended by replacing line 19 on page 2 with the following:

“the dissemination of that knowledge for the”

Motion No. 9

That Bill C-13, in Clause 4, be amended by replacing lines 19 and 20 on page 3 with the following:

“of new knowledge and its dissemination in order to inprove health for Canadian and provide more effec-”

Motion No. 11

That Bill C-13, in Clause 4, be amended by replacing line 27 on page 3 with the following:

“Canada that have an interest in”

Motion No. 12

That Bill C-13, in Clause 4, be amended by replacing line 3 on page 4 with the following:

“tunity to contribute to the development of knowledge in order to improve”

Motion No. 13

That Bill C-13, in Clause 4, be amended by replacing lines 9 and 10 on page 4 with the following:

“health system;”

Motion No. 14

That Bill C-13, in Clause 4, be amended by replacing lines 11 and 12 on page 4 with the following: d ) encouraging interdisciplinary health research through the creation of”

Motion No. 18

That Bill C-13, in Clause 4, be amended by replacing line 31 on page 4 with the following:

“health research, including bio-medical research,”

Motion No. 20

That Bill C-13, in Clause 4, be amended by replacing line 46 on page 4 with the following:

“edge and health research”

Canadian Institutes Of Health Research Act
Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

David Price Compton—Stanstead, QC

moved:

Motion No. 21

That Bill C-13, in Clause 4, be amended a ) by replacing, in the English version, line 13 on page 5 with the following:

“partnerships in health research;” b ) by replacing, in the English version, line 16 on page 5 with the following:

“Government of Canada in health research; and” c ) by adding after line 16 on page 5 the following: m ) demonstrating a commitment and respect for the principle of public accountability by establishing and maintaining public access to research materials and reports pertaining to public health issues.”

Canadian Institutes Of Health Research Act
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

moved:

Motion No. 23

That Bill C-13, in Clause 5, be amended a ) by replacing lines 4 and 5 on page 6 with the following:

“have an interest in health research;” b ) by replacing lines 6 to 8 on page 6 with the following: d ) monitor and analyze health research, including ethical issues;” c ) by replacing line 16 on page 6 with the following:

“pertaining to health research; and”

Motion No. 24

That Bill C-13, in Clause 5, be amended by replacing lines 10 and 11 on page 6 with the following:

“matter relating to health research;”

Canadian Institutes Of Health Research Act
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North Centre, MB

moved:

Motion No. 48

That Bill C-13, in Clause 20, be amended by adding after line 7 on page 11 the following:

“(5) The members of the Advisory Boards shall not, directly or indirectly, as owner, shareholder, director, officer, partner or otherwise, have any pecuniary or proprietary interest in any business which operates in the pharmaceutical or medical devices industries.”

Motion No. 49

That Bill C-13, in Clause 20, be amended by adding after line 7 on page 11 the following:

“(5) The Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Code for Public Office Holders apply with such modifications as the circumstances require to the members of the Advisory Boards. For the purposes of the Code, “Public Office Holder” includes a member of an Advisory Board.”

Motion No. 50

That Bill C-13, in Clause 20, be amended by adding after line 7 on page 11 the following:

“20.1 (1) Within three months after the coming into force of this Act, the Governing Council shall make a by-law establishing a code of ethics for the members of the Advisory Boards.

(2) The by-law referred to in subsection (1) shall apply to the members of the Advisory Boards thirty days after it is made.”

Canadian Institutes Of Health Research Act
Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Reform

Reed Elley Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-13, an act to establish the Canadian institutes of health research. While I am in favour of the bill overall, I will take this opportunity to speak on a few aspects of it and the process that has been involved to date.

While it is true that the objectives of the bill should be attainable—and I have personally received numerous letters and e-mails from the medical and research community to support it—there are several aspects of the bill that I feel could have been better and stronger. I mention this because all these things were brought before the Standing Committee on Health, and in the usual Liberal manner, they were given little true consideration.

What we have just witnessed in the House is that when the government decides that it does not want to hear any more legitimate democratic debate on an issue, it simply decides that we have all had enough time and it brings in either time allocation or closure, to the shame of the government, to cut off legitimate debate. It is all part of the frustration that Canadians in general and opposition members in particular feel in giving any kind of real input into the decision making process of the House, especially when the opposition represents some 62% of the population of the country.

This is the same kind of thing that went on in the making of this bill and in the way in which it was brought through committee.

I am pleased that some variations of these proposals were recognized and given support by some members of the other opposition parties.

The purpose of Bill C-13 is to excel, according to internationally accepted standards of scientific excellence, in the creation of new knowledge and its translation into improved health for Canadians. It is to provide more effective health services and products of a strengthened Canadian health care system. Finally, it is to replace the Medical Research Council of Canada to provide a more direct and systematic approach to research in Canada.

These are all noble and just objectives and ones with which I agree. Who would not agree with the provision of better health care, improved research capabilities, more effective health care services and a strengthened health care system? All of us in the House would agree with those objectives today.

One of the problems lies in how we get there. How do we achieve these goals? The Liberals have clearly shown us how not to achieve them. They have shown us how to disrupt and break up the Canadian health care system. Because of the current Liberal government's inaction and reduced funding for our health care system it has, in effect, already created a multi-tiered system of service in the country. It is shameful. Canadians know it and they now say that health care is their number one concern.

The process that the Standing Committee on Health worked through for this bill was no different from the process used by most other committees of the House of Commons. The subcommittee reviews what topics and subjects are pertinent. We have our discussion. We decide what we believe are the most important things to discuss. However, we find out then that the health minister has already written his letter to tell us what to do and we simply have to go along with the government majority, which is completely different from the overwhelming desire of Canadians in terms of the issue at hand.

Never mind that these issues greatly affect Canadians. The Liberal majority on the committee simply bends the knee and follows the minister's wishes. Then, of course, the committee goes through the charade of calling witnesses, reviewing pertinent research, amply supplied by the Library of Parliament, and debating parts of the issue.

I do this for the benefit of those who are watching on television and wondering how we get to this point.

After that the committee goes through its paces, whether to interview witnesses, amend the bill or report recommendations to the House of Commons.

Unfortunately, most committees again favour the party line and do not truly listen to the recommendations of opposition members of parliament. Regardless of their validity, it is rare that committee members will adopt amendments put forward by anyone other than a government member.

Such was the case with Bill C-13. Although most members around the table agreed in principle with the bill, numerous amendments were put forward to legitimately improve it. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these were turned down at committee.

The Standing Committee on Health is not unique in these aspects. We have seen the same scenario over and over again. We have watched as the government did not even listen or pretend to listen to the people of British Columbia over the debate on the Nisga'a treaty. It was not until the Reform Party denied the finance committee the opportunity to travel in its prebudget deliberations that the go-ahead was finally given for the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development to do likewise and meet with the people of B.C. Surely it is our job as members of parliament to hear what the people have to say. Even then, the committee blatantly stacked the witness list. Imagine going to the city of Prince George on an issue like this and not hearing from anyone who lives there.

There is a saying: not only must justice be done; justice must appear to be done. The appearance of justice is not apparent in the many dealings that go on in this Chamber. I will refer to yet another example.

We currently have Bill C-2, the elections bill, before the House. As my colleagues and I, and in particular the hon. member for North Vancouver, spoke this week and in the past about the inadequacies of the draft legislation contained within Bill C-2, I was reminded of how many times the government has missed opportunities to improve something. It has failed to grab hold of those opportunities. Bill C-2 could be a vastly improved bill if the government chose to listen and act on the recommendations put forward by opposition parties.

The government fails to recognize that each member represents thousands of people. When the Prime Minister dictates to government members how to vote and what actions to accept and not accept, the wishes of millions of people are blatantly ignored.

To paraphrase, the people of Canada must not only see that we are a democracy, they must see that we are a democracy enacted and fulfilled. On this issue I believe that the government has failed the people of Canada miserably.

Bill C-13 could indeed have had many improvements made to it. The majority of the amendments before us are worthy of true debate and consideration and I hope that members of the House will give them due deliberation. Among these I would include the following.

There is the recognition of provincial jurisdiction in the role of the provision of health care. In far too many instances the government has attempted to manipulate or manage a program or service that has not any legal or constitutional jurisdiction.

I believe that the administrative bureaucracy should be limited to a maximum of 5% of the total budget and use definitions which are normally applied to departments by the Treasury Board.

We need to be certain that the main thrust of this bill ensures that support for health research is based upon scientific merit. Funding should be based upon the validity of the project, not on the basis of employment equity groups or political connections.

We must be certain that research funding methods are accurate and clear.

We must be sure that the clause dealing with ethical issues in this bill is strengthened. Those issues include such topics as biomedical research, reproductive technology, gene therapy and other ethical issues of the future.

We must ensure that there will be a subcommittee for the CIHR which can act as an ombudsman for complaints by researchers and private sector partners.

I believe that there are problems with this bill. In the main, however, I support the bill. I believe that we need to strengthen research in the medical community in Canada. Canada has been a world leader in many areas of medical research, but it needs to take its place in other areas. We need to do what has been suggested through this bill to put together both the framework and the financial resources to bring together medical researchers to work on specific areas.

This bill is a step in the right direction. It will indeed divert the flow of good medical brains that are going to the U.S. The Prime Minister has been quoted as saying that he does not think there is any serious problem in terms of brain drain. Let me say that in the medical profession it is a real problem. I am glad to see that there are some people in the government who have the intestinal fortitude to recognize that brain drain and to do something about it in a bill such as this, which will create the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Because of that I will be supporting this bill.

Canadian Institutes Of Health Research Act
Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, although we worked very hard in committee and I was diligent in my efforts there to improve Bill C-13, I cannot resist mentioning as an aside that we are sad today.

The people watching us must realize that once again the Liberal government has been barbaric with the opposition by imposing time allocation in a most inconsiderate and cavalier manner. That said, I would like to speak to Bill C-13. I would add, incidentally, that the doormat Liberal members from Quebec have once again not risen to defend the interests of Quebec.

Bill C-13 concerns an important issue, that is, the efforts we have to make in research and especially in the biomedical sector.

It is interesting, because in the early 1990s, the Medical Research Council of Canada asked parliamentarians to do, in the biomedical research sector, what had been done in the communications sector in the 1960s, that is make it a leading edge sector. We can understand that, historically, Canada has invested in the communications sector because this is obviously a big country, and necessitates several communications networks working together.

There are three problems with Bill C-13, and they are the focus of our amendments. We do not oppose it. I want to be very very clear and I am all the happier to be clear, with the member for Jonquière by my side here. She has always been interested in such questions because of what goes on in the riding she represents here in the House and will have the opportunity to introduce later on today.

We believe that we must invest massively in biomedical research. We are pleased to see that, next year, $485 million will be allocated for biomedical research.

However, we cannot understand why the provinces were not more closely involved in the drafting of the bill. Sure, the interim governing council included people from Quebec. I am thinking of Mr. Bureau, from the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec and one of Quebec's top experts in the field. There was also Dr. Renaud, a sociologist by profession and chair of the Humanities Research Council of Canada. I hope members from all sides of the House will give them a good hand of applause, because these people were extremely dedicated in establishing the interim governing council.

We are concerned that the bill, in its present form, not only promotes research in the biomedical sector, but is also intrusive. The current wording of the bill alludes at least 15 times, in the 52 clauses, to health research or to health related issues. This creates an opportunity for the federal government to get involved which, unfortunately, is of concern to us.

In its last budget, the Quebec government earmarked $406 million over a two year period. This gives an idea of the scope of the projects. The Quebec government, which is setting up a science and technology department, is allocating $406 million over two years, while the federal government will earmark $500 million a year for all ten provinces. This is to say that Quebec is making considerable structuring efforts to provide a consistent framework, a concerted action plan for its research initiatives.

Would it not have been a good idea—and this is exactly what the amendments before us today are all about and I hope that government members will vote in favour—for the provinces, Quebec for example, which historically has received 33% of Canada's Medical Research Council grants and has trained generations of top-notch biomedical researchers, to be able to provide lists to guide the federal government in its recommendations so that the governing council is truly representative of the people that would have been selected by the provinces? This is what the amendments before us have in mind.

I have been in close touch with the scientific community, and we know that it is not easy to be a researcher. It takes perseverance; generations of equipment must be replaced every 5, 6 or 7 years. We are not opposed to $500 million being invested, particularly in the biomedical research sector, but why stipulate in the bill that there will be a single institute?

I have asked this question again and again. If they want to establish 15 research institutes, which they claim will operate autonomously, why word the bill as if there were a single research institute, with a single governing council, a single series of appointments by the governor in council, as well as equipment and research to order that will become the property of the Crown?

Would it not have been desirable, as my colleague from Jonquière and I indicated to the committee, most assiduously and in a most articulate manner, for us to have a truly decentralized bill?

Once again, the government was not willing to bow to the arguments of the opposition, and that is why today we are here with some thirty-plus amendments. I would ask the parliamentary secretary, the hon. member for Anjou—Rivière-des-Prairies, known in certain circles as “the man with the millions” and who is feigning ignorance, to lend an ear to our arguments and our amendments.

I say again: this is a bill that means a lot to us. There is not a single democrat in this House today whose heart is not heavy. There is not a single democrat in this House today whose thoughts are not for the future, and who does not say “shame on you” to this government, which is making a travesty of democracy and showing its contempt for the opposition and its lack of respect for Quebecers.

Because the government is acting in such a cavalier manner, because we cannot count on the members of this parliament who sit at the Liberal caucus table to defend the referendum act, and because we cannot count on them to defend the extraordinary vitality of the democracy of the National Assembly and its right to decide on the matter, I have no other choice but to move the following, pursuant to Standing Order 60:

That the House do now adjourn.

Canadian Institutes Of Health Research Act
Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Thibeault)

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Canadian Institutes Of Health Research Act
Government Orders

12:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.