House of Commons Hansard #143 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was compensation.

Topics

Budget Implementation Act, 2001
Government Orders

7 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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

Budget Implementation Act, 2001
Government Orders

7 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried. Accordingly the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Finance.

(Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

The House resumed from February 8 consideration of the motion that Bill S-22, an act to provide for the recognition of the Canadian Horse as the national horse of Canada, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

National Horse of Canada Act
Private Members' Business

February 18th, 2002 / 7 p.m.

The Speaker

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at second reading stage of Bill S-22 under private members' business.

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

National Horse of Canada Act
Private Members' Business

7:10 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.

(Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

National Horse of Canada Act
Adjournment Proceedings

7:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise again to speak to an issue I raised in October with respect to the drug Cipro. It reflected a lack of respect for the law when the then Minister of Health totally disregarded Canada's patent laws and purchased drugs which were not approved for use in Canada because a patent was already held by another company. The then Minister of Health is a former justice minister and now ironically the minister in charge of patent law in Canada.

The patent law is like the approach the Liberals have taken to GST and free trade. They campaigned against them but changed their minds as soon as they were elected. It means nothing to the Liberals to campaign against issues or policies and then change their minds.

Returning to the question I asked in October, the minister said twice in the House that there were two different versions to the Cipro story. I asked if he would indicate what the two versions were and what the correct answer was. I hope I can get an answer to the question tonight.

The question again is: What were the two versions and what is the correct answer?

National Horse of Canada Act
Adjournment Proceedings

7:15 p.m.

Madawaska—Restigouche
New Brunswick

Liberal

Jeannot Castonguay Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I will try to shed some light on this for the hon. member.

First, at the time we were in what many have described as a crisis. I think it is important today to remember what the context was back then.

The minister made a statement and I will reiterate it for him. He makes no apology for the actions of his officials. At the time, officials took steps to ensure that appropriate levels of antibiotics would be available for Canadians to protect them in the event of a biological attack involving anthrax. That was the situation we then faced.

The House knows very well that the affidavits of officials at Health Canada are within the public domain. They show quite clearly that Bayer was contacted not once, but twice, to supply the national emergency stockpile system with the antibiotic Cipro, but that Bayer could not supply the Cipro.

The obvious question then is this: If Bayer could provide enough of the antibiotic to ensure the health security of Canadians, why would Health Canada officials have to look elsewhere to secure the supply?

The only logical answer is that Bayer had said that they could not supply the Cipro. If Bayer could have supplied this antibiotic, Health Canada would not have had to seek a source of the antibiotic Cipro elsewhere.

In fact, it is Health Canada's responsibility to guarantee the security of the citizens of Canada by protecting the health of all Canadians. It is Health Canada's responsibility to ensure that sufficient quantities of health service supplies are available for Canadians in times of emergencies. Health Canada secured a supply of antibiotics for Canadians on Canadian soil.

Health Canada has taken measures to deal with a potential anthrax attack. The national emergency stockpile system is stockpiling the following drugs that are usually effective against a variety of organisms: Ciprofloxacin, Doxycycline-including Vibramycin-Amoxicillin, Tetracycline and Penicillin. The target number is 100,000 Canadians, while it was only 40,000 a bit earlier, before this crisis occurred.

These drugs are recommended as standard treatments for this infection by leading American health authorities, including the Centre for Disease Control, NATO and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

In the United States, it is the most recommended drug for this disease, although it can cause side effects like any good medication, which is why we keep in our Canadian reserves other kinds of medication in order to be able to deal with this situation, if need be.

Instead of impugning the integrity of public servants who were acting in good faith at the time, we should congratulate those public servants for making the right decisions in a time of crisis.

National Horse of Canada Act
Adjournment Proceedings

7:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, I was not casting down on the officials who did this as the interpreter said. I was asking a simple question. The minister said in the House there were two versions of what happened. I asked what they were and which was the correct version.

We are not arguing there was a crisis or anything. We understand there was a crisis and the minister had to react. However, will the Minister of Health break the law in the future if there is a crisis? There are other alternatives but the easy way is to break the law. That is what happened in this case.

National Horse of Canada Act
Adjournment Proceedings

7:20 p.m.

Liberal

Jeannot Castonguay Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, in fact, the member wants to know which of the statements made at that time is the right version.

Twice calls were made to Bayer to find out if it could supply Cipro, and it could not do it at that time. Again, the minister wanted to make sure that we had the drug needed to deal with a potential anthrax attack. We had to be certain that we had this drug should we face such an attack.

So the right version is that two calls were indeed made to Bayer, and the company could not meet our needs. Later it said that it could supply the drug to us in less than 48 hours, should we need it.

National Horse of Canada Act
Adjournment Proceedings

7:20 p.m.

The Speaker

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 7.21 p.m.)