House of Commons Hansard #49 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was aboriginal.

Topics

Assisted Human Reproduction Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, all these motions are mine so I should address each one of them. I would like the member for Winnipeg North Centre to have the last slot before question period.

The first motion, Motion No. 6, seeks to amend the definition of consent so that the informed consent will detail all of the consent provisions as outlined in the Canadian Institutes of Health Research guidelines, and they are very exhaustive. Currently the bill just says informed consent or consent is as we generally understand in the laws of Canada. Consent, in regard to consent that I know what is going on and all the other details, is far more detailed. I ask members to please consider allowing these guidelines, or what constitutes consent, to be incorporated into the bill so that there is no question that those who want to donate gametes, or have treatments or have embryos used for research will know to what they are consenting.

The second motion is Motion No. 80. It deals with the concept of necessary, as mentioned by the previous speaker. The health committee decided it wanted to define necessary or to say that necessary would be that there was no other ethical alternative to using embryonic stem cells which would achieve the same research objective; in fact not to use embryonic stem cells unless it was the last resort.

Motion No. 80 is precisely what the CIHR guidelines say. I have suggested we put in that the informed consent should incorporate those guidelines and should also require the approval of a research ethics board, those who know that it is all about ethics and would give their approval. Second, there should be a scientific peer review so that people who are in science and in the business would give their blessing that this is useful, constructive research.

Motion No. 81 has to do with the issue of pre-existing embryos, which is very important. Today, Dr. Françoise Baylis, in a abstract article in the Health Law Review , says that there are approximately 500 embryos in Canada that are stored in infertility clinic banks cryogenically. Of those, only about 250 would be available for research. Of those 250, only half would survive the thawing process. In other words, only 125 would be alive after being thawed out. Of the 125, Dr. Baylis then goes on say that only about 9, in their experience, would actually be able to generate stem cell lines that would be identifiable. Of that nine, only about half, or five, would actually develop stem cell lines which would be of a quality that would be useful for research. In summary, only 5 of 500 embryos would be useful for scientific research. How outrageous that we would destroy 495 lives so that we could get 5 stem cell lines. That is absolutely outrageous.

The motion deals with pre-existing embryos. It says that those pre-existing embryos cannot be touched unless all of the informed consent provisions that are currently in the CIHR guidelines have been complied with. The bill is silent on the status of pre-existing embryos, embryos that exist before the bill comes into force. We need some guidelines on what happens to those human beings that presently exist but are frozen.

Motion No. 82 basically says that if researchers applies for an application to use embryos for research, they have to provide the reasons why they are choosing embryonic stem cells and not another source of stem cells. The onus is placed on the researcher. Presently the bill puts the onus on the agency somehow to determine that. It should not try to glean or guess what the researcher wants to do. The researcher should have the onus on demonstrating that they can only use embryonic stem cells not other stem cells.

Motion No. 83 deals with how many embryos are out there. Dr. Baylis has been hired to do a survey of the 24 infertility clinics in Canada to determine how many embryos are out there. Her work is being funded by the Canadian stem cell network and it is funded by the Government of Canada. Therefore we are doing a survey on how many embryos are out there.

Dr. Françoise Baylis believes that there are not enough embryos out there to sustain meaningful research. My motion says that if there is a conclusion that there are not enough embryos out there to do meaningful research, then no licences should be granted to do any research on any embryos. We need those for people to have children. We should not use them for research. No human being should be created or destroyed as part of an experiment.

Motion No. 84 says that there should be no licence without consent of the gamete providers or the embryo provider, unless it is in accordance with the CIHR guidelines. I would be happy to provide members with a copy of those guidelines.

Motion No. 85 says that if the applicants are not people, because a company or an agency could get an licence, they have to designate a person who would be responsible for responding or who would be accountable and to whom they could talk. My motion would say that a person still must be a person who would qualify to be a licensee in his or her own right. We cannot just have anybody getting a licence to play around with human embryos.

Motion No. 86 would let us establish a stem cell bank. It means that if any researchers produce stem cell lines, that a copy of these very replicative stem cell lines can be donated back, as a condition of licensing, to the agency. Should it patent its stem cell lines, the agency still has, not subject to patent, stem cell lines that it could share with other researchers so that it could continue the research and reduce the number of embryos that would have to be destroyed to get more stem cell lines.

Motion No. 88 basically establishes limits. This is a women's health issue for me. It has to establish limits on how many drugs can be given to women. Right now, Dr. Baylis, other doctors and medical professionals who came before the health committee said that we were already drugging women to the max. These drugs are like chemotherapy to women. It changes their bodies and makes them hyperovulate so that they make available many more eggs than just the one they normally would produce every month. Now they are harvesting as many as 25 eggs, when probably only 10 would be absolutely necessary for reproductive purposes for IVF, which means that implicitly they must be producing surplus embryos for research. The bill says that eggs cannot be produced for research, but it is happening anyway.

We need to prescribe limits on how many eggs can be harvested, how many eggs can be fertilized and how many eggs can be implanted. They are implanting, for example, five to seven embryos in a woman who wants IVF. If more than one gets implanted and takes, then they do a fetal reduction. They go in and kill that implanted embryo because the party only wants one child, not two. We are implanting too many embryos into women. We have to set limits. Right now the experts say that it probably only takes three or four, based upon the level of technology that they have right now. We should have limits. It is a women's health issue. It is a life issue. It is a moral and ethical issue.

Motion No. 89 basically changes a word from “may” to “shall”. I do not believe that this should be optional. We either do something or not. Members might want to look at the issue. I believe it should be mandatory, that we shall do something.

Finally, Motion No. 90 adds a clause which basically says that certain decisions made by the agency may be appealed.

I believe I have kept within my time so that the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre can have ample time to make her points. I thank the members for their interest and I ask for their support on the motions in this group.

Assisted Human Reproduction Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ken Epp Elk Island, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I believe the mover of all these motions referred to Motion No. 84, but if I am not mistaken, you did not call Motion No. 84. I would like to have a verification of that.

Assisted Human Reproduction Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

Order, please. The hon. member for Mississauga South was right in talking about Motion No. 84. Another mistake has been made. It was not included in the Group No. 5 motions that I read just before this debate started. I will do it now.

Assisted Human Reproduction Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

seconded by the member for Souris--Moose Mountain moved:

Motion No. 84

That Bill C-13, in Clause 40, be amended by adding after line 8 on page 21 the following:

“(3.2) The Agency shall not issue a licence under subsection (1) for embryonic stem cell research unless it has received the written consent of the original gamete providers and the embryo provider in accordance with the Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research Guidelines released by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in March, 2002, as specified in the regulations.”

Assisted Human Reproduction Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

I thank the hon. member for Elk Island for pointing this out. To the hon. member for Mississauga South, Motion No. 84 is now included in Group No. 5.

Assisted Human Reproduction Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Réal Ménard Hochelaga—Maisonneuve, QC

Mr. Speaker, I believe that Group No. 5 gives me the opportunity to comment on what constitutes the Bloc Quebecois' main concern regarding Bill C-13.

With the sense of responsibility that has always characterized our party, we will vote in favour of Bill C-13. We understand it is important to put this ambiguity to rest and end the legislative vacuum that made practices such as cloning possible, such as those that gave us a scare right before the holidays.

We cannot ignore the fact that Bill C-13 clearly interferes in an extremely important area of provincial jurisdiction, that being health, of course.

I would like to inform the House that the very likeable and engaging Minister Legault sent a letter to the Minister of Health. Incidentally, he is one of the best ministers ever to have held this portfolio. Minister Legault indicated that the creation of the Assisted Human Reproduction Agency of Canada, with an operating budget of $10 million, is a significant encroachment on provincial jurisdiction.

I tried to tell the minister and the parliamentary secretary that we could very easily have split the bill in two. The Bloc Quebecois would have been very happy to vote on this matter a few weeks, a few months or even a few years ago. The member for Drummond had introduced a bill on this matter as early as 1995.

We could have dealt with a bill consisting only of sections 5, 6, 7 and 8 on the 13 prohibited activities, including cloning. That could have been the crux of the bill. But, unfortunately, in keeping with the Romanow report, the government has decided to use health to do some nation building.

If the Assisted Human Reproduction Agency of Canada is established the day after the bill is passed, we will have identified 14 fundamental pieces of legislation for Quebec under which there would be very serious discrepancies.

This is true for the Civil Code. The Civil Code bans compensating a surrogate mother, even with receipts and for any reason. In Bill C-13, surrogate mothers could be compensated under certain conditions with, of course, supporting documents.

This is not consistent with Quebec civil law. The government is using its power under section 91(27) of the Criminal Code to intervene.

It is inconsistent with Quebec's Civil Code and also with its Bill 112, an act respecting health services and social services. If Bill C-13 were passed, all the conditions governing where assisted reproductive technology services can be provided will be subject to additional regulation, and have to be recognized by the national assembly under Bill 112.

Mr. Speaker, I sense your impatience. When you get impatient, we all get a bit jumpy. Therefore, I will stop here with the knowledge that you will recognize me later.

Volunteerism
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

John Harvard Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate one of my constituents, Mr. Bob Harvey, for his outstanding efforts on behalf of the Canadian Executive Service Organization.

Mr. Harvey is currently in Jelgava, Latvia, working with a government owned health insurance company to assist with the development of new health care legislation. Mr. Harvey has also been conducting seminars on health care issues and to emphasize the need for improvements to the Latvian health care system.

Bob Harvey, a dedicated hardworking volunteer, is typical of the Canadian Executive Service Organization. Volunteers such as Mr. Harvey are truly outstanding Canadians.

Marine Technology Competition
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Val Meredith South Surrey—White Rock—Langley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the accomplishments of three teenage constituents of mine who placed third at a marine technology competition held at the Kennedy Space Centre last fall.

Sisters Beckie-Anne and Sarah Thain, and Virginia Davis have now qualified for a June competition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology against high school and college teams from across the United States.

These three girls, who are only 14 and 15 years old, designed and built a remotely operated vehicle and at MIT will have to pilot their craft through a scale model of the Titanic. Such innovation is truly remarkable in people so young. It is an indication of the potential that Canadian youth possess.

In the House we often hear stories of the negative side of Canadian youth and it is truly a pleasure to acknowledge the positive efforts of these three young women.

I am sure all my colleagues will join me in wishing Beckie-Anne, Sarah and Virginia the best of luck in the MIT competition in June and in expressing our pride in their accomplishments thus far.

National Parks
Statements By Members

January 30th, 2003 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, like others, I was delighted that the Speech from the Throne committed to create 10 new national parks and five more marine conservation areas. It also committed to the expansion of three existing parks and an expansion of parks funding.

For a number of years I have been pressing for measures of this type. I have taken a particular interest in marine parks, as we Canadians are custodians of an undersea area equivalent to 50% of our huge land mass.

I rise now to commend the government and its commitments in the Speech from the Throne and to urge that they be fully funded in the budget. As Canadians we have a very special responsibility for a huge and diverse area. Let us live up to those responsibilities.

Community Access Centres
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Yvon Charbonneau Anjou—Rivière-Des-Prairies, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to announce the opening of seven community access centres in the federal riding of Laurier—Sainte-Marie to the tune of $119,000.

The community access program, which has been in operation since 1995, has funded more than 8,800 community access centres in Canada.

This program, implemented in cooperation with community organizations, the private sector and provincial and municipal governments, provides thousands of Canadians with affordable Internet access in places such as schools, community centres and libraries.

This program is also part of the federal government's Youth Employment Strategy.

Our community partners are essential to the success of this program. They help us not only by identifying the needs of the community in terms of information technologies, but also by acquiring resources, expertise and the sponsorships needed to set up and operate the centres.

We applaud them for their commitment.

Super Bowl 2003
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, there were an estimated one billion TV viewers of Super Bowl 2003 which featured at least two touchdowns scored by Canadians. Canadian superstar Céline Dion scored her major touchdown before the actual game began with her beautiful rendition of God Bless America. The second major touchdown was scored by Shania Twain, the Canadian superstar who led the halftime show.

Despite the orchestrated rhetoric that has bellowed out from some politicians and some Canadian news sources continually criticizing the United States, the producers of the Super Bowl ignored the insults and chose the world's best for this world class event.

Our thanks to the producers of the Super Bowl who looked for and used the recognized world's best: Canadians.

World Junior Hockey Championships
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Tony Tirabassi Niagara Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the young men who so admirably represented Canada in the World Junior Hockey Championships in Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia from December 26 to January 5. Under head coach Marc Habscheid, Team Canada became stronger and stronger throughout the tournament proving that they were the team to beat. Although they fell short of their own expectations of gold, the rest of Canada was cheering them as they won the silver medal with hard work, true grit and determination.

One of my constituents, left winger Daniel Paillé from the city of Welland, was a member of this truly successful team. I know that he will display his silver medal with great pride.

Please join me in congratulating the entire team on their outstanding performance.

Antonia Stirpe
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Mrs. Antonia Stirpe, a longtime resident of York West who recently passed away.

As a young woman, Antonia came to Canada from Italy. She was married to Emilio for 67 years. Together they raised four children, Elisa, Franco, Maria and Bruno. She lived to take pleasure in her 12 wonderful grandchildren and her 18 great grandchildren.

Antonia was a proud Canadian. Like so many immigrants, she loved her adopted country and raised her children with the same sense of loyalty, humility and pride.

A modest and hardworking woman, Antonia was beloved by all who met her. She was a lively member of the Italian community and always took part in the activities organized by the Italian-Canadian groups and her family.

Sadly, Antonia was stricken with Alzheimer's for the past 15 years.

She will be missed by her family, her friends and by all those who knew her. Please join me in conveying our deepest regrets.

Canada Labour Code
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Laurentides, QC

Mr. Speaker, by refusing to amend the Canada Labour Code to ban the use of scabs, the federal government continues to say no to civilized negotiations during labour disputes.

The Prime Minister says he is using the legislation in Quebec as a model to correct the weaknesses in the political party financing legislation; he should apply the same approach to the Canada Labour Code and include anti-scab measures, which have existed in Quebec for more than 25 years.

I would like to remind the Prime Minister that in 1990, when his party was in the opposition, he had supported the Bloc Quebecois initiative calling for the implementation of such a measure.

Anti-scab measures in the current labour market are not a luxury; they are a necessity that would encourage greater openness during labour disputes like the ones going on at Cargill, Vidéotron and Radio-Nord.

It is high time for this government to put words into action. Workers can count on my determination and the determination of the Bloc Quebecois to remind the government of this.

Heart Disease Awareness Month
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Jeannot Castonguay Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to inform the House and Canadians that February is Heart Disease Awareness Month.

Heart disease, the leading cause of death in Canada, is responsible for 36% of all deaths in Canada, approximately 80,000 Canadians, each year. This is a terrible toll.

Health Canada is proud of its 15-year collaboration with the Canadian Heart Health Initiative, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Canadian Coalition for High Blood Pressure Prevention and Control, and numerous other organizations dedicated to encouraging healthy living for Canadians.

By eating right, keeping physically active and not smoking, we can control the major risk factors and prevent or slow down the onset of this disease.

By working together, we can reach our objective of eliminating this modern epidemic of heart disease and improve the quality of life of all Canadians.