House of Commons Hansard #92 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

An hon. member

On division.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

(Motion agreed to)

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Allison Niagara West—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have addressed the House on numerous occasions, defending the traditional definition of marriage. Today I rise in the House to present petitions on behalf of the constituents of my riding, Niagara West--Glanbrook, pursuant to Standing Order 36.

The petitioners urge the Parliament of Canada to maintain the traditional definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. These petitions are a small sample of the overwhelming correspondence I have received and continue to receive demanding the traditional definition of marriage. While I have received over 10,000 pieces of correspondence directly from my constituents, I have also received thousands more from Canadians coast to coast.

I remind my fellow hon. members from all parties to respect their democratic duty to follow the wishes of their constituents in this matter.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Prentice Calgary North Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, juvenile diabetes creates many devastating health consequences, not only with a huge human cost but a large financial burden for the Canadian health care system and the economy as a whole, costing Canadians in excess of $10 billion annually, making this one of the nation's most costly illnesses and indeed one of the nation's saddest illnesses. Today approximately 200,000 Canadians suffer from type I diabetes and these rates are increasing. Insulin is not a cure.

I am happy to table a petition today calling upon the government to direct funding of research, specifically targeted to juvenile type I diabetes.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Liberal

Walt Lastewka St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I wish to deposit petitions bringing to the attention of the House that the definition of the House be the lifelong union between one man and one woman. These petitions are from the Hamilton and Niagara area.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Thompson St. Croix—Belleisle, NB

Mr. Speaker, I have yet another petition to present from the citizens of Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick. They are opposed to the construction of an LNG terminal in Eastport, Maine.

One could argue or question why we would have a petition against a project outside of our jurisdiction. The LNG project in Eastport, Maine can only proceed if LNG tankers are allowed to navigate through Head Harbour passage, which is Canadian sovereign territory.

Our petitioners are asking the Government of Canada to say no to the transport of LNG tankers through that very dangerous passage. In fact it is rated as one of the most dangerous shipping passages in all of Canada. They are saying that we should exercise our sovereignty rights and not allow this to happen.

To conclude, they are saying that we should protect the fisheries, protect tourism and the natural wonders that make their area special.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition today on behalf of my riding of Mississauga South, signed by a large number of Canadians, on the subject of marriage.

The petitioners would like to draw to the attention of the House that the fundamental matters of social policy should be decided by elected members of Parliament and not by the unelected judiciary, and that the majority of Canadians support the current legal definition of marriage.

The petitioners therefore call upon Parliament to use all possible legislative and administrative measures, including the invocation of section 33 of the charter, commonly known as the notwithstanding clause, to preserve and protect the current definition of marriage as between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:50 p.m.

Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca
B.C.

Liberal

Keith Martin Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:50 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

12:50 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I wish to inform the House that because of the ministerial statement government orders will be extended by 19 minutes.

The House resumed from May 3 consideration of the motion in relation to the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-29, an act to amend the Patent Act.

Patent Act
Government Orders

May 5th, 2005 / 12:50 p.m.

Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca
B.C.

Liberal

Keith Martin Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, it is a real privilege to speak on this particular issue which is close to my heart. Having been to Africa and seen the devastation wrought by an absence of primary health care in these countries, the devastation that AIDS has wrought, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, I want to say how important this bill is to some of the most impoverished, challenged and threatened people in the world.

If we look at the world right now, particularly developing countries, one of the top three challenges that developing countries have is: how do they get basic medications; how do they get medications that will save lives, prevent deformities from occurring, and just prevent people from becoming disabled.

In my experience I have seen this up close and personal in very tragic ways. Can members imagine that the absence of a few dollars for antibiotics could save a person's life, a person's limb, a person's hand, enable them to live a life, be employed, and be integrated as opposed to being shunned, dying, begging, getting sick or even dying? But that is what happens.

After receiving a simple cut that has become infected, we go to the doctor, get a prescription, and receive medications. If we were to go to many developing countries, the absence of $5.00 of medications would do this: the cut becomes infected, the infection becomes septic, and then the doctors on the ground, if that person is lucky enough to see a doctor, have a decision to make, do they amputate that limb or do they let the person die? The absence of $5.00 of antibiotics causes this crisis.

Having seen it, it is profoundly tragic to see people, young people, who have had their legs and arms amputated in the absence of $5.00 of antibiotics that could be made for pennies. That is what we are speaking about here.

I want to move to the fact that people getting cuts in developing countries get simple illnesses that become fatal. The absence of those basic medications causes such trauma and such devastation that it results in mortality and morbidity figures that are well beyond what we would ever come to accept as being rational. This is the challenge that we are faced with.

This bill would enable Canada to take a leading role in ensuring that basic medications would get to developing countries to save those people's lives.

Can members imagine not having our children immunized? I have been to developing countries where measles, mumps and rubella are still a factor. We have just seen that polio has had a resurgence, and I have seen some cases. Can members imagine what would happen if we did not have medications in our own country? That is the reality of hundreds of millions of people, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa where more than 750 million people live. The absence of basic medications results in the death of babies, children, adults, and mortality and morbidity figures that would be unthinkable.

Preventable diseases are not prevented. Simply treatable diseases are not treated. People die or are maimed as a result of that, causing devastating effects in those countries.

We know, for example, that in sub-Saharan Africa there are countries where up to 50% or more of the people are HIV positive. In Botswana 52% of the female population between the ages of 16 and 25 are HIV positive. That results in a massive death rate and a sea of orphans. Teachers are being wiped out on the continent. Who teaches children? Adults are being wiped out of the working force which is eviscerating the economic potential and abilities of these countries to get on their feet. All for the absence of a rational prevention mechanism, the absence of condoms and the absence of antiretrovirals that not only prevent the transmission from mother to baby but also prevents these people from living lives that could go on for much longer.

The cost of ARVs have gone down quite substantially and, as a result, this is something that is imminently doable. All it requires is for the international community to get behind this.

The bill should be passed forthwith. It would be an extraordinary example to the world, particularly in view of the fact that the G-8 summit will be taking place in Scotland this summer. It is important that the House pass the bill quickly, so that we can go to the G-8 summit and let it know what Canada has done so other countries could follow suit.

An intriguing proposal has come forward from Health Partners International of Canada in Montreal. This proposal would give a $7 million tax incentive to pharmaceutical companies. We would then get from the pharmaceutical companies the equivalent of over $132 million worth of needed medications. Those medications would be driven not by what pharmaceutical companies want to give, but by what countries demand. The medications would be demand driven by the countries.

Pharmaceutical companies are on side to do this. A $7 million tax incentive would enable them to give $132 million worth of basic medications which would save thousands of lives. A similar process is occurring in the U.K. right now with pharmaceutical companies there. It would be wonderful if we could take this plan to the G-8 summit and make it happen.

A lot of exciting things are happening in my government. This particular bill is not only innovative, but I would suggest that it is inspirational. It is inspirational because it deals with one of the most pressing, challenging and important problems affecting the poorest people in the world. Bill C-29 would provide basic medications to the people most in need in the world, so they can work, go to school, and their children can live and grow up. Bill C-29 would save lives.

I hope all opposition parties will support this legislation because at the end of the day it will save lives. What could be more important than that?

Patent Act
Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is quite evident that a bill such as this is reflective of the important business that Parliament is expected to work on. It flows from the same kind of initiatives included in our budget and in other initiatives. Bill C-29 is a bill which Canadians feel strongly should receive swift passage.

The member is well travelled and has been very active on the file. The plight of the unfortunate around the world has been a significant preoccupation of the government for many years. The principles which Canadians would like to see us reflect in the activities that we do abroad include such things as helping those most in need. That is why I am a Liberal. Our first priority is to help those most in need first.

I would like the member to comment philosophically on why he believes it is important for generous and prosperous countries such as Canada to make contributions internationally for the well-being of the citizens of other less fortunate countries, particularly children, and how that translates into long term benefits to Canada itself.

Patent Act
Government Orders

1 p.m.

Liberal

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, perhaps I can encapsulate it in one statement: There is only one race and that is the human race. We are all part of that one race.

As my friend mentioned, we are very privileged to live in a country that enjoys a very high standard of living. We have the best economy in the world right now. Most Canadians would recognize that not only do we extend a hand out to help those in our own country but we also go out to help those who are most impoverished.

We want to ensure that we do not somehow engender a system of dependency abroad. Extraordinarily, 40% of the world's natural resources are in sub-Saharan Africa. The people there are innovative, intelligent, extremely hardworking and dynamic. All that they require is an opportunity. They are subjected to torture, murder and the abuses of leaders who engage in actions that utterly violate the basic tenets of the code of international human rights to which most countries adhere. All they want is the same chances and opportunities that we have.

Through the international policy statement and by integrating defence, diplomacy, development and trade, we want to work in an integrated fashion to work with these countries and liberate their natural resources, so that those resources can be poured back in for their infrastructure and their health care.

We also want to increase capacities on the ground and that is where the Canada Corps comes in. The Canada Corps can be an institution that taps into the professional capabilities that we have here, from the young retirees to the young professionals who want to work abroad. Imagine if we got the Canadian Medical Association, nursing associations, the Veterinary Medical Association, agricultural groups, teachers associations and the universities together, so that those who wished could provide that expertise on the ground in developing countries and to provide the capacities on the ground that they so desperately need.

By encouraging and engendering that capacity on the ground with the resources those countries already have, with good governance those resources can be utilized for the betterment of the people and their countries, and then we will end the poverty that is occurring in these areas. We will end the cycle of poverty and dependence that occurs in some of these countries. That is the end game that people want.

There are obstacles, but we have solutions and ideas to implement and breathe life into those ideas. We will do it at the G-8. We are doing it at the United Nations. We are doing it with the AU. This is a very exciting time to be in foreign policy. It is a very exciting time to be in Canada. We look forward to implementing the best ideas in the House for the betterment of those who are most underprivileged in the world.