House of Commons Hansard #70 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was crime.

Topics

Official Languages
Oral Questions

June 8th, 2009 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, Quebeckers have proudly defended the French language, which is now spoken widely throughout North America. However, more work needs to be done to protect that language.

The people of Quebec must have the right to work in French, whether in a bank or credit union. The Conservatives and the Liberals just voted against that.

Can they explain to Quebeckers why they do not have the right to work in French, in Quebec, regardless of the industry?

Official Languages
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam
B.C.

Conservative

James Moore Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, we respect the provinces' jurisdictions, but we also respect the fact that our Canada has two official languages.

Medical Isotopes
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, three weeks later and still the message from the Minister of Health to the provinces and territories is that they are on their own and they will have to figure out how to get along without isotopes.

All across Canada patients are waiting. Do they have cancer? Has the cancer spread? Is their chest pain really heart disease?

Marilyn Williams, the director of diagnostic imaging at Bluewater Health Foundation in Sarnia, said that her hospital is only able to perform about half the diagnostic tests it would normally do, with a total daily supply down to 10%.

Where is the government's plan to get worried patients the tests they need?

Medical Isotopes
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Nunavut
Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, in 2007 our government and health care providers developed contingency measures to minimize the impact on patients. This includes using alternative isotopes, such as thallium-201, for cardiac scanning.

We are working closely with the experts on medical isotopes who are assessing and assisting in identifying alternatives for provinces and territories. Health Canada is taking every possible step to ensure access to alternative isotopes where possible.

Medical Isotopes
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister is asking these people to practice 20th century medicine in the 21st century.

She knows that the patients are being turned away from hospitals. Tomorrow, the Ottawa Hospital will be out of isotopes. Its corporate manager of nuclear medicine, Alan Thibeau, said that after that, it is anybody's guess because there is nobody out there who can really answer those questions.

Hospitals are looking at a 30% increase in costs because of having to use alternatives. Will the Minister of Health commit to the provinces and territories that she will reimburse every single dollar—

Medical Isotopes
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

The hon. Minister of Health.

Medical Isotopes
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Nunavut
Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, Health Canada has taken measures, providing advance warning to update the provinces as well. Working with isotope medical experts, we are looking at alternatives. Many tests can be completed using other options. What this means for Canadians is that we are making alternatives available so medical isotopes can be used where most needed.

While Health Canada does not regulate the price of pharmaceutical products, including isotopes, we will continue to work with the provinces and territories in addressing the issue.

Medical Isotopes
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives claim that the Dutch, the Australians and now the Belgians will make up for the isotope shortage. We know the Dutch reactor is leaking and it will be down next month for four weeks. The Australian processing plant will not be commissioned for at least 6 to 12 months, meaning no isotopes.

When will the Conservatives be honest with Canadians and admit that for at least the next several months there will be a continuing isotope shortage in and for Canada that is already adversely affecting the health care needs of at least 5,000 Canadians?

Medical Isotopes
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Halton
Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, again, as we have indicated, this is a global issue and we are dealing with our global partners on the matter.

Petten in the Netherlands has indicated it will be increasing production supply by 50%. The Belgian reactor is coming back on line in July. As well, the Australian reactor is accelerating, by five months, opening up its ability to produce medical isotopes. Those are all successes on the basis that Canada is the leader with respect to bringing together this group of world owners of reactors.

Medical Isotopes
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister states that the Dutch or the Australians or the Belgians will make up the isotope shortage across the world.

Is there any guarantee that any of those isotopes will end up in Canada? Can the government offer a guarantee to this House that any isotopes from any of those three countries will ever be guaranteed to come into Canada?

Medical Isotopes
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Halton
Ontario

Conservative

Lisa Raitt Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as the member points out, there is a difference between the medical isotopes being produced at a reactor and those at the end of line with respect to the medical establishment.

Indeed, we are working not only with the reactor groups, we are working with companies in the United States. We had a very important and very successful meeting in the United States on Friday. We are collaborating, and we are working together to deal with this on a continental basis.

Product Labelling
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and his Minister of State (Agriculture) claim that their consultations justify the 98% standard for labelling goods as a product of Canada. It is quite the opposite. Everyone finds this standard unrealistic. We have just learned that, five weeks before announcing the changes with great fanfare, the minister was informed by his officials that very few products could be considered products of Canada.

Can the minister explain why he moved forward after being warned by his officials?

Product Labelling
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Once again, I would like to remind members why the government wants to clarify this situation and establish what is a product of Canada and what is processed in Canada. The purpose is to let consumers know what they are getting.

We moved in this direction after conducting consultations, which does not mean that we ignored the comments of processing associations and others.

Product Labelling
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is evident that the Minister of State (Agriculture) was not briefed.

It is unthinkable and unacceptable that the government is responsible for such serious financial repercussions on the agri-food sector. The minister should set aside his false pride, admit his mistake and correct it immediately.

He should listen to producers, processors, consumers, the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food and even his own officials and make 85% the rule.

Product Labelling
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Jonquière—Alma
Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn Minister of National Revenue and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, once again, we have to take into consideration the entire agri-food processing sector. At present, we have this 98% rule for Canadian content. Consumers know what to expect. I repeat that we will continue to listen and that there will soon be a meeting with representatives of the processing industry. We will delve further into the matter if necessary.