House of Commons Hansard #93 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was epilepsy.

Topics

Safe Streets and Communities Act
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

The House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-278, An Act respecting a day to increase public awareness about epilepsy, as reported (with amendments) from the committee.

Purple Day Act
Private Members' Business

1:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

There being only one motion at report stage, the House will now proceed without debate to the putting of the question on the motion to concur in the bill at report stage.

Purple Day Act
Private Members' Business

1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

moved that the bill, as amended, be concurred in at report stage.

Purple Day Act
Private Members' Business

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

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

Purple Day Act
Private Members' Business

1:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Purple Day Act
Private Members' Business

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

(Motion agreed to)

Purple Day Act
Private Members' Business

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

When shall the bill be read the third time? By leave, now?

Purple Day Act
Private Members' Business

1:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed

Purple Day Act
Private Members' Business

March 9th, 2012 / 1:20 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, how about that indeed. It does not happen around here every day to have unanimous agreement on something like this and to have it move so quickly. I must manage to speak today without bringing tears to my eyes.

I thank members for their ongoing support of the bill. I look forward to marking Purple Day on March 26, even though the bill will not likely be law by then. However, I am hopeful that today we will see it pass the House and go off to the Senate. I hope it goes there very quickly. However, who knows how quickly this act to increase public awareness of epilepsy will in fact move. We will wait and see.

As I said at the health committee recently when the bill was heard there, I was delighted, surprised and even shocked how quickly, after passing second reading here, the health committee decided to hear the bill and consider it. I really appreciate the amendments that were brought forward at that committee to correct some issues with the French language side of the bill.

I am very pleased that amendments were proposed by the hon. members who suggested that some terms should be changed in the French version of the bill; for example, “maladies” should be changed to “conditions” and “pourpre” should be changed to “lavande”. That is the French word used in reference to epilepsy by the Canadian association for this disorder.

I was also very pleased to be in committee with witnesses who know much more about this subject than I do. There was Aurore Therrien, executive director of Épilepsie Montréal Métropolitain, and members of the Canadian Epilepsy Alliance.

Mrs. Iris Elliott of the Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia was there as was Ms. Sarah Ward, a medical student who has quite bit of knowledge and interest in this area and who has done a lot of volunteer work. I appreciated all of them being there.

I am very grateful for the support that all members of House have shown for Bill C-278, the Purple Day bill.

I was also moved by the amazing and touching stories that my colleagues brought forth during second reading debate. I believe we have already had tremendous success in making Canadians aware of epilepsy and how it impacts the lives of thousands of Canadians through this process. It is a great example of how members from all parties can come together. People do not see that very often. They do not realize that it does happen more than they know. Members actually can, when question periods are over, often get along, get things done and make things move. Even in committee, we often have a great deal of co-operation. It is too bad more people do not see that we do come together and put partisan interests aside, as we are in this case, and push for a bill that has an impact on a policeman in Ottawa, a dad in Edmonton or a little girl in my riding of Halifax West.

I think many members now know that in 2008, 9-year-old Cassidy Megan founded Purple Day for epilepsy and started a global trend. In fact, when she had her first epilepsy seizure at the age of 7, she was a bit embarrassed and concerned about the fact that other people around her did not know anything about epilepsy and why she was having this seizure or why she had it. Her classmates obviously would not know what to think of that. Therefore, when she was 9, she talked to her teacher about the idea of having a day for that at the school. It just so happened that the principal picked March 26, and that is the day that has now stuck and is the day that continues to be celebrated as Purple Day.

I hope Cassidy is listening today. She would be pleased, as I am sure we all are, that Canada has been a leader in epilepsy awareness. I am pleased to hear, and I am sure members will all be pleased to hear, that other legislatures, such as the state of New Hampshire and many others around the globe, are following this with Purple Days of their own. I understand that Purple Day is now celebrated in more than 60 countries. How about that? I am sure we will hear more about that as that number continues to grow.

This is an opportunity to remind members and their staff who are often back in their offices around the Hill and are watching or listening to the proceedings that Purple Day this year will be on Monday, March 26, which is the Monday after the break week. I would suggest, just as a thought, that perhaps members' staff should consider putting a note on their calendars for two weeks from today, that would be the Friday of the break week, to remind their members to bring something, a tie, a blouse, whatever, something purple to wear on Monday, March 26. I am hopeful that little reminder will be heard by members and their staff.

I am very happy to be associated with this initiative. However, it is people like Cassidy herself, Aurore, Iris, Sarah and many others who really deserve the credit. Bill C-278 is a direct result of their commitment to this cause and their support of the bill.

The bill is a pretty simple one, as members know. Bill C-278 would help to create public awareness about epilepsy and would officially designate March 26 as Purple Day in Canada. We will ask Canadians to wear purple clothing that day. It is not a legal holiday but it touches a lot of lives. I thank members for their support.

Purple Day Act
Private Members' Business

1:25 p.m.

Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Colin Carrie Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today about Bill C-278, which was introduced by the hon. member for Halifax West.

The bill seeks to establish March 26 as Purple Day in Canada, helping to raise awareness of epilepsy in Canada. On March 26, we can encourage people to wear the colour purple to show their support for people living with this disease.

Purple Day Act
Private Members' Business

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

Order, please. I do not wish to interrupt the hon. parliamentary secretary but I want to remind him that we are in a period for five minutes for questions and comments before we proceed to the next intervention. It sounded like it might have been the hon. parliamentary secretary's presentation.

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health.

Purple Day Act
Private Members' Business

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Halifax West. As he knows, as a young child I was quite clumsy. I had an injury which brought on epilepsy. I was one of the kids the member is trying to raise awareness of. He is trying to help Canadians understand the stigma. When people see someone with epilepsy having a seizure, they do not know what to do. There can be serious consequences for those of us who have suffered seizures.

I wonder if the member could comment on some of the things that the different groups working with epilepsy are doing to help raise awareness in the communities. He brought forward some examples at committee. Could he comment further?

Purple Day Act
Private Members' Business

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I am glad my hon. colleague asked this question. When he talks about being clumsy when he was young, I hope he does not talk to anyone who knew me when I was a kid. I was clumsy at times, perhaps more than I would like. However, I did not have the experience that he did with epilepsy.

I am glad that there are epilepsy associations across the country. They are going into schools, they are finding ways to promote awareness about epilepsy through education and public awareness activities. A variety of measures are being taken at different events. There are fundraisers for Purple Day. The Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia is having a dinner soon. These are all some of the small ways in which people can help to create awareness.

We are doing our part and we must look for more ways to do our part. Members may know that there are little cards that list things to be aware of and what to do when someone has a seizure. I have these cards in my office that I will hand out on Purple Day.

Purple Day Act
Private Members' Business

1:25 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is really a tribute to a grassroots effort that has gone global that we are here today unanimously supporting a bill. It certainly is a pleasure to be united in a non-partisan way. Cassidy Megan deserves a tremendous amount of credit.

One of the ways in our technological age that we check the success of any project is to Google it. The first entry that pops up for Purple Day is the web page of this great organization. People watching at home can check it out and participate in celebrating Purple Day.

My question for the hon. member for Halifax West is what more can we do once we have passed the bill to ensure that we not only mark Purple Day and increase awareness of epilepsy, but take extra steps to make sure that people who are dealing with epilepsy are fully supported in their efforts to educate others?