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  • His favourite word is anaphylaxis.

Conservative MP for Niagara West—Glanbrook (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 57.30% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Ebola Outbreak September 15th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I understand that Canada has been working on an experimental vaccine. I am just wondering if the hon. member could talk a little bit about what has been done with regard to that vaccination.

Ebola Outbreak September 15th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, in terms of the $2 million, I would like to repeat what has been committed so far just to remind our friends at home who are watching.

As I mentioned, there are over $5 million to stop the outbreak, which includes $2.95 million to the WHO to strengthen field response to the outbreak and mitigate associated threats to health and safety, $1.7 million to support humanitarian interventions led by Doctors Without Borders to reduce and control the spread of the virus in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and to provide care for those affected, $160,000 to the International Federation of Red Cross to support the response to the outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone through its emergency disaster assistance fund and $200,000 to the WHO through the international health grants program to support a request for assistance toward operational costs in West Africa and the coordination and deployment of international technical expertise.

The question the member just asked me is in addition to the amount that was announced tonight, the $2 million, by the minister for personal protective equipment. Once again, that was a request made by the international community just last week and here we are responding within the week. That would be to provide gowns, gloves and a number of things that would keep the workers safe as they essentially put their lives on the line in dealing with these cases and work with people who are affected.

That $2 million will be very helpful in terms of personal protective equipment to help the workers, the people on the ground, to deal with the affected people.

Ebola Outbreak September 15th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague and I work well together on the foreign affairs committee, so it is great to see her in the House tonight in this debate.

I want to address the first question in terms of losing the battle with regard to more resources. Not being an expert, I do not know how much money we would need. You mentioned $600 million in your second question. I know that you are aware of the money that Canada has committed, the $5 million. Just tonight, about an hour or so ago, the Minister of Health announced an additional $2 million for personal protective equipment. That is a good start.

One thing we need to continue to do is work with the international community, because it has to be a collaborative effort. If it was to be $600 million, that seems like a huge number, but as we continue to work with our partners on the ground and with the WHO, we can figure out what the needs will continue to be in the coming days.

Ebola Outbreak September 15th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to speak to the House on Ebola and the tragedy unfolding in West Africa. I will be splitting my time with the member for Kootenay—Columbia.

Colleagues, West Africa is currently experiencing a devastating Ebola outbreak. This outbreak of Ebola has been ongoing in West Africa since December 2013 and was officially declared an outbreak in March 2014 by the World Health Organization. On August 8, 2014, the World Health Organization declared Ebola a public health emergency of international concern.

The Government of Canada is closely monitoring the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and we are also working closely with our international partners to support a coordinated response. Our thoughts are with the citizens of the countries affected by Ebola, as well as with Canadians who have loved ones in those countries or who are working there as part of the international Ebola response effort.

I would like members of Parliament and all Canadians to understand that the risk of Ebola in Canada remains very low. There has never been a case of Ebola in this country. However, people may rest assured that we are well prepared should this occur. The Public Health Agency of Canada continues to work with the provinces and territories to plan and prepare for the rare chance that Ebola is ever imported into Canada by travellers from an affected area.

The Government of Canada has a number of systems in place to identify and prevent the importation of the Ebola virus into Canada. The Canada Border Services Agency and the Public Health Agency work together to ensure that travellers from affected countries are healthy when they arrive in Canada and are aware of actions they should take if they begin to experience symptoms of illness.

I would like to take a few moments to provide more background information on what exactly Ebola is and how it is transmitted to humans.

Ebola is a severe viral disease that causes hemorrhagic fever in humans and animals. Hemorrhagic fevers are infectious diseases that can be associated with severe and life-threatening bleeding as well as severe dehydration and organ failure.

It is important to note that the Ebola virus does not spread easily from person to person. Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the body fluids of infected animals. In Africa, fruit bats are considered a possible natural host for the Ebola virus.

Although contact with infected animals results in the introduction of the infection to humans, once contracted by humans, Ebola spreads in the community through human-to-human transmission. Unlike the flu or other respiratory infectious diseases, it is not airborne and cannot be transmitted through casual contact. In the current outbreak in West Africa, the spread occurs primarily among close contacts and family caregivers and as a result of local customs such as burial rituals.

The incubation period for Ebola, meaning the time between exposure and the onset of symptoms, varies between two and 21 days. Infected persons become contagious only when they have symptoms. Although infected, they are not contagious during the incubation period.

Ebola is a challenging disease to diagnose, as it has a wide range of common symptoms associated with a number of illnesses in Africa, such as malaria. It can only be medically confirmed through specialized laboratory testing.

As I mentioned earlier, Ebola does not spread easily from person to person. It is spread through direct contact with infected blood and bodily fluids. In Canada there has never been a confirmed case of Ebola. In the unlikely event Ebola is ever imported into the country, our hospitals have sophisticated infection control systems and procedures in place that are designed to limit the spread of the infection, protect health care workers, and provide the best care possible for the patient.

At this point I would like to give an overview of the current situation in Africa.

The current outbreak began in Guinea in December 2013 and spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia, prompting the WHO to announce the outbreak in March 2014. The virus continues to be actively transmitted in these three countries.

There has been a very limited spread of Ebola into Nigeria and Senegal, associated with single travellers from Liberia and Guinea respectively. We are optimistic for the containment of spread within these two countries due to the infection prevention and control measures that have been put into place.

In Nigeria there have been 21 cases associated with the initial traveller from Liberia, and eight deaths. In Senegal there has been only one travel-related case reported, and that individual has since recovered. No further cases have thus far been reported.

The good news is that countries around the world are rallying together to respond to the outbreak. The international response to Ebola is gaining momentum, and Canada has been an important part of this response since the beginning. Canada has contributed over $5 million in support of humanitarian, security, and public health interventions to address the spread of Ebola.

To prevent the spread of the disease to other countries, affected countries have implemented measures such as questionnaires and temperature monitoring to ensure that individuals who have been exposed to or infected by Ebola are not able to board flights. To date, there has been no spread of Ebola by travellers outside of Africa and there has not been a single case of Ebola contracted on a plane.

Ebola first appeared in 1976, and outbreaks have since been primarily occurring in remote villages in Central and West Africa near tropical rain forests. This current outbreak is the largest one on record.

There are a number of complex factors and significant challenges related to the management of this current outbreak that I would like to share with the House.

First, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia, the countries most affected in the current outbreak, are small countries and have limited resources to respond to prolonged outbreaks, especially in rural areas. The fact that Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have multiple areas within their borders where infection is spreading adds another layer of difficulty in containing the infection.

When the outbreak takes place in remote and forested areas, it is easier to maintain a certain natural containment of the disease. However, in this current outbreak, in addition to remote regions, infections are also happening in large cities, where transmission of disease can affect many people in a short timeframe.

Among other things, miscommunication has also contributed to the negative perception by some communities of the success of outbreak control strategies, thus slowing down response efforts. Variations in health care infrastructure from one country to another and certain cultural practices such as burial rituals also add to the complexity of the outbreak and its containment.

As the outbreak has expanded and gained momentum, measures that have been put into place to contain its spread have also had an impact on relief efforts. Movement of people into and out of affected countries has been curtailed by travel restrictions implemented by affected countries as well as by the suspension of flights by regional and international airlines. These measures have created challenges in transporting scientists and laboratory specimens and in the replenishment of equipment and supplies necessary for the response.

Despite these challenges, international efforts continue, and many countries, including Canada, are exploring alternate ways to contribute to the outbreak response. I would like to take a moment to especially recognize the tremendous contributions non-governmental organizations have made in response to the outbreak in West Africa, including Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross, and Samaritan's Purse, among others.

It is important for Canadians to know that the risk posed by Ebola to Canadians remains very low, as the virus is not transmissible through casual contact and robust systems are in place to prevent importation. Canadians should also know that the Government of Canada is supporting the international response in West Africa to reduce the risk of international spread of this serious disease.

Let me finish by reassuring the House that the Government of Canada is committed to the health and safety of Canadians and will continue to work closely with its international partners to support the response. The Public Health Agency of Canada, in collaboration with its provincial, territorial, and health system partners, remains committed to review and update the domestic health emergency management and response system to ensure the highest degree of public health possible for Canadians.

Canada-Honduras Economic Growth and Prosperity Act June 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague from Toronto Centre made reference to Honduras and the fact that her party supports the deals.

When I sat on the trade committee, I had the opportunity to go to Colombia and meet with President Uribe and his cabinet. He talked about how important trade was in assisting Colombia in diversifying its economy from guns and drugs and all these other things.

Colombia still faces a lot of challenges. My colleagues in the NDP said to figure out the human rights part first and assess whether a country deserves to trade with us. My challenge with that idea is that in that case, we would maybe never give countries like Colombia and Honduras the opportunity to diversify what they are doing.

I would ask my colleague to reiterate the importance of some of these developing countries and why it is important for us to do deals with them to help them to diversify and build up their economies.

Petitions June 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition from the Millennium Kids organization, with hundreds of signatures. Some of the members are with us here today, sitting in the gallery. It has done a tremendous job collecting signatures across Canada.

The petitioners ask the Government of Canada to continue in its commitment to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

Points of Order June 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

There have been consultations and I believe you will find unanimous consent for the House to revert back to presenting petitions, for the sole purpose of presenting two petitions on the topic mentioned earlier in my statement pursuant to Standing Order 31.

Millennium Kids June 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, Canadians took great pride in the work of the Prime Minister and the government last week as Canada focused the world's attention on the important area of mothers', newborns', and children's health.

We were able to bring together world leaders, members of civil society, and very importantly, young people.

Millennium Kids has done a fantastic job in collecting signatures. Over the last couple of weeks, I have received a number of its petitions, which I tabled earlier today.

These young men and women are rallying support for nations to meet the millennium development goals and to achieve 0.7% aid to GNP spending on foreign assistance.

I understand many children are tuning in across Canada in classrooms, and for those who made the trek to Ottawa, I want to congratulate them on their efforts.

Later this day I will be seeking the consent of the House to table the petition received from Millennium Kids.

Petitions June 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a number of petitions from the Millennium Kids organization. Some of the members will be here with us later today. They have done a great job in collecting signatures from across Canada.

The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to continue with its commitment to meet the millennium development goals by 2015.

Committees of the House May 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague across the way who sits on the foreign affairs committee. As a committee, we work very well together on some of the issues we are studying. As I mentioned before, we have been looking at things such as Syria and Ukraine. We are now working on the protection of children and young people, as a new study.

He talks about recommendation 2(f), which, once again, would:

Ensure that all reasonable OAS activities related to the promotion and protection of democratic governance and human rights are fully, consistently and predictably funded.

One of the things we looked at was those core competencies that we see the OAS as being good at, and if it could focus on those, that would make it a lot easier. It would also make sure it is able to focus on the things it does well and in which it has the most impact.