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  • Her favourite word is families.

Conservative MP for Mississauga—Brampton South (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 44.70% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Health October 27th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I could not agree more. I think all health matters ought to transcend partisan politics.

I can say that we have reviewed the motion. We are disappointed that the opposition would not accept friendly amendments which would have had the Chief Public Health Officer and the Minister of Health immediately go to committee and take all questions.

We think during an international pandemic, it is critical that the Chief Public Health Officer focus his resources on communicating with the provinces and the territories. In fact, today the Minister of Health is speaking with her provincial and territorial counterparts. The Chief Public Health Officer is regularly meeting with his counterparts.

It is critical that we face down Ebola.

Health October 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, this is a tropical mosquito-borne illness. Health officials advise that there is no evidence of person-to-person transmission in Canada.

The Public Health Agency has posted travel advice for Caribbean and Pacific tropics, asking Canadians to exercise precaution in order to avoid mosquito bites.

Health October 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, health matters should always transcend politics and partisanship.

The minister and the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada are in regular contact with their provincial and territorial partners.

It is PHAC, the Public Health Agency of Canada, that provides guidance to the provinces, but the provinces are responsible for training.

We have learned a lot from SARS and H1N1, and in the event of an Ebola case in Canada, the Public Health Agency is ready to provide support with five rapid response teams, lab expertise to quickly confirm diagnosis, and emergency supplies of masks, gowns, and gloves.

National Flag of Canada October 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, Canada is home to the second-largest Hungarian diaspora in the western world next to the United States.

In October of 1956, inspired by hope and a deep desire for freedom, my family joined with thousands of others in Hungary in a revolution against the bonds of Communist oppression.

The revolution was extinguished by Soviet tanks. People were slaughtered, and justice was suppressed for decades.

It is a history I share with my son, Jeffrey.

Some of my family were imprisoned, owing to mistaken identity, for days; some fortunate members of my family were able to immediately flee to France, the United States, and Canada; some of my family members had to endure decades of Soviet oppression until they could get out.

I am so fortunate to have been born in Canada, where the values of human rights and the rule of law are deeply rooted in our country's foundation.

This Wednesday was also the fiftieth anniversary of the selection of our new Canadian flag. For my family, our flag is a proud symbol of freedom. Under this flag, may we reaffirm our love for this country and reflect upon the opportunities afforded equally to all Canadians in “the True North strong and free”.

Health October 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, as I just indicated, the Public Health Agency of Canada is actively monitoring the situation.

Health October 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Public Health Agency of Canada is actively monitoring the situation and is taking all necessary precautions.

Health October 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, this is an issue that transcends politics and partisanship.

Canada is at the forefront in responding to the Ebola outbreak. We are contributing $65 million to leading international humanitarian organizations, like the World Health Organization, the United Nations, and Médecins Sans Frontières. We are also contributing 1,000 doses of leading-edge vaccine. We are contributing millions of pieces of personal protective equipment: 1.2 million gowns, 1.5 million gloves, and two million face shields. Canada is showing international leadership on the Ebola file.

Business of Supply October 21st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, in fact these are two completely unrelated issues.

When it comes to personal protective equipment, the member opposite is a bit off on her dates. The Ebola outbreak actually began in West Africa in December 2013, not April 2014. As members of the House may be aware, there have been some Ebola outbreaks in the last four or five decades and, unfortunately, a few thousand deaths up until this recent outbreak. This recent outbreak is truly different in that thousands of individuals have now passed away from this disease.

As soon as the World Health Organization contacted Canadian officials in September, the auction of personal protective equipment was halted. Canadians ought to feel rather proud about our contribution. We are donating millions of pieces of personal protective equipment, including 1.2 million gowns, 1.5 million gloves, and over 2 million face masks.

Business of Supply October 21st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, an independent scientist, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer has been available regularly. He has been communicating at press conferences, taking questions from the media, and regularly sharing his expertise and his information on the spread of Ebola.

This is a disease that unfortunately the world has now known for the better part of four or five decades. How Ebola is transmitted is well documented. It is not as transmittable as the common cold. One needs to come in contact with actual fluids. No one who has sat on a plane or in a train has developed Ebola from someone else who was a passenger.

This type of information has been made regularly available to the Canadian public and to the international public. One need only to tune to CNN, CBC or CTV to hear this type of information being shared. The Chief Public Health Officer has also made himself available regularly to provide these types of answers and to provide this type of independent information to all Canadians. Additionally, the Minister of Health has made herself available to provide this type of information. The Prime Minister has provided this type of information. Humbly, I would suggest that I have provided this type of information here and in media panels regularly.

This information is being communicated to Canadians. It is critical that Canadians continue to remain vigilant. It is not the time to make partisan games out of this.

Business of Supply October 21st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am grateful for the opportunity to speak to the House about the serious outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. Our government is taking steps to ensure that Canadians here at home remain safe and protected.

There is no question that the Ebola situation in West Africa is tragic. I think that I speak for all members of the House when I say that our thoughts are with those who are affected, their families, all of the surrounding communities, and the international community.

The government is closely monitoring the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and it is working with its international partners to support the response and help those who are suffering. The current outbreak has been ongoing since December 2013. As of October 17 of this year, the total number of reported cases was 9,216, including, tragically, 4,555 deaths in those affected regions.

With the exception of cases in the United States and one in Spain, the current outbreak continues to be confined to West Africa. Much recent media attention has been focused on the situation in Texas, and while there have not been any cases of Ebola in Canada, we must be prepared for a case to come here. Provincial and local health authorities and officials are the lead of any Ebola case in Canada, but the Public Health Agency of Canada continues to assist.

Ebola spreads in a community through direct contact with infected body fluids. The scientific evidence shows that Ebola is not airborne and cannot be transmitted through casual contact. The Ebola virus does not spread like the common cold or influenza, or even like SARS.

I should note that I will be splitting my time today here in the House with the member for Pickering—Scarborough East.

As I said, Ebola cannot be spread from a person who is not showing any symptoms.

Secondly, the situational and environmental contexts in West Africa are radically different from those here in Canada. Our hospitals in Canada have sophisticated infection control systems and procedures in place that are designed to limit the spread of infection, protect health care workers, and provide the best care possible for patients.

In contrast, the West African countries that are affected tragically have limited resources to respond to prolonged outbreaks, especially in rural areas. The health care infrastructure there, again very unfortunately, varies greatly in the countries and communities affected, and there is a lack of appropriate personal protective equipment. Tragically, despite some progress, outbreak control strategies continue to be met with distrust, due to fear and misinformation.

Despite the fact that the risk to Canadians is low, the Government of Canada remains vigilant and is taking concerted action to ensure that Canadians continue to be protected against the Ebola virus. This includes maintaining our preparedness to detect, investigate and prepare for people with the Ebola virus in the unlikely event that a case were to appear in Canada.

We are well prepared. The Public Health Agency of Canada has recommended that Canadians avoid all non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, due to the outbreak. Additionally, public health notices have been issued for Nigeria and Senegal, recommending that travellers take special precautions.

The government is making sure that Canada and Canadian travellers know how to protect themselves, and what they need to do if they begin to experience symptoms of illness. It is recommended that those travelling to affected countries monitor their health carefully and seek immediate medical attention if they develop symptoms that could be associated with Ebola within three weeks of returning.

Canada is well prepared to identify and manage ill travellers. The Quarantine Act is administered by the Public Health Agency of Canada 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at all points of entry into Canada. Technical guidance and protocols have been shared with provinces and territories and with the transportation sector to detect and manage suspected cases of Ebola infection. Front-line staff have been trained to screen international travellers arriving in Canada for communicable diseases, and to refer any travellers suspected of being ill to quarantine officers.

We also have five Ebola response teams in place. These include specific scientists, lab expertise to quickly confirm diagnoses and emergency supplies from our national strategic stockpiles, such as masks, gloves and gowns. These rapid response teams would support the provincial and territorial authorities in their response should a case of Ebola occur.

Under the Quarantine Act, officers have the authority to implement the appropriate public health measures to ensure public safety. From there, a strong network of laboratories stand at the ready to detect and respond quickly in the event a case of Ebola arrives in Canada.

While there have been no cases in Canada, each suspected case to date has tested our response capability and demonstrated to Canadians that we are ready to respond and that our systems are working. In every case, the individual suspected of being infected with the Ebola virus was identified, isolated, investigated by health authorities and tested for the Ebola virus by the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.

We have learned from our experiences with SARS and with the H1N1 influenza pandemic. We are are applying this learning to how we prepare for future outbreaks.

Canada should be proud of our world-class researchers and science capacity. It was our very own scientists at the Public Health Agency's National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg who developed an experimental vaccine for the Ebola virus. It is the result of years of hard work and innovation by Canadian scientists to better global public health and security.

The Government of Canada has offered a donation of up to 1,000 vials of the experimental vaccine to the World Health Organization. The vials represent two-thirds of the total vials of the experimental vaccine currently in the possession of the Public Health Agency of Canada. I think we can all concur that this is a rather generous donation.

Canada will keep a small supply of the experiential vaccine to conduct research and clinical trials on safety and efficacy. We will also keep some vials in the unlikely event that they are needed here at home in Canada.

Already these vials offered for donation are on their way to the World Health Organization in Geneva. The first shipment left yesterday. The vaccine vials are being sent in three separate shipments as a precautionary measure due to the challenges in moving a vaccine that must be kept at a very low temperature at all times, and in the event that there is some sort of unfortunate accident during shipment.

The World Health Organization has determined that there are some important safety and ethical considerations that it needs to resolve before the vaccine vials can be given to people. The global community, under the leadership of the World Health Organization, is making progress addressing these issues. There are also logistical challenges.

Canada stands ready to support the World Health Organization and we expect to see our donated experimental vaccine deployed as quickly, ethically and safely as possible. We are committed to supporting the efforts of our international partners to control the Ebola outbreak and we hope that the experimental vaccine will help address this global crisis.

Canadians should be proud of our humanitarian support to address the spread of Ebola in West Africa, including significant funding and the deployment of Canadian experts to assist on the ground.

On October 4, our government announced the deployment of a second mobile lab and team to West Africa to assist in the Ebola outbreak. The lab and three additional scientists from the Public Health Agency of Canada have joined the agency's existing team in the field.

One mobile lab team will continue to provide rapid diagnostic support to help local health care workers quickly diagnose new cases of Ebola. The second mobile lab team has been working with Médecins Sans Frontières to monitor the effectiveness of infection prevention procedures, such as hand-washing stations, face masks, disposal sites, in preventing the further spread of Ebola.

Once their work with Médecins Sans Frontières is completed, the team members will be deployed to other locations to support diagnostic needs as required. On-site laboratory support produces results in only a few hours, which in turn allows for faster isolation of Ebola cases and patient care. It is pivotal to an effective response in this affected region.

I would end my remarks by saying that while the motion before the House is admirable in recognizing the devastation wrought by this Ebola outbreak, it is imperative that we as parliamentarians allow our public health officials and ministers the flexibility necessary to focus their efforts on addressing the outbreak.

I would like to close by extending my heartfelt condolences to those affected by this ravaging disease in West Africa, and to encourage Canadians to support international relief organizations working in this area.