moved for leave to introduce Bill C-604, An Act to establish the position of Health Commissioner of Canada and to amend certain Acts.
Mr. Speaker, in October 2012, after an eight-week delay caused by administrative backlogs at Health Canada, a resident of Kamouraska who was suffering from a rare form of cancer received permission to use a medication that would have reduced her suffering. It took another two weeks of relentless pressure from both me and Quebec media before anything happened. Unfortunately, the woman died before she was able to receive a single dose of the medication she was seeking.
I wanted answers about what had happened at Health Canada, but I was struck by a troubling reality. When Canadians feel that their public broadcaster is airing a poor-quality television show, for example, they can write to an ombudsman. If they are concerned about the protection of their personal information, a privacy commissioner can go as far as to investigate what happened, if need be. However, when Canadians see their health decline because of poor services or poor federal departmental or agency decisions, they have no ombudsman or commissioner they can turn to for help to shed light on what took place.
Therefore, today I am introducing a bill to establish the position of health commissioner of Canada. I hope that the House will pass this bill as soon as possible so that Canadians will never again have to live with the pain of being ill or see a loved one go through an illness without getting answers about what may have made their suffering worse.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)