This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

Evidence of meeting #29 for Health in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was purple.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Iris Elliott  Executive Director, Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia
Aurore Therrien  Member of the Board Directors, Executive Director, Épilepsie Montréal Métropolitain, Canadian Epilepsy Alliance
Sarah Ward  As an Individual

10 a.m.

NDP

Djaouida Sellah NDP Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Thank you for introducing this bill, Mr. Regan. I have already stood in the House and said that I would support your bill. I was glad that it was referred to this committee for discussion. I personally think that's really great. With the exception of a few amendments that we are going to make in the French version, I feel that it is perfect.

Having said that, as a doctor, I have heard everything about what epilepsy is, and what the causes and factors are. I would like to explain that it is an electric discharge in the brain—and the “brain” is the powerhouse that controls all the muscles and the nerves. As Mrs. Therrien and Ms. Ward have said, it depends on the affected region. I was a general practitioner and I saw people with epilepsy in public as well. Ordinary people do not recognize the various types of epilepsy. What people see in public are tonic-clonic seizures with all the symptoms: aura, the seizure, and the aftermath.

In line with what my colleagues Colin and Anne were saying, I remember going to the market with my grand-mother one time when I was very young. This was back in my country of origin, which is a developing country. I saw a crowd of people around a person lying on the ground, foaming at the mouth. As a way to break the tension, the people were holding out keys. I was young and I told myself that there was probably a housing crisis and that is why they were doing that. I am just telling you this to point to the stigmatization of people with epilepsy.

I feel that public education is crucial. As I said, I know people do not only vomit and foam at the mouth, but they sometimes also urinate. I haven't seen it myself, but I can only imagine when the person regains consciousness and is surrounded by people making comments, and so on. So I think that it is not just about educating the public. Educating health care providers is equally important.

Your idea about the cards is just wonderful. Experts in the field should also work on providing information, the way they do in other areas. For example, when kids have fever, we ask mothers to give them regular doses of medication, and to go see a doctor after three days. I think there is work to be done to raise awareness about how to treat a person with epilepsy. That is also an issue.

I have another question. I know that 70% of people with epilepsy manage to treat it with medication. Mrs. Therrien, as you rightly said, compliance with treatment and follow-up play a role. Unfortunately, 30% of people do not respond to treatment, and some might have to undergo surgery. It is important to note that surgery is the last resort. The fact remains that some people do not respond to treatment.

Unfortunately, some pharmaceutical companies are more interested in making profits than curing people. Why don't they just stick to one treatment, such as phenytoin, a drug that has been proven to work? Why is there a shortage of phenytoin? I know these types of drugs do not bring in a lot of money. But they have demonstrated results. Why do we let some companies come up with drugs that have not been proven to work, despite all the promises? That is what I wanted to ask.

10:05 a.m.

Member of the Board Directors, Executive Director, Épilepsie Montréal Métropolitain, Canadian Epilepsy Alliance

Aurore Therrien

That is a broad question that deserves an answer from a number of people. It is a concern for everyone, not just...

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

I'm sorry, but we're quite a bit over time. Could you, as quickly as you can, give an answer?

10:05 a.m.

Member of the Board Directors, Executive Director, Épilepsie Montréal Métropolitain, Canadian Epilepsy Alliance

Aurore Therrien

I think Mrs. Sellah was trying to point out that this is a major question that concerns everyone. She wanted to ask it publicly because it concerns large pharmaceutical companies. And who can reach them? Who can get information to them and who can persuade them? I think it is appropriate to ask this question here today.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

It's a very important question. Thank you, Dr. Sellah.

I'm going to say thanks to the witnesses and especially to Mr. Regan, who brought this very important bill forward.

I'd like to do the clause-by-clause consideration so that we can report the bill back to the House, I hope, on Friday. If you will step back, I'm going to suspend for only one minute and go directly to the bill. We'll suspend.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

Committee, we'll get this wonderful bill together and get started.

For now, we will postpone looking at the preamble and the short title. We will first go to clause 2 and the amendments.

(On clause 2—Purple Day)

On clause 2, I want to note this amendment. This is Dr. Sellah's amendment.

Could you speak to that, Dr. Sellah, please?

10:10 a.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Just to save us some time, I want to point out that Dr. Sellah and I have the exact same amendments, all six of them, so perhaps we could just deal with them as amendments and....

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

I was going to have Dr. Sellah read out the amendment. Then I'm going to try to get them all together so we can get them done all at once.

Thank you, Dr. Fry.

Dr. Sellah, would you go ahead?

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Djaouida Sellah NDP Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Yes. I am moving the following amendment:

That Bill C-278, in the preamble, be amended by replacing, in the French version, line 5 on page 1 with the following:

“sensibiliser davantage à leur condition,”

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

Dr. Sellah, you're not moving the right one. Could you go to amendment NDP-1? You're on the wrong one. We have to do the other one first.

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Djaouida Sellah NDP Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

I am sorry, Madam Chair.

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

That's okay.

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Djaouida Sellah NDP Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

The amendment reads as follows:

That Bill C-278, in Clause 2, be amended by replacing, in the French version, line 11 on page 1 with the following: “désigné comme « Journée lavande ».”

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

Thank you.

Amendments NDP-1, NDP-2, NDP-4, and NDP-5 all propose to make the same modification to the bill—that is, to change the reference to colour in the French version of the text from “pourpre” to “lavande”.

If the modification proposed in amendment NDP-1 is accepted, the bill will be inconsistent if this change is not made everywhere the word “pourpre” is mentioned. Likewise, if the amendment is rejected, it would be inconsistent to accept the change elsewhere, so the committee could decide to apply the result of the vote on amendment NDP-1 to amendments NDP-2, NDP-4, and NDP-5.

Because they are all basically the same, it would be consistent within the whole bill, and we would get this done in one fell swoop.

Are you all in agreement?

(Amendments agreed to)

(Clause 2 as amended agreed to)

(On clause 3—Wearing Purple)

On amendment NDP-3, who would like to speak to that one?

February 16th, 2012 / 10:10 a.m.

NDP

Djaouida Sellah NDP Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

The amendment says:

That Bill C-278, in Clause 3, be amended by replacing, in the French version, lines 15 and 16 on page 1 with the following:

“de sensibiliser davantage le public à leur condition.”

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

Thank you.

Is there any discussion?

(Amendment agreed to)

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

Very good.

In the same manner, amendments NDP-3 and NDP-6 propose to change the word “maladie” to “condition” in the French version of the bill. In order to maintain the consistency of the wording of the bill, the committee can decide that the outcome of the vote on NDP-3 should also be applied to NDP-6. Is that agreed?

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

Is there any discussion?

(Amendments agreed to)

(Clause 3 as amended agreed to)

(Clause 4 as amended agreed to)

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

Shall clause 1, as amended, carry?

(Clause 1 as amended agreed to)

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

Shall the preamble, as amended, carry?

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

Shall the title carry?

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

Shall the bill as amended carry?