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Evidence of meeting #35 for Health in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was amendments.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Chloé O'Shaughnessy  Procedural Clerk

9 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

No.

9 a.m.

NDP

Dany Morin NDP Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

In that case, I am going to ask for a recorded vote. I think it is pretty hypocritical that the only argument my Conservative colleagues have against voting in favour of these good amendments to the bill is that they require royal recommendation, when it appears that it is not necessary for the great majority of these amendments.

I would like to know why you refuse, dear Conservative colleagues, to vote for these amendments.

9:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

Dr. Fry.

9:05 a.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Yes, I want to support this amendment. I think it does not require royal assent, as we heard, and it adds a couple of lines to spell out what the current piece of information, the current clause, asks for. It's just saying including information concerning its prevention. Information concerning its prevention has to do with understanding the root causes. If you don't know what the causes are, how can you prevent them?

So I think this is something we could vote for.

Madam Chair, I wanted to make a comment here with regard to my supporting this. We listened to many witnesses. They liked the bill but they felt that the bill fell short of being able to achieve any real results and outcomes, so they suggested that certain things be added. I can understand the royal assent piece, but I don't understand why, when the person who brought the bill forward likes some of these amendments and feels they strengthen his bill, that there's a vote against it. I don't understand it. If we listen to witnesses and then ignore what they say, why are we bothering? Why don't we just rubber-stamp every single thing that comes through this committee?

If you support something, you want to see it work. And if the intent of the person who brought it forward was to make sure that it did make a difference, as I know Mr. Albrecht wishes, then when he suggested some of these things are appropriate, I fail to understand why people would vote against it. I really don't understand that. I want to support Mr. Morin in that question, but I think somebody should explain why they think this is a bad thing to do.

9:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

Dr. Carrie, would you like to answer that?

9:05 a.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Thank you very much. Yes, I would.

We're not arguing that things are good or bad. What we're discussing is Mr. Albrecht.... What you say about what Harold has said to you is hearsay, as far as I know. I spoke to Harold--

9:05 a.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Are you accusing me of lying?

9:05 a.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

No, no, no.

9:05 a.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

We did consult with the mover of the bill.

March 15th, 2012 / 9:05 a.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

And so did we. And when we had it analyzed and discussed, he was supportive of our analysis.

If you listened to what I said earlier, and maybe I wasn't as clear as I should have been, the clause as it is right now states “disseminating information about suicide, including information concerning its prevention”. You're changing it to “disseminating information about the determinants of health” and then you're getting into “including economic status—social environment and access to health services—as risk factors for suicide”. You're getting very specific. You're getting into issues the provinces are dealing with. This is a federal bill, and we want to keep it within a federal scope. The way it's worded now I think is very clear.

By getting into these very specific concerns with how it's being defined here, my concern is that there might be some misinformation at different levels, because this is talking about provincial determinants.

9:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

Thank you, Dr. Carrie.

Ms. Quach.

9:05 a.m.

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

If you read carefully, it is written: "including economic status." This is one of the many determinants of health. We emphasize these elements because they largely affect economically disadvantaged people, who have a hard time getting access to health services and who therefore run a greater risk of suffering from suicidal ideas.

These are just elements of prevention. They are really consistent with this bill. We offer more prevention so as to keep people from committing suicide. I think this is good for everyone. It was requested by several witnesses. It should be important for everyone. This is additional information that is already provided, which is readily available. All it involves, as Ms. Davies said, is being able to publish, to disseminate information on a large scale so that people have a better understanding and can react and act more effectively.

9:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

Mrs. Block.

9:10 a.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Thank you very much, Madam Chair.

I concur with my colleague. I think by starting to list certain factors, we run the risk of excluding others. I think the more succinct we can keep this bill, the less opportunity there is for us to exclude things that may not have been listed here. I think we need to keep it as succinct as possible.

9:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

Dr. Carrie.

9:10 a.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Thank you very much, Madam Chair.

I just want to repeat, we don't want to put anything in here that could increase the onus on the provinces. This is a federal bill. We should be clear on federal jurisdiction.

I know a lot of these amendments are well-meaning, but at the end of the day I agree with my colleague: once we start getting really specific, we may be doing things that may have unintended results.

9:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

Dr. Fry.

9:10 a.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

I want to ask a very simple question.

We heard various reasons why this is an unsupportable amendment. First it was that it would need royal assent. Then we were told that it wouldn't need royal assent. Then we were told that it was too prescriptive, it added too many items to the list. Now we're told that it wasn't that it added too many items to the list, but that it left off many items from the list.

Madam Chair, I would like to register that I have an e-mail, and what Mr. Albrecht had to say is in it. But I want to say that this committee is fast becoming a farce, because we ask witnesses to come and then we totally ignore what they have to tell us. We know that it doesn't really matter what amendments we bring forward. Even when we do our homework and we ensure that it doesn't require royal assent or that it is in keeping with whatever the bill is suggesting, it's going to be voted against. An automatic against vote will happen.

It would seem to me that it would be better if we all did some work in our offices and had a recording here that said yes for some of us and no for others, and it will always fail. This committee doesn't seem to get to the bottom of really wanting to make a difference.

I want to register that I find it extremely frustrating and it nullifies the work of the committee. I want to put that out.

9:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

Thank you.

Dr. Morin.

9:10 a.m.

NDP

Dany Morin NDP Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

I fully agree with my Liberal colleague, Dr. Fry. All we have to do is look at the number of proposed amendments to this bill in order to understand all our goodwill, on the part of both the Liberal party and the NDP. We are truly seeking to improve this bill.

As my Liberal colleague said, many witnesses have shared their recommendations with us, either in person before the committee, or in their submissions sent electronically. They represent organizations and associations as prestigious as the Canadian Psychiatric Association.

Unfortunately, within the committee we can see that partisanship generally prevails. It seems that anything produced by a government member of Parliament is perfect and cannot be touched. This is really a shame. We are proposing some very good amendments. I am convinced that the majority of the population would agree with us. Let us think about past governments. Under them, now, we could have the majority of these amendments approved. Unfortunately, we are up against a lot of close-mindedness.

I encourage my Conservative colleagues to take their distance from the instructions they have received from on-high, not to accept any amendments to this bill. I really think that this is a mistake that all potential suicide victims will suffer from. Thank you.

9:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

Thank you, Dr. Morin.

Dr. Carrie.

9:10 a.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

I really don't want to get into this too much. We should just....

9:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

I will call the vote then.

9:10 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

A recorded vote, please.

(Amendment negatived: nays 6; yeas 5)

9:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

We will now move to amendment Lib-4.

Dr. Fry.