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 #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

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

Mr. Strahl, go ahead.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon, BC

Thank you, Madam Chair.

I could make comments about grandstanding and all the rest of it, but I think what we have here is a Conservative private member who brought forward an excellent bill. He did so after doing much background research. He is a leader in this country on this issue. To suggest that he simply put this forward to grandstand with his electors is an insult. Certainly his bill is an excellent piece of legislation. It took into account many of the arguments made on the other side, and I have no problem certainly ceding to his expertise, knowing that he did the work necessary to draft an excellent bill.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

Dr. Fry, go ahead.

March 15th, 2012 / 10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Thank you very much, Madam Chair.

I don't want us to leave this bill without making my comments as well.

I think that Mr. Albrecht put this bill forward with best intentions. I'm not going to presume to challenge his intentions. But, Madam Chair, having been a minister in government for six years when the government brought forth many government bills, I think that part of the process of moving a bill through its first, second, third reading, and committee is to be able to see whether a government, with all of a department's expertise at its fingertips, with many pieces of expertise coming from every area where the government consulted in order to bring forward that bill.... We went to committee stage mainly to hear from experts and witnesses who worked for years on the issues, who in fact were able to help us to strengthen bills, make our bills effective, so that eventually they would achieve the outcomes we were hoping they would achieve.

The concept, Madam Chair, that a single human being could do all the research and have all the knowledge and all the information on a particular issue, which is not even the person's area of expertise and profession, is a joke. No one has; not even governments, not even groups of people sitting around a table do. That's why we seek all of the input that we seek, in order to make these bills effective when they come to the floor.

I think I understand. I concur in some ways with what Dr. Morin is saying. What happens then is you put forward a bill.…To have said that we do not support and we're not collaborative in this committee is a ridiculous and an unfair thing to say, and untrue. It is not borne out by any evidence at all. We have bent over backwards as opposition parties to support government agenda, to bring forward whatever they suggested we should study. Nothing we ever brought forward was ever agreed on by the government. When we look at bills and try to strengthen them and try to bring them forward, we do not have that same sort of collaboration.

It seems to me that it really doesn't matter what one says. If I inserted an amendment saying “Can we all have a banana, please”, it would be voted against. I think it makes a farce of the committee, and I want to put that on record.

I want to apologize personally as a member of this committee to all of the witnesses who travelled across this country to come here and present to us. They hoped against hope that this bill was the beginning of something they had been fighting for and it would really have desired effects and outcomes that would eventually put an end to the tragedy of suicide, only to hear that not a single thing they proposed, and none of the recommendations coming out of CASP, or any of the groups, has even been given a second thought that could enhance the bill.

We hear over and over that an individual, intelligent as he is, as well-meaning as he is.... I am not going to say anything pejorative about Mr. Albrecht, because I support his intent in this bill, but to imagine that an individual would have all that knowledge makes every single witness who came here seem redundant. I heard the word “redundant” spoken many times here. And to hear that none of them, when pitted against the wise knowledge and complete and total omniscience of the member who brought forward this bill, had anything new to add really disturbs me. So I apologize fully to the witnesses who came here with hope in their hearts, which has been dashed today.

Thank you.

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

Ms. Davies.

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Thank you, Chairperson.

First of all, I certainly appreciate, and I think we all appreciate, the work that Mr. Albrecht did in bringing forward this bill. It is an important bill.

The witnesses we heard were really good. Some of them spoke from their own personal experiences, and others were very involved in front-line services. I feel pretty bad that all of the amendments got shot down, but that's the new reality. We understand that.

One thing we can do—because this bill is going to pass and go back to the House, and I'm sure then go on to the Senate—is we can all commit that we will follow this bill. Especially when the Mental Health Commission will be coming out with its report, that's something I want to commit to.

With this bill now going forward, we have to continue this work. I think it has been flagged for all of us.

This is an issue that was not talked about much in Parliament, and now it is being talked about. That's good. We're taking small steps. If we can follow up on this work with the bill and monitor what the Mental Health Commission is doing, then I think we will have made some progress.

I hope we'll focus on that and there will be a commitment from everybody to do that. We don't know who will be on the health committee in a year or so—changes happen—but we'll talk to our colleagues. I think we have to make sure we really do follow through and we don't let this issue go.

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

Dr. Carrie.

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Thank you very much, Madam Chair.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Albrecht and all the witnesses for helping put together a strong federal bill that can be implemented promptly. I know Mr. Albrecht did consult with stakeholders exhaustively before drafting this bill. He worked to make sure this was a strong federal bill. It respects provincial jurisdiction. It doesn't require more spending on royal assent, and it is not duplicative.

I want to thank him for putting forth such a strong federal bill. I'm happy to support it.

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

Thank you.

Dr. Morin.

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Dany Morin NDP Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

I simply wanted to say that, when I referred to showing a piece of paper to the voters, I was not referring to Mr. Albrecht, but rather the whole Conservative government.

I sincerely think that the lack of openness of the Standing Committee on Health, formed on last May 2, can be attributed to an instruction from the Conservative government to systematically refuse all amendments moved by the opposition.

In contrast, when Mr. Albrecht appeared before the committee, I told him it was a good bill — as Dr. Fry also said — that could have been improved by the members of the Standing Committee on Health. I hope that the Senate will have better luck at making amendments, but I doubt it, with this attitude of the Conservative government.

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

Thank you.

We have to vote on NDP-12. A recorded vote.

(Amendment negatived: nays 6; yeas 5)

(Clause 4 agreed to)

Shall the preamble carry?

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

Shall clause 1 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 I report the bill to the House, which will be on the Monday after break?

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joy Smith

Thank you, committee.

I'm very pleased, as Ms. Davies said, that this is really the first time this has been put forward in committee. I'm very proud of what Mr. Albrecht has done with his research. It's a very good bill.

Thank you.

The meeting is adjourned.