Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak on private member's bill C-202, an act respecting national organ donor day in Canada.
I would like to thank the hon. member for Ontario riding for bringing this private member's bill to the House. I believe it is a very worthwhile bill for several reasons.
First, there is merit in having recognition of something as important as donating an organ. The public becomes more aware of the issue, of the shortage of organs and of the long lists of people who are waiting to receive an organ so they can have their life improved or prolonged. Therefore I would like to congratulate the hon. member for Ontario for bringing this motion forward.
Any kind of media attention that can be brought to an issue like this will help. I seldom would wish this for a Liberal member of Parliament, but I wish him all kinds of extremely positive coverage on this issue. It can only help to make people aware. Perhaps it will encourage some people within their families to talk about the possibility of organ donation should one of them die prematurely.
As I was coming here on the little green bus from the Confederation Building I was thinking about how I would feel. I have five children, three boys and two girls. I have identical twin sons and also a twin son and daughter. The identical twin sons came to mind. If they were, God forbid, in a serious car accident-they are 17 years old so I cannot help thinking about that possibility-if they were both critically injured and one of them died and could through donating an organ prolong the life of the other, I could not help thinking what a terrible loss it would be if the arrangements had not been made so that the people who arrived on the scene did not know immediately that the intent was that my sons wanted this to happen.
As well, I could not help thinking of the good feeling and possibly the way that this could make it a little easier to suffer through the loss of this child, knowing that a part of this child who had died could remain alive in the life of the other.
Therefore, I congratulate the hon. member opposite for bringing this motion forward. I wish him all the media attention that he can get on this. Any kind of education and awareness that we can help promote on this issue is extremely valuable and will save lives.
While I congratulate the member for bringing this bill forward, I do not think it is enough. What we should do in the House is actually draft a bill that will in a far more substantive way allow, provide for and encourage more people to donate organs so that there is not this long waiting list we have in Canada now.
It is important on an issue like this, if we are to debate it in the House, that it be done in a non-partisan way. I am talking about a bill which will become law and which will provide for a much better organ donation system than we have now. It is important for that to be done in a non-partisan way.
In legislation the Liberal government brought forward in 1994 there were some changes made to chapter IX of the standing orders. One change allows the government to put a bill before committee before second reading. This legislation has been used. A change to Standing Order 68(4)(b), a provision which has not yet been used, allows a private member's motion to be put before committee before second reading so that legislation can actually be drafted by committee.
I am in the process right now of presenting a private member's motion to Journals which will ask the House to send a motion dealing with organ donations to committee before second reading so that the appropriate parliamentary committee can actually draft the legislation, which will help take some of the partisanship out of the process. This will enable the committee to draft the legislation which will help in a very substantive way to make the organs needed readily available.
I will read this section of the standing orders:
A motion by a private member to appoint or instruct a standing, special or legislative committee to prepare and bring in a bill, pursuant to section (1) of this standing order, shall be considered as a motion under Private Members' Business and shall be subject to the procedures in that regard set down in Standing Orders 86 to 99, inclusive. A motion by a member other than a minister of the crown to concur in the report of a committee pursuant to this section or to section 4(a) of this
standing order shall also be taken up as a motion under Private Members' Business pursuant to the aforementioned standing orders in that regard.
This section will allow this process. I hope my private member's motion, should it come before the House, will add something even more substantive to the bill presented by the hon. member for Ontario. I am in the process of presenting this motion to Journals. I hope it will be unanimously supported when it comes to the House.
I will shorten my comments because many people before me have talked about statistics and have expressed very well the need for an improvement in the mechanism. They have talked about the long waiting lists. They have talked about people who have died waiting for an organ donation. I believe all of us know someone who has died unnecessarily because organs were not available.
I have 295 organ donor cards which have been provided by the Kidney Foundation of Canada. I ask for unanimous consent of the House to have these organ donor cards transferred to the table so that all members of Parliament can show by example the importance of everyone who is willing to sign an organ donation card. In that way the list of people waiting for organs will be shortened substantially and fewer people will while die waiting for organs.