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House of Commons Hansard #94 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was world.

Topics

SupplyGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

The member still has well over nine minutes in his time, but seeing that it is almost two o'clock and I want to lay a report upon the table, I wonder if he would cede the floor and of course be immediately recognized when we take up the debate again.

Supplementary Report Of The Auditor General Of CanadaGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I have the honour to lay upon the table the supplementary report of the Auditor General of Canada to the House of Commons, volume I, for April 1998.

Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(e) this document is deemed to have been permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

Workplace SafetyStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Carmen Provenzano Liberal Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, today, April 28, is the national day of mourning for workers who are killed or injured as a result of their jobs. In honour of this solemn occasion the Canadian flag flies at half mast on Parliament Hill and in cities and towns across the country.

According to the Canadian Labour Congress, nearly 1,000 workers die each year because of their workplaces. A million more are injured or contract some form of occupational sickness. Federal and provincial labour laws have gone a long way to protect Canadian workers, but as the numbers indicate workplace injuries and fatalities continue to occur with tragic frequency.

On this solemn occasion I wish to offer my sincere condolences to those who have lost loved ones in workplace accidents and my best wishes to those who have been injured on the job. The number of Canadians killed and injured at work must be reduced. I call on hon. members to keep this in mind today and throughout the year.

Hepatitis CStatements By Members

April 28th, 1998 / 2 p.m.

Reform

Gurmant Grewal Reform Surrey Central, BC

Mr. Speaker, what is tonight's vote all about? It is about people who contacted hepatitis C through no fault of their own, people who are hurting like Mark Bulbrook of Hamilton, Ontario; James Lodge of Victoria, B.C.; Karen Neilson of Oyen, Alberta; Leona Martens of Alamed, Saskatchewan; Pat Lyons of Port Coquitlam, B.C.; Dale Strohmaier of Edmonton, Alberta; David Smith of Victoria, B.C.; Ronald Thiel of Saanich, B.C.; Louise Schmidt of Maple Ridge; Geraldine Clements of Naramata, B.C.; Rita Wegscheidler of Penticton, B.C.; Brad Baldwin of Dalmany, Saskatchewan.

These are all people left out of the hepatitis C compensation package. They deserve equal compensation with all other victims of tainted blood because they are people who are suffering just as much as those who are to be included.

Hepatitis CStatements By Members

2 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Laval-Ouest.

Work Related AccidentsStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval West, QC

Mr. Speaker, each year, the lives of thousands of Canadian families are shattered overnight because of a work related accident. Too many families have to live through these tragedies that involve huge social and economic costs for our society.

We will never overstate the need for governments to make sure that occupational health and safety legislation and regulations are strictly enforced. In a society such as ours, this great number of work related accidents is downright unacceptable.

Our challenge is to ensure healthy and safe work conditions for all Canadian workers.

Why do we not establish as a goal in our society a rule of zero tolerance for work related accidents in order to show greater respect for the dignity of millions of Canadian workers?

Hepatitis CStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Ben Serré Liberal Timiskaming—Cochrane, ON

Mr. Speaker, tonight the House will be asked to vote on a Reform motion condemning the government's $1.1 billion compensation package to the victims of hepatitis C.

This agreement was signed by all 10 provinces and 2 territories and by governments of all political parties.

Today I challenge all four opposition parties to come clean with Canadians. If they wish to condemn the federal government they must also publicly condemn their provincial counterparts.

I challenge the leader of the Reform Party and the leader of the Conservative Party to publicly today condemn their friends Mike Harris and Ralph Klein. I challenge the leader of the New Democratic Party today to publicly condemn Roy Romanow and Glen Clark.

I challenge the leader of the Bloc Quebecois to publicly condemn right now his leader, Lucien Bouchard.

Hepatitis CStatements By Members

2 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Winnipeg South.

Hepatitis CStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Reg Alcock Liberal Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today in support of the decision taken by the Minister of Health and his provincial and territorial partners concerning compensation for hepatitis C victims.

In particular I want to acknowledge the strong principled leadership of the Minister of Health in the face of clearly partisan and opportunistic criticism levelled against him by the opposition members of this House.

The easy path would be for the minister to simply pay those who are making a claim upon the government. But as the minister has noted, he and his provincial and territorial colleagues are the custodians of Canada's health care system. Because of this they have a larger responsibility, a responsibility to deal with the tough questions that confront them and make the right decisions.

The opposition members seem to think the moral high ground belongs to those who advocate the easiest and most expedient course of action, to offer blanket compensation today without thinking about the consequences for tomorrow.

It is clear, however, that the true moral high ground—

Hepatitis CStatements By Members

2 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Portage—Lisgar.

Hepatitis CStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Jake Hoeppner Reform Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, what is tonight's vote all about? It is about real people with hepatitis C, people who are sick, people who need help from this government, people like Mrs. Laurie Stoll of Maple Ridge, B.C.; Mrs. Joyce Smith of Mission, B.C.; Ed Wheeler of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan; Theresa Robertson of Peterborough, Ontario; Allan Ordze of Edmonton, Alberta; Lisa Holtz of Edmonton, Alberta; Ed Neufeld of Winkler, Manitoba; Mr. Wish of Winnipeg, Manitoba; Verla Sherhols of Kanata, Ontario; Cheralynn Adie of Ottawa, Ontario, Etienne Saumure of Gatineau, Quebec; Don Jamieson of Toronto, Ontario; Joan Laing of Calgary, Alberta.

These are people who live in our neighbourhoods all over Canada. Every member of parliament must remember these suffering people in tonight's vote.

Hepatitis CStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Elinor Caplan Liberal Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, there has been much discussion about the rationale used by Canada's government in deciding on a collaborative approach to hepatitis C compensation.

Since the Krever commission delivered its report, the federal government has been working very hard to find a solution to this difficult problem. When Justice Krever presented governments with the facts it became clear that many of the hepatitis C infections between 1986 and 1990 might not have happened if things had been done differently.

The beginning of 1986 was when surrogate testing was first used on a national scale in the United States. To ignore that benchmark date would lead us to an unsustainable rationale for offering assistance. Even after 1986 the science of hepatitis C was still unsettled and indeed it is still evolving.

Those who claim governments should ignore such benchmark dates altogether are perhaps arguing for some sort of retroactive scheme which would eventually apply to all health care harms suffered by Canadians.

Allowing that to happen without due discussion and consideration of the consequences—

Hepatitis CStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Ottawa Centre.

Hepatitis CStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Mac Harb Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the agreement reached by territorial, provincial and federal governments to compensate victims of hepatitis C is not perfect. No amount of money can ease the pain of those who have been infected.

By supporting the current agreement we are acting responsibly by providing assistance to those infected between 1986 and 1990. For those not covered in the current agreement we have a collective responsibility to find ways to ensure their needs are met.

The health care system in Canada is one of the finest in the world and provides a safety net for those who otherwise could not afford the services they need. That is why it is imperative to work with the provinces to improve services and ensure a better quality of life for every victim. As long as there is one victim suffering we still have work to do.

I applaud the Minister of Health for his courage and commitment to doing what is right.

Hepatitis CStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Reform

Howard Hilstrom Reform Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, what is tonight's vote all about? Tonight's vote is all about people, people who could be our next door neighbour, child, spouse or even ourselves.

Hepatitis C victims are ordinary people, people like Jean Drapeau of Laval, Quebec; Steve Kemp of Toronto, Ontario; Mike McCarthy of Sebringville, Ontario; Kim Kingsley of Goderich, Ontario; Neil Van Dusen of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia; Jeremy Beaty of Mississauga, Ontario; Abraham Weizfeldt of Montreal, Quebec; Charles Duguay of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario; Derek Marchand of Tottenham, Ontario; Sherry Fitger of Calgary, Alberta and her husband Don Fitger of Calgary, Alberta; William Harrison of Edmonton, Alberta.

Tonight all members of parliament have a chance to do the right thing, to stand up for the rights of victims.

We call on all members of this House, regardless of their political affiliations, to join together in affirming our support for those the government has wronged.

Hepatitis CStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Steve Mahoney Liberal Mississauga West, ON

Mr. Speaker, when Canada's health ministers announced the compensation package for hepatitis C victims they acknowledged that testing was available but not used in Canada between January 1, 1986 and July 1, 1990. This is the key principle underlining the compensation package.

The Reform Party motion ignores this key principle when it states that the government should “compensate all victims who contracted hepatitis C”. What it is advocating is a no fault insurance scheme for Canada's health care system.

This is a wholly separate issue from the blood system inquiry. It is an issue that should be addressed on its own merits and, quite frankly, this debate has yet to happen.

Health care insurance is a provincial responsibility. I am unaware of any initiatives to establish a no fault insurance scheme for the blood system or health care in general. No fault insurance is not a feature of our health system and should not materialize by default—

Hepatitis CStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Laval East.

Monsignor Juan GirardiStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Maud Debien Bloc Laval East, QC

Mr. Speaker, we were saddened to learn yesterday of the death of Monsignor Juan Girardi, the Guatemalan assistant archbishop and human rights activist.

Monsignor Girardi, who was brutally assassinated, had just presented a scathing report on the holocaust suffered by the Guatemalan people during the civil war that lasted over 36 years. His death could jeopardize the fragile peace accords signed by the factions a year and a half ago.

The Bloc Quebecois wants to pay tribute to this brave man, who was able to warn the international community about the horrors of the armed conflict in Guatemala.

Once again, the long road to respect for human rights has been sullied by the blood of innocent victims who have sacrificed their lives to defend a fundamental right.

We extend our sympathies to the people of Guatemala.

Workplace SafetyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, today the flags in the House of Commons are flying at half mast out of respect for workers who are injured, killed or made ill in their workplace.

April 28 is the international day of mourning for injured and fallen workers and it is recognized by more than 70 countries around the world. Last year the United Nations conducted ceremonies to commemorate the international day of mourning at its headquarters in New York City.

Canada is a civilized and developed nation and yet today three more Canadian workers will die on the job and the same will be true tomorrow and the day after. In fact, 1,000 Canadian workers a year will die at work and almost a million more will suffer some form of lost time due to injury, sickness or occupational disease.

Canadian workers get up in the morning to earn a living, not to be injured, butchered or maimed on behalf of some arbitrary production schedule. Why can we not end the carnage in our workplaces? When will industry and government commit to decent enforcement of our health and safety legislation?

Our caucus is committed to working—

Workplace SafetyStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine.

Hepatitis CStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have personally been affected by hepatitis C. A childhood friend of mine died, about two months ago, of hepatitis C.

Like many Canadians who have been closely following this debate, I am deeply worried about the expectations our blood supply system has raised and the impact these great expectations can have on our overall health care system.

Medicine is not infallible. Science is not infallible. Some types of treatment, medication and material are more risky than others. Blood is the gift of life, but blood is also a high-risk natural biological product.

The health care system, including the blood supply system, is doing its best to reduce the risks for those who use it.

Governments and other stakeholders have the responsibility to react when harm can—

Hepatitis CStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Brandon—Souris.

Hepatitis CStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rick Borotsik Progressive Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, the hepatitis C issue is not about faceless, nameless Canadians who are affected not only by this tragic illness but by this government's tragic policy.

Hepatitis C is about our neighbours, our sons, our daughters and people who work and live beside us every day.

One of those people wrote the Minister of Health recently:

You need to hear this from my heart. I live with hepatitis C every day, and don't think it's easy to live with somebody who has only days to live. Hepatitis C has destroyed his liver. Every day I watch him fading away—preparing myself for his death not being able to get physically close. How extraordinary considering that my husband has worked his whole life to support the health care system. The system gave him this disease and now at 47 his only recourse is $700 a month on disability. You've taken away his health, you've have taken away his will and now you take away his dignity.

I only ask that members opposite carefully listen to these words and vote for compassion this evening.

International Day Of Mourning For Injured And Fallen WorkersStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

Hélène Alarie Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, today is the International Day of Mourning for Injured and Fallen Workers.

Designated by Parliament and observed in more that 70 countries, as well as the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, this day underlines the seriousness of occupational diseases, accidents and deaths.

In federally regulated sectors alone, there is a work related injury every two minutes: 57,000 workers are injured every year, over 50 of them fatally.

In the agricultural sector, between 1991 and 1995, there were 503 deaths, making farming the most dangerous occupation in North America.

There is a huge gap between the legislation governing safety and security in the workplace and its enforcement. It is shameful that even today there are so many workers killed while trying to make a living.

Hepatitis CStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Reform

Philip Mayfield Reform Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Mr. Speaker, tonight's vote is about real people like Ronald Thiel of Saanichton, B.C. who was infected with hepatitis C through tainted blood when he had a heart valve replaced in 1983.

His liver is badly damaged. He had to stop working at age 53. He has suffered many medical complications which have made his life a misery. He writes “I know that I am dying before my time but I have no intention of going to my grave without fighting this injustice as long as I can”.

Mr. Thiel speaks for all excluded hepatitis C victims when he paraphrases Shakespeare. “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? If you wrong us, do we not revenge?”

The government cannot escape its responsibility. The victims of the tainted blood scandal and the people of Canada will one day require justice. But how much more honourable, how much more noble it would be for this parliament to offer compassion to the suffering today, rather than be forced to do so by the heavy hand of the law tomorrow.