Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Richmond, I rise today to draw the attention of the House to Taiwan's bid for observer status at the World Health Organization.
This is not a geopolitical issue. It is a health issue: a matter of life and death. Viruses and other infectious diseases know no boundaries. SARS has now claimed the lives of 72 people in Taiwan, up from 60 just three days ago, and almost 700 worldwide.
The residents of my riding of Richmond have strong personal, cultural and commercial connections with China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and the Vancouver International Airport is situated in Richmond. Richmond residents have directly felt the negative health, societal and economic fallout from SARS.
As the member of Parliament for Richmond, I support Taiwan's bid for observer status at the WHO.