Mr. Chair, I thank the hon. member from Winnipeg for allowing me to share some of her time.
I mention the names of Bruce DeVenne, Neil van Deusen, Scott Hemming and Joe Haché. These are people who are infected with hepatitis C through no fault of their own. Three of them live in my riding and one of them lives here in Ottawa. He is a young man who years ago took a bicycle in Halifax and said he wanted to ride in every major centre in the country in order to bring attention to the concerns of people infected with hepatitis C outside the window. This was a young man who was going to receive the compensation because he was in the window of 1987. He was already taken care of. This young man thought not of himself but of other people throughout the country, those outside that so-called window.
What is really amazing is how cynical the Liberal government was at that time and still is. This was not about care or compassion for people who were suffering with a terrible disease through no fault of their own. This was about dollars and cents. That is all it was.
I remember very well when John Nunziata, the so-called disgraced Liberal of the GST debacle, walked across the floor and sat as an independent. He went to Allan Rock's desk, then the health minister of Canada, and put a hepatitis C ribbon on his desk and asked him to wear it. Mr. Rock did not even have the compassion in his body to wear the hepatitis C ribbon. That said a lot about the minister's intentions of what he was prepared to do. He was going to do nothing.
What I find most disgraceful, as a lawyer, is that the bulk of the funds went to a firm called Crawford, made up of mostly lawyers. Mostly the lawyers received the money. Why would a lawyer receive any money from a hep C fund from people who were infected with tainted blood? Why should those leeches of society receive money from something that was not intended for them? It was intended for the victims, not for lawyers who showed up and said they could argue this point or argue this case. I feel ashamed for every single lawyer at Crawford. I am absolutely ashamed that they accepted money from this fund that was meant to go to victims with hepatitis C.
Mr. Chair, I have no idea if you, or any member of your family, or any friends of yours have hepatitis C. I can assure you it is not a pleasant experience. The fact is it was inflicted on victims through no fault of their own. They had trust in the public health system. They believed in the Government of Canada and members of Parliament to protect their interests, and then they came to the realization that the blood was tainted.
I do not blame any member of Parliament. I do not believe for a second that any Liberal, Conservative, Alliance, Reform, Bloc or NDP member purposely tainted that blood. I do not believe that for a second. It was an unfortunate circumstance of errors that led to the result of hundreds of thousands of people becoming infected with hepatitis C.
However, lawyers should not be making any money from this. Every single penny of that should be going to the victims. Unfortunately, the Liberals at that time said they were going to give it to a bunch of lawyers and they would distribute it to whomever they believed qualified under their circumstances. To this day, I will never ever forgive the government of the day for allowing that to happen. That money came from the taxpayers of Canada. The taxpayers of Canada said very clearly they wanted that money to go to the victims and not to the lawyers.