House of Commons Hansard #139 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environment.


Canada Elections ActGovernment Orders

6 p.m.


Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the members from the NDP will vote against the motion.

Canada Elections ActGovernment Orders

6 p.m.


André Arthur Independent Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am voting in favour of the motion.

Canada Elections ActGovernment Orders

6 p.m.


Louise Thibault Bloc Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am voting against this motion.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #162

Canada Elections ActGovernment Orders

6 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I declare the motion carried.

It being 6 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper.

National Blood Donor Week ActPrivate Members' Business

April 24th, 2007 / 6 p.m.


Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

moved that Bill S-214, An Act respecting a National Blood Donor Week, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak today at the second reading stage of Bill S-214, An Act respecting a National Blood Donor Week.

The World Health Organization celebrates World Blood Donor Day on June 14 every year, at which time 192 WHO members and over 200 volunteer blood donor organizations lend their support to this cause. This bill would allow Canadians to join in this worldwide effort with a full week of celebration each year.

I would point out to hon. members that Canada has one of the safest blood systems in the world. At some point in their lives, over half of Canadians will require blood or blood products for themselves or a family member during their lifetime. What is more alarming is the fact that less than 4% of eligible Canadians donate blood every year.

Canada has a long history of supporting blood donation, dating back to World War II. Between 1940 and 1945, the blood for the wounded program collected over 2.4 million units of blood from a population of just 11.5 million people. That was a per capita rate three to four times higher than the United States or Great Britain. That is a proud history and we need to ensure that blood donation in Canada will have a proud future as well.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of Canadians receive donated blood or donated blood products, such as plasma, platelets and marrow, following accidents, surgeries, cancer treatments and for burn therapies. Blood or blood products are also used for other blood related treatments or diseases.

There is not a member of the House who would argue against the need for more blood donors in Canada to meet the demand for blood and blood products and that a greater awareness of the importance of becoming a blood donor is required to engage more Canadians in helping their fellow citizens. I am glad to be part of that 4% club. Initially, I too had reservations about donating blood but over the past few years the experience has been nothing but positive.

Canadians cannot afford to be idle and think that if they do not donate someone else will. Each of us must think, “If I don't, who will?” An hour of time is all that is required. I believe that each of us has an hour to spare. Blood donation includes not only the gift of whole blood but gifts of plasma and bone marrow as well.

Every blood donor has the power to save the lives of up to three people. Blood donors are volunteers who are not remunerated and, therefore, the act of donating blood and blood products is a genuine act of altruism. Blood donors in Canada are the lifeblood of their communities and their acts of kindness and generosity should be honoured with a national week of celebration.

I would like to describe to the members of the House how the blood donation system works in Canada and how people benefit from it. Donations are gathered at 45 permanent collection sites and more than 17,000 special mobile clinics are held across Canada. These are operated by almost 6,000 employees and in excess of 40,000 volunteers. The end result is a yearly blood collection of nearly 1.1 million units of blood from over half a million donors. This is our blood system.

To put another perspective on the importance of blood donation, roughly 137,000 Canadians are diagnosed with cancer every year. We all know that cancer patients often need blood or blood products to survive their treatments. As well, the number of transplants has increased steadily from 16 per 1 million Canadians in 1981 to 59 per 1 million Canadians in 2000. Transplant surgeries are lengthy procedures requiring significant amounts of blood. Additionally, the number of total hip replacements done in Canada during the same period increased by just under 20%.

There are several kinds of blood donation Canadians may give and/or receive. Many situations are unique and each person's need is unique. Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec are responsible for recruiting blood and bone marrow donors, as well as collecting blood and plasma at collection sites and donor clinics annually.

Additionally, CBS and Héma-Québec collect whole blood. Whole blood is comprised of red blood cells, white blood cells and plasma. Some donations are held and transfused as whole blood. Others are processed to separate red blood cells and plasma.

Further, some donors donate only their plasma. Plasma may be transfused into a patient or further processed into other products.

I would like to touch upon blood platelets which can be donated as well and they are collected at these specific locations. All main CBS and Héma-Québec donor clinics have a program for this.

One area of blood donation that may affect a growing number of Canadians is bone marrow donation. I am certain that many members in the House know someone who has been a recipient of donated bone marrow.

The unrelated bone marrow donor registry is when CBS collects blood samples for donors who wish to join its registry. CBS then records the specific proteins that make an individual's bone marrow unique. This information is used to match donors with patients who need bone marrow transplants.

Interestingly, the average amount of blood in one person is five litres and there are approximately 450 millilitres of blood in a unit. On average, 4.6 units of blood are required per patient. In 2004-05, Canadian Blood Services collected approximately 850,000 units of whole blood.

I know there may be a member or a Canadian watching this debate who is wondering about the safety of Canada's blood supply and/or the safety of blood donation. I know other members will agree that Canada's blood system is safe. I know other members here in the House this evening will want to join with me in reassuring Canadians that our blood system is safe for them to use, whether as a donor or as a receiver.

The Canadian Blood Services makes safety paramount and, from the top down and across the organization at all levels, it meets or exceeds all relevant national and international standards for safety in blood management and operations.

The mandate of the Canadian Blood Services is to be responsible for a national blood supply system which assures access to a safe, secure, cost effective, affordable and accessible supply of quality blood, blood products and their alternatives, and supports their appropriate use.

The Canadian Blood Services is also involved in monitoring and surveillance and has a department responsible for treating diseases that could affect our donor population.

In addition, the Canadian Blood Services commission conducts studies that examine the impact of some policies on the security of the blood supply. As such, the Canadian Blood Services assesses trends to ensure a balance between the safety of the blood system and the availability of blood products for Canadians.

Further, Health Canada is responsible for disease surveillance in Canada. Additionally, through its role as the regulatory authority for the blood system in Canada, Health Canada monitors national and international trends that affect blood management and safety.

We also have the National Blood Safety Council which advises the federal government on blood safety matters that fall within its jurisdictional responsibilities.

All whole blood donations undergo a process whereby white blood cells are removed. White blood cells often carry viruses and bacteria that can be detrimental to the recovery of the recipient. To that end, the World Health Organization has said that Canada's blood system is among the safest in the world.

I have discussed why people should donate blood. I have outlined the various types of and needs for blood donation and I have addressed blood donor safety concerns.

Now that we know why blood donation is so critical, I just want to touch on why this bill is so important for those who have either donated their blood, received donated blood or work behind the scenes, and especially for those who have not yet donated.

At the very core of blood donation is volunteerism. No one is compelled to give their blood. There is no law saying that we must roll up our sleeves and donate blood. There is only the satisfaction in knowing that volunteering to do so matters, that volunteering to do so has saved a life and that volunteering to do so may save our own life one day.

Bill S-214 is vital because it celebrates the spirit of volunteerism, kindness and altruism. When I have spoken with people who have donated blood, or do so regularly, I ask them why they are keen on donating their time and their blood. In response I hear very heartwarming stories about their families' needs, their desire to give something back to their communities or just to know that they have done something to help others.

As I have said earlier, nearly 50% of Canadians will need donated blood sometime in their lives. Nearly half of Canadians will need blood that has been supplied by only 4% of our population. I believe we have a responsibility to raise the awareness of the need for blood. We need to raise the awareness that donating blood is safe, that it does not cost a dime and is something that is desperately needed.

We also need to make people aware that their selflessness is appreciated. People may not get instant gratification from a family member, friend or neighbour, but there is someone or some family member who appreciates more than words can articulate their thanks and appreciation.

Bill S-214 will do just that. Every year during the week of June 14 Canadians will recognize the kind acts of others when it comes to donating blood. Every year during the week of June 14 blood donors will know that their kind acts are appreciated.

Canadians must know, by giving just an hour of their time a couple of times a year, they can help a father become a grandfather, a young girl become an older sister and proud parents see their children grow up. This is why I ask the House to pass Bill S-214.

National Blood Donor Week ActPrivate Members' Business

6:15 p.m.


Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the hon. member for sharing his remarks with the House.

I am very proud to stand on behalf of British Columbians because blood donation is very important. In B.C. this year the Sikh nation has topped the number of people who have donated blood. They had a reason to donate. They donated in memory of the 1984 pogrom of Sikhs in New Delhi. This is a very good way to establish awareness.

It is good to establish the week of June 14 as blood donor week. How will the member take the necessary steps to inform our communities that are not well informed about blood donation?

National Blood Donor Week ActPrivate Members' Business

6:15 p.m.


Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member highlights a very important element of the awareness campaign we need to pursue if Bill S-214 passes the House and we create an act respecting a national blood donor week.

Many new Canadians who come to Canada have had a negative experience or a bad experience about donating blood. I have heard horror stories about it. It is so important to engage new Canadians to get involved in the process.

If we look at the statistical information, of 4% of people who donate, the vast majority are not new Canadians. It is very important that we tap into that segment of society in creating an awareness.

Awareness can take place at many different levels. As parliamentarians, we have a responsibility through our constituency and Ottawa offices and through our networks to promote and advocate for a national blood donor week. I believe there will be a campaign to create further awareness as well through the media.

There is no doubt that we need to target elements or segments of society that tend not to donate blood. Everyone needs to be included. We all benefit from this process. Blood does not discriminate. People who donate blood should not discriminate as well.

National Blood Donor Week ActPrivate Members' Business

6:15 p.m.

Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia Manitoba


Steven Fletcher ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I am happy voice my commitment and the government's commitment to the thousands of Canadians who give and receive blood or blood products each and every day by supporting the designation of the second week in June as national blood donor week.

The need for donated blood in Canada is ongoing. Recruiting and sustaining donors currently relies on day to day hard work and targeted campaigns throughout the year. A recent example was the November 2006 Operation Roll Up Your Sleeves campaign through which more than 20,000 Canadians donated blood and good wishes in honour of our Canadian Forces troops and veterans.

It was during the second world war that Canadians began donating blood and the country's first blood bank was born. Today, we have a system that crosses the country and is there when Canadians need it, every day of the year.

To meet our nation's requirements, one million units of blood must be collected from about 600,000 Canadians. That number represents just 5% of the population whose generous donations will give the gift of life to accident survivors, cancer patients, transplant recipients and many others, including myself.

Somebody in each of our lives has required or will require donated blood or blood components. Honouring Canada's blood donors through a national blood donor week makes it all the more likely the system will be there the next time our loved ones need it.

Canadians can also expect the need for blood to increase due to commitments across the country to decrease surgical wait times and advancements in science and technology that lead to new medical interventions. Designating a national blood donor week will help meet the need by encouraging existing donors to keep donating, infrequent donors to become regular donors and new donors to come forward.

However, it does not end there.

A sustainable blood donation system relies on other types of generosity too. Some people are unable to donate blood for health or other reasons, but this does not mean they cannot help. The warm smile and small talk that welcomes first time donors and calms their jittery nerves comes from a volunteer. The community blood drives that make it possible to donate rely largely on the work of volunteers. Volunteers spread the word and attract new donors by speaking publicly and privately about blood donation.

Recruiting and encouraging donors is an ongoing activity for which there will always be a need. The creation of national blood donor week will help to attract all types of skills required to keep the system going year round.

The demand for blood and blood products is constant throughout the year, but the reality is that donations drop off in the summer months. During the summer a drop in donations is managed through targeted drives for certain blood types, or in certain areas, or certain times such as long weekends when road accidents are more likely to happen.

The creation of a national blood donor week during the second week of June will remind existing and potential donors that the system still needs and appreciates them. It may also help to make those targeted blood drives all the more productive.

The second week in June also marks the World Health Organization's World Blood Day. The purpose of this day is threefold: to highlight the need for safe blood products; to thank and honour blood donors; and to encourage regular donation. Both the Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec support and are involved in the celebration of World Blood Day on June 14.

By designating the second week of June as Canada's national blood donor week, we will be joining international efforts to achieve safe blood systems everywhere.

I urge all my colleagues to vote in favour of designating the second week in June as national blood donor week so we can show existing blood donors, other volunteers and those yet to come that the existence of a safe blood and blood component supply will be there when their loved ones need it. It is their kindness and generosity that is appreciated by all Canadians.

National Blood Donor Week ActPrivate Members' Business

6:20 p.m.


Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak in favour of this bill, whose main objective is to raise awareness about the importance of becoming a blood donor and to encourage more people to give blood.

The date selected is June 14. That date coincides with the day set aside each year by the World Health Organization on which to commend and thank those who give the most precious gift of all, the gift of life.

In many circumstances, having a blood transfusion can often save a life. The World Health Organization, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Society of Blood Transfusion and the International Federation of Blood Donor Organizations have chosen Canada to host this year's World Blood Donor Day, which will be held on June 14.

The Bloc adds its voice and agrees to vote in favour of this bill. June 14 was adopted in honour of researcher Karl Landsteiner. He was born on June 14, 1968, in Vienna, Austria, and died on June 24, 1943. He discovered the first system of classification of blood groups, or the ABO blood group system. A number of member states of the World Health Organization will work together and are associated with this World Health Day. The 192 member states of the WHO, 181 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and 50 volunteer blood donor organizations have also agreed to support this World Blood Day.

In this context, we are in favour of this bill to respond to the request from Héma-Québec and Canadian Blood Services and to join this global awareness initiative. Those who give their blood do something significant that some describe as heroic.

Currently, Héma-Québec and Canadian Blood Services collect only 1.1 million units of blood from between 3% to 4% of eligible donors, which is not enough to meet the needs. Furthermore, the need for units of blood is increasing.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank, along with those who give blood, the thousands of volunteers who work at blood donor clinics.

The following is an overview of the needs, which are great. It is a daily challenge because blood components are perishable. For example, a platelet is viable for just five days and blood components are viable for six days. We have an important role to play to maintain an adequate supply. Every 80 seconds someone needs blood. A liver transplant requires 100 units of blood; a blood transfusion following a car accident or a bullet injury requires 50 units of blood; a hip replacement or a brain aneurysm may require six to eight units of blood. We also need blood for cancer cases. We know that 137,000 cases of cancer are diagnosed every year and hip replacements have increased by 2%.

In that context, we need more blood donors in order to have more units of blood. We must not forget that Héma-Québec was created at the height of the tainted blood scandal. This was a terrible scandal affecting thousands of victims in Quebec and Canada. Some 1,200 people were infected with the AIDS virus and 12,000 others were infected with the hepatitis C virus.

The different governments and parties that have been in power—whether Liberal or Conservative—were tight-fisted and delayed compensating all victims of tainted blood. It is sad to see that they had to wait at least a decade before being compensated. First an inquiry was held and then the victims had to wait five or six years more.

Even today, although satisfied with the $1 billion settlement, the victims find it difficult to accept that there was no compensation while waiting for the final settlement. $20,000 could have been made available while awaiting the final settlement.

This horrible tragedy could not be ignored. We know that expertise and a great deal of vigilance are required of those responsible for blood collection. Health Canada has some responsibility with regard to tainted blood.

I would also like to mention another aspect of this issue that has not been touched on today. Members of certain religions are told to refuse blood transfusions. Refusing treatment is a little difficult for me to understand although I realize that we are free to refuse or accept medical treatment. There is one religious group, the Jehovah's Witnesses, that tells its members to refuse any blood transfusion, because it is contrary to their religious beliefs.

I find this sad because a lot of work is being done to get people interested in giving blood. If a religious group does not allow its members to receive blood transfusions, people could die.

One of my constituents, Jonathan Lavoie, watched his brother die because he refused to receive a blood transfusion. He could not accept a transfusion because the Jehovah's Witnesses tell their members to refuse such medical treatment.

We recognize that refusing treatment is a fundamental human right and that it is difficult to oppose that choice when people make it consciously. But in what context does a person make that decision? Is the person sufficiently informed to refuse or accept a blood transfusion?

Today, on behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I am happy to speak in favour of adopting World Blood Donor Day given that on June 14, Canada will host World Blood Donor Day. The Bloc Québécois will have done its part in agreeing to host this day in Canada and Quebec.

National Blood Donor Week ActPrivate Members' Business

6:35 p.m.


Penny Priddy NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise to join my colleagues in supporting this bill to declare the week of June 14 national blood donor week, as have 192 other countries around the world. I cannot imagine why anybody would oppose this.

The 192 countries that are members of the World Health Organization have already done this. As a country that cares about its health care and its health care system and wants people to be treated quickly, efficiently and as meets their needs, then we can do no less than acknowledge that.

It is important to look at where we have come from and where we are but also to look at what declaring the week of June 14 blood donor week would really mean and what we might need to do. I think my colleague from Newton—North Delta referred to this earlier.

Let us think about what it used to be like even in 1943 or after the war when blood banks were established and we saw blood being donated and used more frequently in terms of blood donations. We were still seeing babies who died because there was no such thing as transposing blood for a baby who had an O positive mom and an O negative dad and was not able to mix those bloods together. Today we would just do a blood switch, or we could actually treat the mom earlier, but in those days before we had the evolution we have seen now, that baby would have died.

Perhaps members of our families who were in accidents or perhaps in surgeries died from lack of blood being available. It is not that we did not know we could transfuse it. It is not that we did not know it was possible. We had learned that during the war, and actually before that, but there just was not enough. It was not available or the right kind was not available.

We have come a very long way in the last years since the mid-1940s, but what is the current situation today? Let us look at this. We have 192 countries and many provinces that have blood donor days. We celebrate that, but I do not know if everybody truly understands it, because for us in Canada it is a resource that has always been there for us.

In most hon. members' memories, I would think, it has always been there. We have not had to buy it. We certainly do not get money for selling it, as happens in some countries that are actually quite close to us, so we have almost taken it for granted as something that will be there when we need it, but there will be people for whom it will not be there when they need it, particularly when we look at the large scope of what blood products actually are.

I do not know if people really appreciate how little blood people have and how much is used during some major surgeries. Others have referred to this. If one has five litres of blood circulating in the blood system, and if someone has a liver transplant, and I am using a more traumatic event to talk about, one needs 100 litres of blood for the transplant. That means all the blood in the bodies of 60 people is needed for one liver transplant.

I do not think that people understand the full scope of what it takes and the amount of blood it takes to provide quick, efficacious and safe treatment for people who may require a blood transfusion. I have certainly seen this in my own community. When we think that blood is reasonably available, it does not mean that every type is reasonably available.

Can we get O positive most of the time? Sure. Can we get O negative? Sure, but when we start to get into the rarer blood types, it is quite possible for it not to be available even now, particularly if we live in a rural area where there may not be a big enough local population base and blood has to be transported. Certainly that is done, but it does not mean that it is immediately available for everybody.

If our current situation is that only 4% of our eligible population donate blood, that does not mean 4% of all people, so that is a very large load for 4% of the population to carry. If we were to ask 308 people in the House when they last gave blood, I do not know what the answer would be. If every one of us in the House who is eligible to give blood were to commit to do that on a regular basis, what a difference even that would make. What a wonderful commitment that would be. That would be a real celebration of blood donor day on June 14 if the House committed to do that, but this needs a much bigger population than 4% of us.

It becomes a part of everybody's minds when we hear the ad on the radio saying that the long weekend is coming up, particularly in the nice weather, the May 24 weekend and the weekends of July 1 and August 1. The ads say more blood is needed on those weekends because more people will be on the road and there will be more accidents. There is a little surge of people who go in to donate because the ad on the radio has reminded them that they may be able to help. They go in and donate blood, but they do not make it part of their annual routine or every three months or whatever works for people, and that is really what we need to happen.

That is the current situation.

The other thing I would be very concerned about is that we have people who are waiting unconscionable lengths of time for surgery. I would be absolutely appalled if somebody with a rare blood type had to wait a long time for surgery and suddenly the blood needed was not available. I cannot even imagine what that would do to somebody. That would not happen with a more typical blood type, of course.

Another point that we do not always understand is that bone marrow is considered part of blood donation. It is not that we go in and donate bone marrow, but we do sign up. In the community that the member for Newton—North Delta and I come from, we have had major challenges around bone marrow transplants, because there has to be a registry that is large enough to support a very mixed population in Canada today.

That is great, because we have a very textured and wonderful mix of people, but that means people have not in any way been able to find a bone marrow match. We have had several instances of this in the community of Surrey. People from the South Asian community or the Chinese community, particularly children who have a mom and a dad with different ethnic backgrounds, often find it much harder to get a bone marrow match if there is no family match. People die every day because they cannot find a bone marrow match. We see it on TV. We read those stories.

This legislation would allow a much bigger registry. It does not mean that all those people would then put up their hands if they were called and say that of course they would give bone marrow, because that is a very serious decision, but at least there would be more people to ask for that little four year old who is lying in hospital. Her mom and dad and her sisters and her brothers have no idea what will happen and are totally unable to do anything. Anybody who has children knows how powerless it would feel to watch one's child and know there is not a single solitary thing one can do to find a blood donor or a bone marrow donor and find them fast.

Declaring the week of June 14 as national blood donor week is incredibly important, but only if action comes with it, action around awareness. I am not sure that everyone knows the things we have talked about in the House today. We have to get more of that information out.

We have to at least get the information out to younger people. When I go into a blood donor clinic, and I am stereotyping a bit here and it is not to say that everybody who gives blood is older, but I think there are a number of people who have been donating blood for 20 to 30 years. They remember when blood was not always readily available.

As with any kind of education program, we have to start with younger people so they understand. Nobody is asking high school students to give blood, but surely we should be talking about it so that when they are older they will be able to make that decision for themselves.

As others have said, I am not sure everybody realizes as well the number of volunteers who are involved in the collection of blood.

I am pleased to stand and support all of my colleagues in having the week of June 14 declared national blood donor week.

National Blood Donor Week ActPrivate Members' Business

6:40 p.m.


Ken Boshcoff Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, when I have a chance to talk to students who are ready to change the world, I ask them if they think saving three lives a week would be a good start. In spite of all the altruistic talk, few take up the challenge, so I will use this forum to give every young person the chance to save three lives this week, and it is free.

Thunder Bay's Plasma Centre is operated by the Canadian Blood Services and has been seeing a refreshing increase in the number of young people becoming plasma donors. I offer this as an opportunity to anyone who wants to change the world or who wants to make a difference.

People may ask how many times I have donated. I am proud to say it has been 351 times, which is the approximate equivalent of 1,000 lives. I hear tons of excuses and some are valid, but tell me why people who are healthy would not want to save three lives this week or next week. It should be a very formidable reason, perhaps their health or some other rather excusable reason.

Canada's system of volunteers, those who commit a mere one and a half hours a week, are the backbone of our society. They are people who care about others. That is a standard by which Canadians should benchmark themselves.

People may not be aware that they can give plasma every six days, platelets every two weeks, and whole blood five times a year, but no matter what they do, it helps, particularly those with rare blood types. It is my belief that if people hope to receive blood products after an accident or operation, then they should acknowledge today that it is a two way street. It is not a bank for withdrawals only. People have to make deposits. How could people just assume that someone else will provide the blood for them? It just cannot be done on a one way effort.

The awareness level must be ramped up. We need to do much more to let people know they have such a responsibility, a duty even. Would anyone want a family member to die from lack of blood? As serious as that scenario may be, it could happen if supplies are not continually replenished.

People should not donate out of simple fear that they should donate. They should do it because they know they can help, that they care, that they will make a difference, that the lives they save will also help make a difference. I am asking for unanimous all party support to hasten this bill through the House.

We, indeed, are fortunate in Canada to have such a fine, safe and dependable system. Those who donate know that the professionals who operate the centres are simply the best staff and professional people anyone could really ask for.

In the House of Commons there is a big debate about whether the ice water that runs through the veins of politicians is valid and would be accepted. The best thing for members to do is to go to Canadian Blood Services or the Quebec operations to be examined to see if they can or cannot donate. When it all shakes down, this is what one person can do to help many others.

These two organizations, Héma-Québec and Canadian Blood Services, are not for profit. I reiterate that it is one of the safest blood systems in the world. We are fortunate even to have such a system. Our neighbours to the south operate in a much different system. In many cases it is cash per pint, which would make me very nervous.

The fact that half of all of us will require blood or blood products for ourselves or a family member in our lifetime, that inevitable statistic should motivate us enough to walk down the street, hop in the car, or take the bus to the blood donor clinic and take some time for other people. When we look at 4% of the population, even if we assume that 50% of people because of past illnesses or problems with their immune system cannot donate, that still leaves out of half of the Canadians, 46% who should be healthy enough to do it.

We talked about bone marrow, platelets, plasma and whole blood. The range of opportunity is there. As a regular plasma donor, the Ottawa centre calls me to give platelets. Because I try to give plasma as often as I can, I have a more difficult time donating platelets. However, even when we travel to other centres, we will always see Canadian Blood Services or Héma-Québec offering a clinic and we could take some time to drop in and donate.

That awareness of becoming a blood donor and helping other people should be our inspiration. We do not do it for the money. We do it because we are kind and generous as Canadians. The thousands of people who donate on a regular basis should be recognized, not necessarily because blood donors want a pat on the back or that type of recognition, but because I believe they want others to be inspired enough to take an hour and a half once a week, or every couple of weeks, or every few months, to come out and help.

The World Health Organization declared June 14 as World Blood Donor Day. Canadians should strongly support this bill, and I believe they will. Let us do everything we can to encourage people, especially young people, to make that commitment early in their lives so that it becomes a habit, part of their daily or weekly routine, for example, that Thursdays are their plasma donor days or whatever. Let us encourage them to make it part of their lifestyle of caring and helping to save lives.

I encourage all members of the House to unanimously endorse a national blood donor week.

National Blood Donor Week ActPrivate Members' Business

6:50 p.m.


Patrick Brown Conservative Barrie, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to announce my support to designate the second week of June as national blood donor week.

It is easy to say Canadians are lucky to have access to some of the safest blood in the world. Instead, I would like to acknowledge that it is not luck, but the kindness and generosity of a network of dedicated blood donors and volunteers who help to make this possible. A blood system is nothing without these generous individuals. It is the people whom we rely on when times are really tough. As such, it is important to celebrate and honour all blood donors and other volunteers who make the system work by creating national blood donor week.

The second week in June is significant not just because it marks the launch of summertime in Canada when blood donations traditionally decline, but because it also marks the World Health Organization's World Blood Donor Day on June 14th. Canada can join other nations and millions of people and organizations around the world to celebrate blood donors, raise awareness of the need for a safe supply of blood, and increase voluntary blood donation around the world by declaring the second week of June national blood donor week.

One significant reason Canada's blood supply is safe, and all the more reason to celebrate by creating national blood donor week, is that it is 100% donor supplied. According to the World Health Organization, less than 50% of blood collected in developing countries comes from voluntary donation. Instead, the majority comes from paid donors or obligatory blood replacement from the family members of transfusion patients.

The Pan American Health Organization recognizes that voluntarily donated blood is significantly safer than blood donated for payment or replacement. According to this organization, blood for payment or replacement is 40 times more likely to be infected with hepatitis C and 175 times more likely to be infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The celebration of Canada's blood donors, coordinated with World Blood Donor Day, sets a positive example worldwide.

Many countries in the Americas where just 30% of their blood is voluntarily donated look in awe to Canada, wondering how we can do it. The simple answer is the kindness and generosity of our volunteers. This is all the more reason why I support the designation of the second week in June as national blood donor week.

Acknowledging and thanking Canada's blood donors via a national blood donor week would serve as an example of best practices to nations around the world that want and need their own safe blood systems. It would also keep our system going.

The Government of Canada serves its citizens, including those close to each of us whom we love and cherish dearly, by encouraging existing donors to keep rolling up their sleeves and prospective donors to start. Declaring national blood donor week says to the people of Canada that this is important. This one small act of donating blood, this snippet of time, makes a huge difference in each of our lives.

As good as our system is, a national blood donor week would help it get even better. Although one unit of blood can potentially save three patients, the average patient needs 4.6 units for treatment. Existing rates of blood donation at less than 4% falls short of what Canadian patients need. At least 5% of Canadians need to donate in order to satisfy existing demand.

Furthermore, in all likelihood our aging population and national commitment to improved access to surgeries will mean an increased need for blood. An increased need for blood means an increased need for blood donors. The creation of a national blood donor week would help achieve that goal by telling Canadians that donating blood is a safe thing to do and the right thing to do.

I ask that all my colleagues show their appreciation for Canada's blood donors by voting in favour of Bill S-214.

I note that I received two emails from my own riding: one from a young girl, Lynne Waddington, who had created a facebook and she had hundreds of her friends pledge to give blood, and also one from our MPP Joe Tascona, who is actually organizing a blood donor clinic himself. These are typical of the volunteers we are seeing across Canada.

I urge my colleagues to support this bill and celebrate the many great volunteers we have across this country.

National Blood Donor Week ActPrivate Members' Business

6:55 p.m.


Rick Casson Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise tonight and speak to Bill S-214 which is a very important bill before the House.

We do not very often stop to say thanks to the people that volunteer for almost everything that is needed in this country. No matter where we look or where we find a need, we can always find a person to fill that need. Certainly, blood donors are included in that group. If we take a week each year and call it national blood donor week, it is an appropriate thing to do.

I notice that the bill has been around for a while. It is now time that we dealt with it. I applaud the sponsor of the bill for bringing it forward in the House. We will see what happens to the bill as it goes on. It appears that most speakers tonight are in favour of the bill.

The blood system in Canada sometimes is in the news for some of the wrong reasons. In recent years it has been in the news for all the right reasons. Our blood system is a safe system. It is a system that meets the demand. I always remember when there is a long weekend approaching and people are expected to be injured on the highways that there is always a call that goes out to anyone who has not given blood in a while to go down to their blood donor clinic and donate. There is always a need and it reoccurs time and time again.

I also think of our troops, whether they are in Afghanistan or anywhere in the world and how they will require blood when they are injured. Canadians can help our troops by donating blood.

The whole idea that one donation of blood can be spread out and do so much for so many people is something I did not realize was possible until a few years ago. I thought that a pint of blood was a pint of blood. It is not. Canadian Blood Services processes the blood and use it for all types of treatment. Many people are helped through one donation.

The government is right in supporting Bill S-214 and it recognizes the importance in encouraging and promoting blood donations. Of course each donation has the potential to safe a life.

Health Canada regulates the blood system and the products under the Food and Drugs Act to make sure that Canada's blood supply is safe. We have been down that road in the past and the government is very vigilant today that without the system being absolutely 100% safe, it is not of much value.

The demand for blood grows as our population grows and lifestyles change. There is always a need to continue promoting and making sure that people understand that donating blood is critically important.

In Canada blood is donated voluntarily. In some countries people are paid for donating a pint of blood. Here in Canada it is strictly voluntary. Donating blood is purely a selfless act and it should be recognized through any means.

The bill reads that the week where June 14 falls would be known as national blood donor week. Our party supports the bill. A national blood donor week would coincide also with World Blood Donor Day which is the second Tuesday in June around the world.

I have heard the comments in the House tonight and I believe that we are on the right track in taking this simple initiative to make sure that the thousands and thousands of people across Canada who donate blood on a regular basis are recognized. I must say that I am not one of those people who goes on a regular basis. My colleague from Rainy River is hanging his head. I have not donated on a regular basis and I should, and maybe some day that will happen.

I always tell the story of when I had a blood test when I got married, I hit the floor a couple of times. I do not know if that has anything to do with it. Certainly, lots of my friends and acquaintances have given blood over 50 times. That is a remarkable plateau to reach. I certainly appreciate the fact that they donate regularly.

I understand that another colleague here wants to say a few words. I will conclude my comments so that he may give his comments as well.

In closing, we support the bill. It is a great idea to recognize and just say thanks once a year to the people who give blood in this country.

National Blood Donor Week ActPrivate Members' Business

7 p.m.


David Sweet Conservative Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak on Bill S-214. I would like to say that one of the things I have done in the past is support and sponsor blood donor clinics.

There is a need to encourage people to give blood, not only for the first time, as my colleague mentioned, but to continue the practice on a regular basis. It becomes more and more important.

One of the other aspects of this is that our world is becoming more dangerous. There are situations such as car collisions or cataclysmic weather or, God forbid, where there is a heinous criminal act and not one person but many people are hurt. To have this encouragement for people to get out to the blood donor clinics, and to have a good supply on hand if this kind of thing takes place, that is what we want to promote and encourage.

I join with the other members who have said they support the bill. I support it. As well, we must make sure that we do our best to encourage all of our constituents to get out to these clinics.

National Blood Donor Week ActPrivate Members' Business

7 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

The time provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the order paper.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

7 p.m.


Ken Boshcoff Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am speaking today about a summer drought that became a winter drought and is now leading into a spring drought for the farmers of the Thunder Bay, Rainy River, Algoma and Kenora districts.

I realize that this drought is also affecting Peace River, Alberta, and Peace River, British Columbia, and southwestern Saskatchewan.

We know that the compounding of summer drought and a lack of snow over the winter has presented a whole series of problems.

The lack of snow cover has allowed for a deep penetration of ground frost. There has been a higher than normal winterkill of crops. The pasture land yields have been greatly reduced. Pasture weeds are likely to increase this summer. There has been increased soil erosion and it will continue.

Water levels in surrounding area lakes are also at record lows. Many local wells have low water levels. Indeed, people have had to truck in water.

There is also the revenue loss due to the reduction in the weight of the cattle, lower pregnancy rates in cows and inconvenient market timing for cattle sales.

There are increased capital costs for hauling, acquiring water, purchasing hay, purchasing replacement animals for breeding livestock, fencing new pasture land, digging new wells and installing new emergency pumps for livestock. Just the water needs alone for cattle are cumbersome and costly during times of drought.

Producers were forced to sell breeding livestock for $200 to $300 per animal last fall just to provide food and water for the remaining animals. This creates a significant net loss for farm producers, so they already have a shortage of cash, and they need the cash now for immediate costs like spring planting and the feeding and the purchasing of breeding livestock.

To compound all of this, there is an increased fire risk, and on top of all of it, there is the inconvenience and the impossibility of business planning for the coming year.

We can imagine the tremendous stress that has occurred. Help is needed.

Recently I received correspondence from the Minister of Agriculture and Food for Saskatchewan, who has requested of the federal government that funding be made immediately available in an on-farm livestock water development program to address producers' immediate needs for water access.

I thank the minister for declaring the tax deferral on the drought-induced sales for those areas affected. It will help, but the problem now is so infrastructural, so deep and so widespread that federal intervention is required immediately.

Historically it has been the federal government that has taken the lead on these types of disasters, such as the ice storm or recently in Quebec the golden nematode for potato producers, with a disaster program that was not required to be cost shared.

I know that my fellow MPs from the other drought areas share my concerns. I know that the parliamentary secretary for agriculture said there was a lot of money, so now I must ask, when will the drought-stricken farmers receive theirs?

7:05 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan


David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, after 13 years of the Liberal government, the government is working hard to put in place a new set of programs for Canadian farmers that will address not only ongoing problems such as low farm income, but also address the extraordinary needs of producers that are created by things such as the droughts that we find in northwestern Ontario, Alberta, B.C. and southwestern Saskatchewan.

We are currently working to revise our business risk management programming to try to make it more responsive to the ongoing problems of high input costs that farmers face and the low commodity prices that often confront them. Officials are currently working, as the member knows, on the details of a separate disaster relief framework that will allow governments to respond more quickly to disasters, whether they be new diseases or natural disasters such as flooding or drought.

While CAIS remains in place for the 2006 program year, the government and its provincial partners have agreed, as a transitional measure, to implement under CAIS a number of key elements of a new stabilization program. This will allow producers to benefit from these program enhancements as soon as possible.

The government has also recently announced an additional $1 billion in two initiatives for farmers. We will soon be making a payment of up to $400 million to help offset the high cost of production faced by producers over the last few years. We have also earmarked a one time payment of up to $600 million to kickstart the new government producer savings account style program that will be put in place with the agreement of the provinces. To tie it to the savings accounts, the government has also committed another $100 million annually to address high production costs when they occur.

I think the member understands and realizes that the government is committed to agriculture and has been putting a large amount of money toward it.

It is essential in a sector such as agriculture, which is characterized by joint jurisdictions between the federal and provincial governments, that we develop and implement these programs in a collaborative manner with the provinces and industries so that everyone is committed to the success of the programs.

One of the frustrations has been that as we have gone forward to try to convince the government that there is an issue here, that there is a drought that has taken place and that the government needs to respond, my own provincial government has been very reluctant to even admit that there is any sort of an emergency. While I am down here trying to say that we do have an emergency situation, we have a drought situation, the Saskatchewan government itself is saying that it does not really recognize that there is an emergency situation. This makes it much more difficult for me to represent my area and, if the same thing is happening to the hon. member opposite, I know it makes it much more difficult for him to represent his folks as well.

The Saskatchewan government has played with this issue since last summer. I know that the provincial minister has come out with a number of what he would call different suggestions, but what I have seen are just delay tactics. He suggested at one point that we should probably go to a 70-30 split. He told some of my producers that in meetings and then went public and said that we should do a 90-10 split. If anything is going to happen, it looks like it will be a 100-0 split. It is frustrating dealing with a provincial government that will not even recognize that we have an issue.

We will try to continue working with the provinces and territories to bring in these programs that are predictable, responsible and bankable and that deal with these emergency situations.

7:05 p.m.


Ken Boshcoff Liberal Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the response but I do not appreciate the opening cheap shots. However, I had almost that entire response several months ago.

I was hoping that, through a cooperative exercise, that we, as a federal Parliament, could address this need, which is really in four provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Ontario. As opposed to trying to blame someone else, it is the farmers who are left waiting for us to make a decision. As the process works its way through, now that we are getting into spring planting, decisions need to be made in terms of breeding stock and those kinds of things.

This question has been raised in the House many times. The minister himself said that the cabinet was working on prospects to address the drought areas in southwestern Saskatchewan, Peace River and northern Ontario, and I would take him at his word as a sincere person.

It is now the end of April and decisions for the farm communities in all those areas are rapidly coming to a decision time. The fact that in the areas that I have mentioned only one has had some measure of environmental relief through proper rainfall, means that the rest of them are quite stricken, and I ask--

7:10 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board.

7:10 p.m.


David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have no intention of taking cheap shots or blaming anybody for this issue. I am just trying to lay out the facts as I have crossed paths with the provincial government on this issue.

As with any initiative, when working with partners we need to ensure that the provinces are in agreement with the strategy that we adopt and that we have adopted the best possible approach to the targets that we are trying to hit. Once a disaster framework is in place, with cost sharing established and criteria finalized, governments will be more responsive to unforeseen and unavoidable disasters in the farming sector.

In the meantime, we have been discussing with the provinces the need for disaster assistance to help those facing extraordinary costs due to the drought of 2006. The member needs to realize that it is important to have provincial participation in any assistance as we move forward toward implementing a disaster relief framework for the long term. As such, we will continue to work with the affected provinces to see if and how assistance should be made available for those most seriously affected by the drought of 2006.

7:10 p.m.


Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, sadly, I rise today to follow up on a question I asked in the House before about our manufacturing sector.

Hamilton Speciality Bar is a plant in Hamilton East—Stoney Creek. As it sounds from the name, it is a plant that specializes in auto parts and very high quality workmanship. It will be throwing 300 workers out of work in just a few short weeks. The jobs in this plant were decent, union scale jobs, with good wages for the people to raise their families and purchase properties in our community. Third generation people are working in this plant. They are losing their jobs because the government has failed them.

Canada's manufacturing sector is in crisis. In Hamilton in the last year we have lost 11,000 jobs, primarily because of high energy prices, a high dollar and a worsening trade deficit with countries in Asia. It has caused many plants to reduce their output, or to layoff workers, or to close altogether. The value of Canada's manufacturing capital has declined since 2000 because business investment has been unable to even keep up with depreciation.

In the period November 2002 to April 2004, we lost 17,000 jobs in Ontario. However, between the period of April 2004 and February this year, we lost 124,000 jobs.

The government likes to talk about net job creation. In fact, it does create some jobs, but most of those are in other sectors that are low paying or part time jobs. One of the important assets we get from value added manufacturing jobs is they sustain a high number of well paid jobs in our community.

Recently, a delegation, headed by the Canadian Labour Congress, met with our Prime Minister and the Minister of Labour, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Industry. It asked that we immediately implement a buy Canadian procurement policy and that the government tie such a policy to all and any federally funded municipal or provincial infrastructure investments. This would have an immediate impact on the manufacturing sector.

We do not see anything coming from the government in the sense of a strategy. For example, in British Columbia, when it saw it was in trouble a number of years ago, it created the position of a jobs commissioner. My understanding is that of the 125,000 jobs at risk, over 75,000 jobs were saved. There was a significant improvement over what it faced.

Now Canadians across the country, who work in the manufacturing sector, are very concerned. We have another trade deal looming over our heads potentially with Korea. What will that lead to?

To be very clear, we need a strategy in our country that protects jobs in our value added manufacturing sector. What new news can we get from the government today?

7:15 p.m.

Oshawa Ontario


Colin Carrie ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, just over a year ago Canadians voted for change. They recognized that the previous government was stale, that it had no vision and that it could not measure up to the expectation of Canadians.

Under the Liberal rule, Canada's manufacturers were competing with an anchor around their necks, high commodity and energy prices and increasing competition from low cost countries. Worse still, their government was not listening. Leading voices in industry, academia and labour, as well as business analysts were sounding the alarm of a crisis in our manufacturing sector, a call for help that went unheeded, like the calls from the member's constituency.

Canada's new government has stepped up to the plate and hit the ball out of the park. We delivered on the right conditions for manufacturers and Canadians to succeed on the world stage.

We started with our tax reduction measures in budget 2006. We eliminated the capital tax, reduced corporate and small business tax rates and confirmed the elimination of the corporate surtax, allowing Canada to regain a solid 5.1% statutory tax rate advantage over the United States of manufacturing income by 2010. That budget included 29 tax cuts, a clear signal that this government was serious about creating a supportive business environment that promotes competitiveness and innovation.

In November we announced our strategic economic plan. Advantage Canada goes to the heart of addressing manufacturers' concerns. Simply put, this plan focuses on five advantages that will help firms, including manufacturers, succeed in global markets.

There is a tax advantage that will continue to reduce taxes for all Canadians and establish the lowest tax rate on new business investment in the G-7. There is a fiscal advantage that will eliminate Canada's total government net debt in less than a generation. There is an entrepreneurial advantage that will reduce unnecessary regulation and red tape and lower taxes to unlock business investment. There is a knowledge advantage designed to create the best educated, most skilled and most flexible workforce in the world. There is an infrastructure advantage that will create a modern world-class infrastructure to ensure the seamless flow of people, goods and services across the country and across our borders.

We did not stop there. Budget 2007 delivers on the commitments that we set out in Advantage Canada. Most notably manufacturers will now be able to write off over an accelerated two year period all manufacturing and processing machinery and equipment bought before 2009.

Budget 2007 is touted by eminent Canadian business leaders and by manufacturers themselves as a winning budget for manufacturers. This comes after last year's budget was recognized as the best budget for manufacturers in five years.

Together, Advantage Canada and our budget measures add up to a foundation to establish a more competitive business environment, one that will help Canadian manufacturers become more agile, assist them in capitalizing on their knowledge advantage and ensure that they can compete in global markets.

Canadian manufacturers are responding already by investing in innovation and in the skills of its workforce. This government values the manufacturing sector. We will continue working with the industry to ensure the success and stability of Canadian workers, and the Canadian industry.

7:15 p.m.


Wayne Marston NDP Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am just a little surprised. That sounded to me more like a TV commercial full of buzzwords.

Hamilton Specialty Bar, a plant in Hamilton, needed the government to step up to the plate. It needed both levels of government, provincial and federal, to come together and come up with a strategy of loan guarantees or something that would help entice a buyer into that plant and it has received nothing.

In the response I did not hear anything around a buy Canadian policy for the goods and services of the government.