Mr. Speaker, on May 25, you ruled against an emergency debate on the medical isotope crisis proposed by my colleague, the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley. At the time you emphasized that your decision was applicable to the circumstances at the moment and that you would entertain a further request if conditions changed. Circumstances have certainly changed dramatically, and not for the better.
At the time we had been told that the Chalk River reactor, producing 80% of Canada's medical isotope needs, would be shut down for a month. We are now facing a best-case scenario of more than a three-month shutdown. The result is a crisis in the procurement of supply of isotopes. Service has been reduced to as low as 10% in some communities, and now we are told smaller hospitals across the country will receive no isotopes this week.
Yesterday the head of the Canadian Association of Nuclear Medicine called the situation a catastrophe for the two million nuclear medicine patients in Canada. The medical chief of the nuclear medicine department at a Hamilton hospital warned that if they are unable to deliver 50% of the usual exams, she believes deaths would occur due to the additional strain placed on the health care delivery system.
The government claims we can do more with alternatives, but this is disputed by health professionals, especially in the treatment of children.
The worsening situation is of grave concern and, in my view, begs for an emergency debate as soon as possible so that all members in the House can participate in a dialogue, deliberations and debate on this crisis and propose guidance and solutions to the government of the day.