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House of Commons Hansard #43 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was fair.

Topics

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

November 3rd, 2011 / 10:55 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, if Question No. 142 could be made an order for return, this return would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is it agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 142Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

With respect to the venous system, and more particularly, chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI): (a) what, if any, steps is the government taking to address research questions regarding the venous system, including (i) what does the normal venous system look like, and, specifically, what does it look like in infants, children, and adults, (ii) can the veins, in particular the jugulars and the azygous, look normal, and the flow be abnormal, (iii) what is the normal range of flow through veins, in particular the jugulars and the azygous, (iv) how should normal range of flow through veins, in particular the jugulars and azygous, be defined, (v) what is the normal range of blood gases in veins, in particular the jugulars and the azygous, (vi) what causes venous pathology and when does it occur, (vii) theoretically, what is the complete range of possible vascular problems in the head, neck, chest, and spine, which ones might impact health, and specifically which ones might be linked to multiple sclerosis (MS), (viii) how does the complete range of possible vascular problems compare with those actually seen in patients, (ix) how should abnormal flow through veins, in particular the jugulars and the azygous, be defined, (x) how might abnormal blood gases in veins affect health in the short-term and long-term, (xi) what, if any, reflux is normal in veins, and, if some reflux is normal, what is the ‘tipping point’ to abnormal, (xii) can a catalogue of venous pathology (in the head, neck, chest and spine), abnormal flow, and potential health impacts be established, (xiii) what protects against abnormal venous pathology and abnormal flow, (xiv) who should receive venous protective measures, and when should protective measures be put in place;

(b) what, if any, steps is the government taking to address research questions regarding the venous system and MS, including, (i) can fluid mechanics predict where physiologic changes in the brain might occur, (ii) how does the neurologist’s understanding of flow through the brain compare with that of physicists, (iii) does decreased metabolism lead to hypoxia which may lead to endothelial damage and inflammation, (iv) what occurs first, inflammatory changes in the brain or iron deposition, (v) what role does reduced perfusion have in MS, (vi) does stenosis extra-cranially cause less perfusion in the brain, (vii) does stenosis extra-cranially cause morphological changes in the brain, (viii) do cerebral veins actually disappear over time, or is it merely a lack of flow that makes them look like they disappear in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies; (ix) what, if any changes beyond lesions, occur in the spinal cord of MS patients, as a result of reduced vertebral flow, (x) do vertebral veins show a similar disappearance over time, (xi) what percentage of MS patients show evidence of venous pathology, as compared to 'normals', (xii) what other venous abnormalities might MS patients have (e.g., bladder, intestine, kidney), might these abnormalities play a role in their disease, and, if so, how should they be imaged and treated, (xiii) what percentage of MS patients show venous abnormalities below the chest (e.g., May Thurner syndrome), and does this have an impact on their disease, (xiv) how does the vascular system of someone with benign MS compare to that of someone with relapsing-remitting, primary progressive or secondary progressive MS; (c) what, if any, steps is the government taking to address research questions regarding CCSVI and MS, including, (i) what is the prevalence of CCSVI in relapsing-remitting, primary progressive or secondary progressive MS, (ii) does CCSVI worsen over time with the progression of disease, (iii) does CCSVI play a role in MS, and, if so, how, (iv) is CCSVI specific to MS, (v) what are the potential health impacts of CCSVI in the short-term, medium-term and long-term, both with and without treatment; (d) what, if any, steps is the government taking to address research questions regarding CCSVI diagnosis, including (i) how do the results of MRI compare with those of ultrasound for diagnosis of CCSVI, (ii) what is the best way to image the venous system and the best way to image venous pathology, (iii) what are the limitations of current diagnostic tools to image the venous system, (iv) should intravascular ultrasound be used, and what are the benefits and the risks, (v) what is the learning curve for the various diagnostic procedures, and what should practitioners undertake to become sufficiently accomplished, (vi) can a standardized protocol be established for diagnosing CCSVI in MS patients, and when should MS patients be tested for CCSVI, (vii) can a standardized system for describing lesions (e.g., type, location) be established, (viii) what should be the decision-making process regarding whether to treat or not to treat (e.g., anatomy, flow, etc.), (ix) should arterial, venous and CSF flow be monitored, how often, and for what purpose, (x) should lesions and iron load be monitored, how often, and for what purpose;

(e) what, if any, steps is the government taking to address research questions regarding CCSVI treatment, including (i) what timescale is useful for treatment of CCSVI, (ii) what are the benefits and risks associated with treatment of CCSVI, (iii) what are best practices for treating each identified vascular problem, (iv) how should a successful CCSVI treatment be defined (e.g., valvular correction, reduction in stenosis, increased flow, improved blood gases), (v) can malformed jugulars and azygous be treated to achieve normal flow, (vi) can malformed jugulars and azygous be treated to achieve a normal range of blood gases, (vii) can jugulars and azygous be sufficiently treated to make up for poor vertebral flow, and, if not, what procedures can be developed to improve vertebral flow, (viii) should stents be used, and, if so, under what circumstances, (ix) what are the immediate complications of CCSVI treatment, and in what percentage of treatments does each occur for each identified abnormality, (x) what is the best follow-up anti-coagulant therapy, what are the potential risks, and what is the prevalence of complications, (xi) what are the best follow-up therapies, including, brain plasticity exercises, nutrition, physiotherapy, speech therapy, etc., and which therapies have the best associated outcomes, (xii) what are late complications, what follow-up is necessary to determine late complications, and in what percentage of treatments does each occur for each identified abnormality, (xiii) what treatments are available should a stent be occluded, either through hyperplasia or thrombosis, (xiv) what is the success rate of each identified treatment for an occluded stent; (f) what, if any, steps is the government taking to address research questions regarding determining the best CCSVI treatment, including, (i) is CCSVI treatment with the addition of pharmacological agents more efficacious than just the CCSVI procedure, (ii) what pharmacological agents could be used to treat venous inflammation, iron storage, and hydrocephaly, and could these agents be added to CCSVI treatment, (iii) what safe apparatuses could be developed to keep treated veins open, (iv) are vein grafts possible, and if so, on whom, and when should they be used, (v) is CCSVI treatment more efficacious with mesenchymal-derived or adipose-derived stem-cell infusion than just the CCSVI procedure alone, (vi) what methods might be added to reduce permeability of the blood-brain barrier, including pharmacological agents and stem cells, (vii) what are the effects of chelators on iron uptake and release from the brain, and might iron chelators be used as therapeutic agents;

(g) what, if any, steps is the government taking to address research questions regarding possible impacts of CCSVI treatment on MS patients, including (i) what impact does CCSVI treatment have on patients immediately, (ii) what impact does CCSVI treatment have on patients at 24 hours, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years, (iii) what does the magnetic resonance venography (MRV) of a treated patient look like at 24 hours, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years, (iv) what percentage of MS patients show functional improvement at 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years, (v) what are the most appropriate scales to measure any health impacts following CCSVI treatment as reported by MS patients, (vi) do new scales have to be created to measure reported changes following treatment, (vii) which patients show the greatest improvement, and does early intervention allow for a better outcome, (viii) what are the treatment outcomes associated with each of the identified venous problems, (ix) what percentage of MS patients show a reduction in MS attacks and brain lesions following the CCSVI procedure, (x) what percentage of MS patients with little or mild blockage show improvement following the CCSVI procedure, (xi) for those MS patients whose conditions do not improve or become worse, why does this occur; (h) what, if any, steps is the government taking to address research questions regarding CCSVI re-stenosis and diagnosis, including, (i) what is rate of stenosis for each identified vascular abnormality, (ii) what changes should patients be told to look for to in order to recognize whether they are possibly re-stenosing, (iii) what diagnostic methods should be used after treatment for CCSVI, (iv) what diagnostic methods should be used to look for re-stenosis, and at what timescales; (i) what, if any, steps is the government taking to address research questions regarding secondary procedures for CCSVI, including, (i) are secondary procedures safe, and if so, how many, (ii) what should be the follow-up protocol for secondary procedures, (iii) should there be a methodology established regarding whether to do a secondary procedure or not; and (j) what, if any, steps is the government taking to address research questions regarding prevention in the next generation, including, (i) do vascular issues develop in utero, during childhood, or later, and what would be the best methods to discover circulation problems at the earliest time possible to avoid health impacts at a later date, (ii) might vascular birthmarks and tumours be an indication of potential vascular problems, (iii) might skin discolouration, skin abnormalities, and even proliferation of moles be an indication of an autoimmune or neural condition, (iv) might giving vitamin D to pregnant mothers reduce the risk of children being born with, or developing, vascular problems and other conditions and, if so, what dosage is appropriate, (v) do antioxidants, vitamin D and omega 3 reduce vein inflammation, (vi) will giving children and adolescents vitamin D reduce the risk of developing vein inflammation and venous hypertension and, if so, what dosage is appropriate, and what quantity should be recommended for a child with a family history of CCSVI, vascular problems or MS, etc., (vii) what would be the optimum time to undertake CCSVI treatment to avoid health impacts at a later date?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is it agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:55 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Bill C-20--Time Allocation MotionFair Representation ActGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to Bill C-20, An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867, the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act and the Canada Elections Act, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill; and

At fifteen minutes before the expiry of the time provided for government business on the day designated for the consideration of the said stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

Bill C-20--Time Allocation MotionFair Representation ActGovernment Orders

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Pursuant to Standing Order 67(1) there will now be a 30-minute question period. I would ask hon. members to keep their questions and responses to about a minute so we can accommodate more questions and more members.

As in previous question periods, members of the opposition will be recognized more often than government members to allow questioning from the opposition parties. Some members of the government will no doubt be accommodated as well.

The hon. member for Windsor--Tecumseh.

Bill C-20--Time Allocation MotionFair Representation ActGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are again going down the same road which the government has obviously chosen to go down to thwart debate in the House, and quite frankly to thwart the democracy that the debate supports.

I want to put on the record again in Hansard that the Conservatives have obviously decided that they want to set a record for the number of time allocation motions. We are up to 43 sitting days so far in this session of Parliament. They are trying to catch up with the Liberals and are doing a really good job at it.

The Liberals took 122 sitting days before they set the record with nine time allocation motions. As this is the seventh one by the government in 43 days, I ask the government House leader, how many more are we going to have? On what possible basis can he say that we need time allocation for this bill which has changed quite dramatically from its earlier incarnation? There is a significant shift in the bill that requires significant debate.

Bill C-20--Time Allocation MotionFair Representation ActGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the question, if there is a record being set, I think it has been set by the opposition. That would be the record for the most number of reasoned amendments ever in such a short period of time. Those are amendments from the opposition that aim to prevent a bill from getting past second reading. The opposition has moved such a reasoned amendment, saying that this bill should not go past second reading. The opposition has made up its mind. It has said that the debate is over. It has said that it is going to vote against the bill. All that is left is to allow this House to decide. That is the purpose of our motion, to allow it to happen.

The reason we think it is important to do so in this case is best captured in the words of the member for Hamilton Centre, the NDP critic for democratic reform, who said, “If we don't have those seats available”--the ones that are being generated by this bill--“for the next election, then the government has failed in terms of the promise they made”.

As we know, the census results will be released in February. The redistribution process will begin at that point. That means this bill has to get through this House at second reading, through a committee, back to this House for report stage and third reading, then over to the Senate for second reading, through committee, and third reading there, and then royal assent by the Governor General, all before the redistribution process in order to fulfill the objectives set out by the NDP critic for democratic reform.

That sets out the imperative of the timeline we are under, the reason we feel the need to move in this fashion to achieve those objectives. That is indeed why we are doing it in this case.

Bill C-20--Time Allocation MotionFair Representation ActGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I listened to the government House leader, particularly when he was quoting me, which I stand by.

I think it is the purpose for all of us. We go through a lot of different processes in the course of debate. There is a lot of zigging and a lot of zagging, but at the end of the day, I think there is a collective commitment, certainly I know the government has one and we in the official opposition have one, to have the appropriate bill in place that gives our provinces and territories the appropriate number of seats.

We have a challenge in front of us. We have the government bill in front of us, which I believe is the third go-around on this matter. We also have the bill put forward by the official opposition. They are apart, but I want to say that there is a closer resemblance to our bill and where the government is now.

If the government is planning to slice off debate here due to the time limits, will the government House leader assure us that we will have adequate time at committee to do the work that is necessary, or is he going to thoroughly stifle all democratic debate on a democratic bill and deny us the opportunity to do the work we need to do?

Bill C-20--Time Allocation MotionFair Representation ActGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

Edmonton—Sherwood Park Alberta

Conservative

Tim Uppal ConservativeMinister of State (Democratic Reform)

Madam Speaker, our government received a strong mandate to move toward fair representation in the House of Commons.

We have presented a principled formula, a formula that is fair for all provinces and moves every single province closer to representation by population. It is based on population figures. It is based on the fact that we have growing provinces. The provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario are significantly under-represented. It is important that we add seats to those provinces to bring them closer to representation by population.

Again, this formula brings every province closer to representation by population. We have made a commitment that we would move forward on this. That is exactly what we are doing.

The NDP members have already staked out their position. They do not even want this bill to get to second reading. They do not even want it to get to committee. They are talking about committee, but they are the ones who do not want this bill to move to committee.

Bill C-20--Time Allocation MotionFair Representation ActGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Madam Speaker, I have a question for the House leader.

This is the umpteenth time we are debating closure instead of using House time to debate bills. I am wondering how his calculation has now come down to one day. Does that mean all future bills will be debated in less than an hour or 10 minutes, or is it going to be brought down to a few seconds? That is my question to the House leader.

Bill C-20--Time Allocation MotionFair Representation ActGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Tim Uppal Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Madam Speaker, it is important that we get this bill to committee and passed, so the seats are available to bring Canadians fair representation and every province closer to representation by population as soon as possible. We ask the opposition to support us in passing this bill.

I have a question for the opposition. What does it have against Alberta, B.C. and Ontario getting closer to representation by population? They are significantly under-represented. As members of the House, it is our responsibility to ensure that every province gets closer to representation by population.

Bill C-20--Time Allocation MotionFair Representation ActGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Madam Speaker, I find the trend of the government to be deeply disturbing. One is an obvious contempt for the traditions of Parliament. We are sent to the House by people from across this country to represent our regions and people, and to ensure that there is balance in legislation. Nothing is more profound than the discussion about new seat distribution.

I see the second element of the Conservative agenda being wedge politics, to accuse opposition members, who want to ensure this is done right, of somehow having something against Alberta or Ontario. I find that an odious inference.

But I find it much more odious that the government will not allow proper debate on a bill which is fundamentally about nation building. Why does it continually show contempt for the House? If it does not want debate in the House, why is this place open at all? Why is not just a Mr. Harper autocracy?

Bill C-20--Time Allocation MotionFair Representation ActGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

Order. I would remind all members to refrain from using the names of sitting members.

Bill C-20--Time Allocation MotionFair Representation ActGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Madam Speaker, I am very sorry for saying Mr. Harper's name in the House. An autocracy of—

Bill C-20--Time Allocation MotionFair Representation ActGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

I would ask the hon. member to come to order.

The hon. Minister of State for Democratic Reform.

Bill C-20--Time Allocation MotionFair Representation ActGovernment Orders

11:05 a.m.

Conservative

Tim Uppal Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Madam Speaker, the NDP talks about debate, but the fact is that after having just started debate on fair representation in the House of Commons yesterday, within the first hour it moved an amendment not to allow this bill to pass second reading and get to committee. It talks about working in committee, but it moved an amendment not to allow it to get to committee.

It has made up its mind. It is not going to support this bill. Conservatives believe that members of the House of Commons should decide on that. We should have a vote and let them decide.

Bill C-20--Time Allocation MotionFair Representation ActGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Madam Speaker, I strongly support the government moving expeditiously on this bill. This is an incredibly important bill. This bill would ensure fair representation by population in the chamber. This is one of the most important pieces of legislation the government has brought forward. In fact, this is the third iteration of a bill that was introduced in previous parliaments. This is incredibly important.

We have record high levels of immigration to Canada. We admit people from around the world and we cannot have that policy on the one hand and on the other hand deny new Canadians in the emerging new Canada a voice in the House. This bill would give Ontario an additional 15 seats. In regions of Ontario which are most rapidly growing, places like Brampton, Mississauga, the greater Toronto area, this is an incredibly important bill.

This is the base on which Confederation was founded in 1867. It was the leader of the Liberal Party, George Brown, who argued for representation by population. This bill respects that fundamental constitutional principle.

Bill C-20--Time Allocation MotionFair Representation ActGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Tim Uppal Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Madam Speaker, my colleague brings up a very good point. He talked about new Canadians and visible minorities. The fact is that through immigration our population has been growing, and visible minorities and new Canadians tend to live in the fastest growing provinces of Alberta, B.C. and Ontario. They live in communities that are the fastest growing and that has left new Canadians and visible minorities among the most under-represented.

I would ask the opposition to move forward with this bill in order to allow fair representation for new Canadians and visible minorities. It should not delay this bill. It is very important that we get this bill passed and allow fair representation for all Canadians. It would bring every province closer to representation by population.

Bill C-20--Time Allocation MotionFair Representation ActGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Madam Speaker, all governments believe that their bills are very important and should be passed expeditiously, but the process of our democracy is that we debate bills in the House in order to improve them, so that they can get to the best point to be passed. That is the purpose of first reading, second reading, third reading and committee work.

In the past, time allocation was an unusual procedure in the House. I use, for example, Louis-René Beaudoin who was the member for Vaudreuil--Soulanges in the 1950s. He was also Speaker of the House and during the famous pipeline debate, he moved with the government a time allocation motion. There were weeks of chaos in the House due to the cutting off of debate because it was so unusual.

I find it sincerely disturbing that the government is using this so often. Where is the respect for democracy? Where is the respect for the traditions of the House?

Bill C-20--Time Allocation MotionFair Representation ActGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

Conservative

Tim Uppal Conservative Edmonton—Sherwood Park, AB

Madam Speaker, it is true that many bills of this government are very important. We made a commitment that we would move forward and get those passed as soon as possible.

Specifically, the bill adds more seats to the under-represented provinces and is based on a timeline. There is no doubt that we have a timeline here. We have made a commitment that we would pass this bill and go through the entire process within our mandate. It is important that we do that. It is important that we do that so the under-represented provinces gain more seats and move closer to representation by population.

The bill actually brings every province closer to representation by population. It fulfills our commitment to move the House closer to fairer representation.