Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House again and talk about Motion No. M-575. I would like to thank members from all sides of the House who have spoken to the motion and to what its intents are.
There was a comment in one of the member's speeches about the power of emotion. If we remember just a few months ago there was a motion in the House on thalidomide and we were able to take action collectively as a Parliament and deliver real results for the victims of that terrible issue. There are lots of cases where motions can move and I think this is one of them.
Another example I would like to mention is something that happened last night. We had the Dementia Friends Canada event here to kick off awareness of this campaign to reach one million friends. I checked the website today and there are about 2,400, so there are a few more to go, but that will be our jobs as parliamentarians this summer to help get the word out about what we are trying to do and what the Alzheimer's Society is trying to do as well.
The motion obviously focuses on a number of different issues, a number of different objectives, but the main thing, to boil this down for people at home is that this government is on the world stage working together to try to find a solution to this terrible illness. We are there globally.
At the national level, since 2006, there has been over $1 billion invested in neuroscience. That is an important number. Since day one of this government, we have recognized this huge issue that is facing this country in specific demographics and we have made those investments. We are there locally and on the world stage for research. In Canada we have invested in research with Dementia Friends Canada and other programs like that and are working to break down the stigma. We are working to help other Canadians understand the issues. We are helping not only the person with the diagnosis but the immediate loved ones, extended families, neighbours and friends, possibly co-workers, understand what this disease is and how all the different dementias affect individuals differently.
We are there on the awareness piece as well as on surveillance. In order to really understand if we are making improvements and further understand how we are changing the issue, we need to be able to properly take the information and have a proper surveillance program. That is what we are doing. We are respecting provincial jurisdictions, which is vitally important.
The motion takes a number of different steps. I want to thank all members for taking the time to listen and read about the motion. The motion will likely be one of the last pieces of business we deal with next week before our four-year mandate comes to a close and hopefully for many more years.
Since 2006, the government has taken tremendous actions on the file of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. We are at the table. We are going to continue to push forward. Once again, on behalf of all members of Parliament, our hearts go out to Canadians who have been affected by this terrible disease.
The numbers that are important that Canadians need to remember are: there are 750,000 Canadians who currently have it and nearly 1.4 million Canadians who will have it in a few years. There are over 40 million people worldwide who have the disease. It costs the Canadian economy. It costs Canadians in general $33 billion a year in direct and indirect costs. If this disease is not dealt with, it is going to cost Canadians over $200 billion in the next few decades. We need to take action. We have taken action. We need to continue to push the bar forward. We look forward to the vote next week.