Madam Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to speak today on this important piece of legislation, which I will be supporting.
The bill reflects the work of the hon. member for Cambridge, which he has done his whole life on behalf of his community. He has worked for the YMCA and YWCA, the organization in Canada whose new logo is “For a better us”.
I have been familiar with Bill C-240 since the member for Cambridge and I spoke in the early days of Parliament about good ideas to bring forward as private members' business. What we are looking at here is a topic that is positive. It reaches across partisan aisles and would accomplish something for our constituents and, indeed, all Canadians.
I spoke with the member for Cambridge soon after the election, who was excited to be bringing this forward in the PMB process. Indeed, he and I are in neighbouring ridings. He is excited about it because he will not table many private members' bills and wants to get it right. He is excited because he could see the possibilities that developing a PMB on this topic would bring, and for the opportunity to speak to everyone across the country about what kind of people we are and want to be.
I want to thank the member for Cambridge for bringing forward the bill, Bill C-240, which addresses a clear problem. Enough people are not training in first aid, something that we have heard from stories around the House this afternoon. This bill poses a clear, intuitive, and positive solution. Would it not be great to be able to provide a mild incentive to individuals to help them to be trained in first aid? What if we embedded that policy within the existing tax code so that it was seamless, easy to understand, and easy to administer? I really have to applaud the member for putting together a policy that not only makes sense, but also is clearly explainable and efficient.
When I was first out of school, I worked in some physically demanding jobs. I was going into factories and servicing equipment. I was working in environments where it was critical that everyone around me was trained in first aid. Fortunately, I was never hurt in a serious accident, but it was sure nice to know that the people around me would be able to step in if I had a problem. Indeed, at one point I had to save a person's finger. The person had an accident in one of the machines, and those around us knew how to do first aid. We were able to recover the finger, get him to the hospital, and get it re-attached.
For people in our communities who do not have the training to put to work or through their profession, the bill at the very least would help them get trained in first aid so they can help the people around them.
When I have spoken to others about Bill C-240, they are immediately supportive and see its value. People understand that our tax dollars go directly to things that benefit everyone in our society. They go to benefit the fabric of our society itself, and Bill C-240 is saying at its very core that whenever an individual gets trained in first aid to help fellow Canadians, they are doing something that benefits us all. The country has decided to thank them by helping to pay a little piece of their training.
It is a simple thing we can do that would have a big ripple effect in our communities. I am not alone in thinking this either. Bill C-240 has been endorsed by non-profits, including the Heart and Stroke Foundation and DeafBlind Ontario. I would like to cite a brief quote from DeafBlind, that their “interveners”, the name of the direct service employees who work for them, “are required to maintain up-to-date first aid and CPR certification at their own cost. Bill C-240 will make that training more accessible to them, and more accessible to the broader public.” It is so important for those working in the not-for-profit sector especially.
I want to take a moment to speak about an incident in my riding and one of the reasons I am supporting the bill today. This summer I was knocking on doors in Guelph. On Saturday morning I was invited into a home. There was a gathering of people around the kitchen table. There were a lot of people at 10 o'clock on a Saturday morning. What was going on? They were there because of a young boy, 12 years old, who in the last week of school had heart failure at his school. The people around the kitchen table that day were the people who had saved his life, the people who had provided CPR while he was on the floor at school, the people who had connections to the first aid from the emergency services, the people who brought him to the hospital, the people in the hospital who had saved his life, and then the people who had helped with his recovery process.
Today that person is alive. He is now 13 years old, because of the first aid that was administered at his school on the last week of class.
Stories like this sound like a once-in-a-lifetime or freak accident of nature, but really they are happening behind the doors of houses and businesses, and within schools across our country. They are happening every day in every riding. In each and every case, there is a real world difference that can make an outcome positive or negative, and that difference can be the difference in whether a person survives or not.
I am thankful for the opportunity today to advocate for the bill, and I look forward to voting in favour of it next Wednesday. I applaud the member for Cambridge for his work on the bill and for making our neighbourhoods safer.