Mr. Speaker, I too am pleased to rise today to speak in support of Bill C-233, an act respecting a national strategy for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Just like the member of Parliament for South Surrey—White Rock, I was in a similar situation. I was not the caregiver, but my parents were the caregivers to my beloved grandma, my beloved nonna. As was eloquently, passionately, and poignantly pointed out by the member for South Surrey—White Rock, there are 750,000 people suffering from all types of dementia. As the proposed act properly states, it is Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Our family's situation was a bit different from that of the member for South Surrey—White Rock. My parents were able to give everything up and basically they became the caregivers. I would try to get home as much as I could to see a bittersweet situation. I always referred to my grandmother as Nonna Me, because as a little boy I was unable to say her name, Domenica. I saw first-hand where my grandma became a child. My mother and father had the resources and the time to stay home. My aunts and uncles also had the time to take care of my nonna.
However, a lot of folks are not blessed. We have many situations throughout Canada of different family dynamics and situations from coast to coast to coast, and that is why I am very pleased to rise today in full support of Bill C-233.
I am also very pleased to note that this bill has bipartisan support. I listened to the eloquent and passionate presentation by my colleague from South Surrey—White Rock and also to the member of Parliament for Niagara Falls who put forth this piece of legislation; as well as to my colleague, the member of Parliament for Richmond Centre. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health also spoke eloquently as did the co-sponsor, the member of Parliament for Don Valley West and the member of Parliament for Vancouver Kingsway.
As well, I believe the member of Parliament for Abitibi—Témiscamingue spoke eloquently about not the exact bill but a similar bill put forth by the former NDP member of Parliament, Claude Gravelle, back in 2012. While not exactly the same approach, it was a similar bill to deal with a national strategy on dementia. We need a national strategy on dementia because Canada is big.
As others have done, I will talk about the elements of the bill. After 180 days, the Minister of Health would put forth a conference, bringing experts from all the provinces and territories, from all the stakeholders and people. There would be an advisory board of no more than 15 folks from different sectors of Canadian society who would advise. As well, every two years the minister would report to Parliament on the approach and the success of the national strategy.
There are big buzz phrases such best practices and evidence-based. Ultimately, what this means is that the Parliament of Canada would work with the provinces and also with the levels of government closer to the people: the municipalities, health boards, and universities.
Kwantlen College in my riding of Steveston—Richmond East is also doing research. Yes, we need a national strategy to deal with the folks who are suffering from a horrific disease. I saw that with my nonna, my grandmother. We also have to figure it out. Dementia or Alzheimer's should not be part of the natural process of aging. It does not have to be that way. It will be tough. It will require the investment and the research. I am not a scientist but it requires research with respect to how the brain works and how everything is connected.
This strategy would do that. It is the first step, but it is a very important step. I urge all members of the House to fully support the bill.