Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank all members of the House who have contributed to this debate. I appreciate, in particular, my colleague from Don Valley West for supporting and seconding this piece of legislation. He has a great career, among other things, as a United Church minister. As a pastor, he was constantly challenged by the personal and social consequences of Alzheimer's and dementia.
One of the stories that he passed on to me was about one particular woman, Mae MacMillan, who was a vibrant, intelligent, committed, and compassionate woman. She was trained as a nurse and was ahead of her time in promoting women's rights. She loved strong and powerful women and she was one herself. However, dementia slowly crept up on Mae.
At first, she thought it was just part of the normal aging process, which I have heard before. She was slightly forgetful and misplacing objects, but as she moved on in age, she moved from being the object of affection to being the object of attention. Family, friends, and professional caregivers helped her to live with some independence for as long as possible. Sadly, this is a case of where the mind cannot remember, the heart never forgets. So many of us can relate to that sentiment.
When I introduced the bill, I told of my own family experience with this and one thing that has moved me over the last couple of months since introducing the bill is all the stories and experiences that people have shared with me. The members for Steveston—Richmond East and South Surrey—White Rock shared their encounters with this terrible disease, and all of us were moved by it.
In one sense, I was surprised, after introducing the bill, that so many people either contacted my office or sent emails and letters. People stopped me on the street, even when I was not in my hometown, to tell me about their experiences with these diseases.
The bill before us was very carefully drafted. When I showed it to my colleague, we were very concerned about ensuring that there was no restriction on provincial autonomy and that it was not framed in a way that would require a royal recommendation, which, as we know, would stop the legislation.
Again, I am pleased that so many colleagues have moved forward on this. I believe this is the right thing to do. I believe that we can make progress on these things. In all of our lives, we have seen the terrible consequences of diseases. There are cases where we know that changes can be made. I always remember, as a small child, what a terror polio was in this country. Then I remember hearing the news—I do not think I was any more than five—that a cure had been found for it. Every child in Niagara Falls went to the arena to get the vaccine.
I can appreciate that some diseases are very complex and it is not just a question of coming up with a special potion, but as my colleagues have said, there are so many different parts of this in terms of care, diagnosis, support, and working together. I firmly believe that supporting the legislation is the right thing to do, and again, I am deeply appreciative of all those who have indicated that they support it.