Mr. Speaker, I have enjoyed the discussion this evening. I will take a bit of a different approach in addressing this very important motion. I commend the member across the way for recognizing an issue about which all Canadians would be very concerned.
Let there be no doubt that there is a role for all of us to play. However, what interested me the most was the amount of information provided. Every speaker talked about the percentages and the strong desire to save lives. It did not matter what side of the House they were on, all members chose to rise in their place and address the issue. They talked about how it could really make a difference.
Over the years, I have seen a lot with respect to the impact of medical technology. Many years ago when I was a member of the Manitoba legislature, I was one of the two health critics for the province. I can recall the amount of money we spent in health care, and most people would be quite surprised. Some of my colleagues have also served in provincial legislatures. I was first elected in 1988 as a parliamentarian, and the health care budget back then was roughly just over $1 billion. Today, I believe it is over $6 billion and counting. The single greatest expenditure in Manitoba is in health care and there is no end in sight it seems.
What I have experienced first hand through those years is how technology has advanced to a certain point where we can make fairly profound and positive impacts. We can look at how that technology can be used to save lives.
The impact of AEDs is second to no other equipment or machinery that has been introduced over the last number of years. As Canadians become more familiar with the benefits of AEDs, that broader knowledge will drive the demand to see more AEDs installed in different places. The results are compelling. The most compelling argument is in some of the statistics that have have been shared by the members.
I thought it was interesting when my colleague across the way referred to casinos. The member is right that casinos have all sorts of elements of stress because of their activities. We can call them security cameras, but a great number of individuals are in the background watching. When someone goes into cardiac arrest, those individuals are very quick. I would be surprised if there were not AEDs in all casinos in Canada. Therefore, I was not surprised when the member made reference to the fact that there was, I believe, a 74% or 71% survival rate. That is a fantastic goal to establish how effective it could be if we had a better educated population. When I say population, we need to look at where most cardiac arrests take place, which is in homes, in public places, and at work. Chances are the person who goes into cardiac arrest is known by the individuals there. More often now, when people witness a cardiac arrest, they wonder if an AED is available.
Another speaker talked about timing being critical. We all know that we cannot be quick enough to get access to an AED, from the moment of the arrest to using it to ultimately save a life.
We have witnessed over the last number of years people becoming more educated about it. They understand its benefits. We are starting to see AEDs in many different places, such as workplaces. In some situations AEDs are brought into people's homes. General knowledge on how to use an AED and making these machines accessible are absolutely critical to saving lives. It would be very beneficial.
We have standing committees in Ottawa. I do not think we take as much advantage as we could of good ideas, such as this motion the member has brought forward today.
I can go through both aspects of the motion, but I want to read the second part of it. It reads:
...the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security should undertake a study to determine the availability of AEDs in first responder vehicles across Canada and make recommendations to the House in that regard while respecting the jurisdiction of other levels of government.
If time permits, I will try to deal with the issue of the RCMP and the issue of jurisdiction.
I do want to pick up on the point of the standing committee and whether this would be the only directive that would be given to the committee, or if we could maybe expand it or widen its scope, because this goes beyond RCMP vehicles.
As the member for Ajax pointed out, we might think it is fairly simple to get a defibrillator put into an RCMP cruiser, but it is not. All sorts of people and groups are involved, such as independent contractors and stakeholders. Negotiations are held at different levels. On my own part, I would like to get a better understanding of it.
I would also like to see how we might be able to use the Standing Committee on Health, or any other standing committee for that matter. I am content, however, with what the member has suggested in regard to the health committee. I would love to have one of our standing committees hear the benefits of taking action on such an important file, as a few of us heard this evening.
I do not think there is a legislator in the House of Commons who would not recognize the importance of trying to advance the file on AEDs. There are organizations in Canada, like the Heart and Stroke Foundation, which have done so much work with different stakeholders. These organizations have heard the stories that clearly indicate the need is there.
A standing committee is in the best position to hear the different stakeholders make their presentations. Let us hear the facts. Let us get some of the statistics. Let us hear how the federal government could play a leadership role in this. Let us enable the standing committee to get a better appreciation and understanding of this issue. Let us establish this as a priority.
That is how I see this particular motion by the member across the way. I consider it a priority. We might differ with some of the words and so forth, but at the end of the day, I see this as a positive suggestion on an important issue that we know our constituents would like us to address.
I would like to expand that. I challenge our standing committees to do just that, to look at ways in which we can deliver on such an important issue that will obviously save tens of thousands of lives.
I am thankful for the opportunity to share a few thoughts on this.