Madam Speaker, this evening I am following up on a question that I raised in the House on October 28. The question I raised at that time was a follow-up on some encouraging news that had been passed on to me by the hon. member for Oakville North—Burlington: that the Minister of Public Safety would, for the first time since the Liberals took office seven years ago, be initiating a discussion with the RCMP on the subject of placing automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, in police cruisers.
As I always note when I am speaking on this subject, placing AEDs in all RCMP cruisers would save over 300 lives per year at a one-time cost of only $2 million. That boils down, over a 10-year period, because AEDs last about 10 years, to about $3,000 per life saved.
I also noted on that occasion that 300 lives per year is about 30 lives per month. I suppose I could have added that this is a little less than one life per day, so time is of the essence. Since each human life is as precious as yours, Madam Speaker, or mine, it seems to me that every day that passes is a day too long.
That said, I note that the minister's response to the question I raised on October 28 was very encouraging. He said, “I have engaged my office to be in touch with the RCMP to ensure that it has all of the tools it needs.”
Nearly a month has gone by since that time, which means that another two dozen or so Canadians, whose lives could have been saved had there been an AED in the RCMP cruiser responding to their particular 911 call, have now died. Of course, this cannot be blamed on the minister, whose sincere interest in the subject I do not doubt, but bureaucracies move slowly, and naturally I would like to know what kind of progress has been made on the minister's promise. What kind of engagement, to use the minister's term, has been undertaken?
The hon. member for Oakville North—Burlington, who is of course also the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety, has very generously offered to give me a private briefing. I am very grateful to her for making such a generous offer, but I think it would be good to get the progress that has been made so far onto the public record. I will therefore ask her to provide the House with this information, and I will listen with considerable interest to her response.
I note as well that my interest in learning the details is sufficiently great that I will also take advantage of the option of placing a question on the Order Paper with regard to this progress so that further details can be made part of the public record. I am very grateful indeed that the parliamentarians who came before us had the wisdom to include that particular wonderful tool of openness in government in our standing orders.
Finally, I note that the parliamentary secretary mentioned, in response to an earlier question that I posed to her on October 17, that the possibility exists of using public-private partnerships to fund the acquisition of AEDs. Specifically, she stated, “If the hon. member had a private company that wanted to donate AEDs to all RCMP vehicles, I would be happy to work with him on that.” I remain interested in this possibility, as the parliamentary secretary knows, and I would ask if she could offer any further details on what the government might be willing to consider.