Mr. Speaker, let me first thank the government for moving the amendment which allows the government to support the motion. I would like to thank the member for South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale for moving the amendment. I would like to thank the Minister of Health, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, and the House leader as well.
I want to particularly mention the member for Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont and say hi to Jaden who I am sure is watching. The intervention by the member as a parent was a very appropriate way to focus on this issue and it is much appreciated.
I want to reassure the member for Surrey North that the amendment in fact captures the spirit of the original motion, specifically that there be a national strategy and that the strategy involve evidence based standards, funding, surveillance and research. All of those elements are there. They are not nearly as prescriptive as they were in the original motion and that was what was necessary to give the government the latitude to do it in a way that it sees fit. All of the elements of the original motion are there. We will hold the government's feet to the fire to make sure it is done in the spirit in which it was intended.
The ultimate objective is that Canadian families with autism have access to the appropriate intervention regardless of their means and it means something covered under a public health insurance program and is usually referred to as covered under medicare. We understand that the jurisdictional issue is difficult, but we cannot allow the difficulty of that jurisdictional issue to stop us from doing what we know is right. It is appropriate for the federal government to show leadership, but it cannot be for the federal government to do alone.
I want to thank the families, parents, kids and adults who have written, called and emailed their support and the organizations across the country which have done the same. I want to thank a teacher at Leo Hayes High School in Fredericton, Greg Peters. He suggested to me last spring when I advised them that we were doing this that he wanted his class to participate in this exercise. It was remarkable to see students in a grade 12 class in a Fredericton high school give their spring to this issue. They were involved in workshopping it, bringing in people who work for the province of New Brunswick as drafters, parents, scientists and so on.
At Leo Hayes High School, Greg Peters and his two classes worked all last spring on this motion. After they graduated, in September when the kids returned to school the previous class instructed the new class on how to carry the ball. I am sure all members of Parliament have heard from Leo Hayes. As a Frederictonian I am very proud of them.
I also want to make another point. Some of the interventions we have all received speak to the challenge of finding a balance between identifying the value in the family members so that when we talk about intervention it takes nothing away from the human beings that we love just as they are, special, remarkable people. It has nothing to do with that. It has everything to do with people having the most options possible in their lives. It is a collective responsibility to provide that.
I would like to thank all colleagues who have worked diligently on this issue. The member of Parliament for Sackville—Eastern Shore participated in the negotiations with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, with the member for Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont, with the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country and the member for South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale in this exercise. This has been a non-partisan, parliamentary initiative to do the right thing by a large number of Canadians.
It is a challenging file. There are jurisdictional issues which perhaps would get in the way of anybody taking responsibility to do the right thing. I do not think it would become us as parliamentarians to let those jurisdictional challenges stop us from doing what we know is right. We cannot let those difficulties get in our way. By doing what is right, Canada will be better for it, our consciences will be better for it, and a lot of Canadians will be better for it.