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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was fact.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Cambridge (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 39% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Committees of the House April 4th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I can say that no one vetted my speech. The day that a Liberal vets my speech will never come unless the moon turns blue and falls out of the sky.

The issue here is that there is $1.1 billion in that fund. Based on the average payout today of $42,000 per victim, there is more than enough money in that fund to pay out. What the issue comes down to is that $58 million has been paid to lawyers to examine this fund, and it has been thrown back for an examination. That is $58 million or 1,400 victims and the government chose to put it back into an assessment strategy.

The issue is not how much money is in there. The issue is that every government has a responsibility, admitted by the Prime Minister and the Liberal Party, and the government is not living up to that responsibility or promise. The government voted for the motion. The Liberal Party voted against extending the compensation to all victims. That is shameful.

The government should have voted for it. All the opposition parties voted for the motion. The money is there. The numbers are cut in half, regardless of what excuses the Liberal Party wants to come up with for its failure to research this problem adequately or for its mistakes to come up with accurate figures. I might say that my figures are completely accurate.

There is more than enough money in this fund to compensate all victims. It is the right thing to do. It is the responsible thing to do. It should have been done before.

Committees of the House April 4th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, before I begin my remarks, I would like to offer my sincere condolences to faithful Catholics, particularly those in my riding of Cambridge-North Dumfries, on the heartbreaking loss of Pope Jean Paul. He was a man who worked hard to thread our world together. He was a man of our times, a faithful man of God.

I would like members to imagine going into a hospital and coming out even sicker than when they went in and I would like them to imagine that something could have been done about it. This is what happened to thousands of Canadians who received tainted blood.

These people went to a hospital seeking treatment but were unwittingly poisoned by a system they trusted. People of all ages from all walks of life were poisoned by a system they trusted, a system that let them down. Then, as if that was not ghastly enough, they were let down again by the regulators of that system, their federal government.

On April 28, 1998, the Liberal government, many of whose members are still here today, voted against an opposition motion that would have extended compensation to all victims of tainted blood, not just those who were infected between this mythical window of 1986 to 1990.

First I would like to debunk the legal reasons for limiting compensation to only those infected between 1986 and 1990 and then I want to explain the reasons why all victims of tainted blood must be treated equally.

In 1998 when the Liberal government voted against extending compensation to victims outside this artificial window, the nation was told that doing so would bankrupt the system. Canadians were told that there were 22,000 victims in this artificial window and an additional 60,000 outside that window. That information was completely incorrect.

In 1998, when the minister of health at the time was told that people were being infected in the early 1980s and as early as 1980, that health minister rose and stated that “there was no possible way, no way at all, that science could have discovered what contaminants were in that blood”. That, too, was completely false.

Let us discuss these false numbers and these false statements. As a doctor of chiropractic, I am trained to make decisions based on real fact. Today I want to share with the House and the people of Canada some of the real facts about the Liberals' numbers and their incorrect statements .

The original settlement was to compensate 22,000 victims. Those were Liberal numbers. Those numbers, thank God, never materialized. They were exaggerated.

As a matter of fact, as of exactly one month ago, March 4, 2005, there have been only 4,535 victims of primarily infected tainted blood. Those are the claims: not 22,000 but less than 5,000.

What about the other number, the victims outside this artificial window, those outside the 1986 to 1990 group? The number claimed by the Liberals seven years ago was 60,000. That also is completely incorrect. There are only 5,071 claims, which is a far cry from the numbers used to scare Canadians about compensating all victims.

The original settlement of $1.1 billion was supposed to properly compensate 22,000 victims within this window. Now we know that the total number of victims inside and outside that window is only half that false number.

Here are more astonishing and yet distressing facts. Besides legal fees of some $58 million and despite administration fees of approximately a quarter of a million dollars per month, the fund still made $60 million more than it paid out. Despite all the payouts--and the fund is still massive at well over $1 billion and growing--people are dying.

The money is there. The numbers were exaggerated. Doing the right thing in compensating all victims of tainted blood will not bankrupt the system.

On to my second point about the false and misleading statements that nothing could have been done to make blood systems safer in Canada prior to 1986.

On May 1, 1998, the Hon. Allan Rock stated in the House:

--governments should pay cash compensation when they have caused damages and when those responsible for the system could and should have acted.

There are certainly not many things that I would agree with coming from that side of the House, but I agree with that statement. The words “when those responsible could have and should have acted” really resonate with me. Could things have been done differently? Let us examine the facts.

During the 1950s, before I was born, the presence of certain enzymes above normal levels were used to assess liver function. It was thought that they could also be used to diagnose hepatitis. As early as 1954, also before I was born, it was suggested in medical literature that post-transfusion hepatitis might be reduced by using tests for those enzymes to screen perspective blood donors.

By the late 1950s, probably around the time I was born, simple methods had been developed for measuring the level of alanine amino transferase, or ALT, in the serum.

The preliminary results in 1978 suggested an association between ALT levels in donors and the occurrence of non-A and non-B hepatitis, which we now call hepatitis C in recipients. The final results of that study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1981, confirming that there was an association between higher levels of ALT in the donor and those of gaining hepatitis in the recipient. That was in 1981.

On January 14, 1981, the American Red Cross stated, “Blood services providers should prepare to test all units collected and to avoid transfusion of units with elevated ALT values”.

In 1982 the New York Blood Center adopted a policy of ALT testing. This blood centre is the largest in the United States and it deals with approximately the same number of transfusions as we do in all of Canada. It estimated that testing would prevent up to 10,000 infections annually, an interesting figure. In 1982 the largest blood centre in the United States could have and did act. France started testing in 1985. All prior to this 1986 window.

Dr. Patrick Moore, director of the National Reference Library of the Red Cross and one of Canada's foremost experts on hepatitis, called for the immediate implementation of ALT testing in Canada. That was in May 1981. His recommendation was rejected by his superiors and regrettably, federal regulators chose not to make testing mandatory.

On May 22, 1981, right in Ottawa, a memo from the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario asked Health and Welfare Canada to, “screen approximately 20 donors for the presence of any of the viral contaminates which may contribute to post-transfusion hepatitis and for which you have the appropriate testing methods”.

Health Canada had the appropriate testing methods in 1981, and therein lies the crux of the problem. When is the definitive date that the government could have or should have done something? Was it 1981, 1975 or 1954? We are not sure. What we do know as fact it was before this funny window of 1986.

On May 5, 1998 the right hon. Jean Chrétien said in the House, “when there is negligence there is responsibility”. The Liberal government shirked its responsibility seven years ago when it refused to treat all victims of tainted blood. The only question left is this. Will the Liberals continue to shirk that responsibility?

In his final report on the tragedy, Judge Krever noted that we could tell a lot about a society by how it dealt with people such as those with tainted blood. He said:

The compassion of a society can be judged by the measure it takes to reduce the impact of tragedy that is on its members.

A young man whom I have come to know very well said it best. To the prime minister of the day, he said:

Can you tell me the difference between someone infected with tainted blood on December 31, 1985 and January 1, 1986?

The prime minister of the time could not answer that question and it cannot be answered today.

Young Joe Haché went on to say that tainted blood victims were all infected the same and they should all be treated the same. I could not agree more. I believe that the hon. members in this House will do the right thing this time and join me in supporting this motion to compensate all victims of tainted blood.

There comes a time when enough is enough. For hepatitis C victims, all of them, that time is now.

Citizenship and Immigration March 24th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, imagine, the Liberals are now blaming us for their corruption.

A constituent in my riding of Cambridge was required to send personal documents, including her social insurance number, to get a copy of her immigration records. When she got her package back, it contained the records of someone else. In an age of identity theft and terrorism, she is concerned that her private information has fallen into the wrong hands due to the bungling of the government.

How many innocent Canadians has the minister exposed to identity theft because of--

The Budget March 9th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member opposite on the work he has done in the immigration area. It is nothing less than astounding.

One thing I would like to point out to the member and ask him about is this. Conestoga College, which he mentioned, is in his riding. I want to let the House know that the college competes with private educators because of unfair holes left in the programs by the member's very own party. Also, the member failed to mention that the University of Waterloo also has an astounding kinesiology, psychology and a general sciences program.

The member also has failed to mention that his government has increased its own spending by 77%.

The member mentioned money for health care. It has been seven months since that promise was made. Recently, near the member's riding and my riding of Cambridge, a beautiful young woman died because she could not wait nine hours to get health care.

Finally, his government and this budget offers 50¢ per Canadian for an accreditation process of which we have never heard.

First, what is the accreditation process that the budget offers to accelerate? Second, does the member really feel that 50¢ toward speeding up the accreditation process, which apparently exists, is all the government feels the lives and health of his constituents are worth?

Petitions March 7th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I have six petitions totalling some 727 signatures praying that Parliament use all possible legislative and administrative measures, including invoking section 33 of the charter if necessary, to preserve and protect the current definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

Petitions February 25th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions today from Canadians. They are asking Parliament, pursuant to Standing Order 36, to use all possible legislative and administrative measures including invoking section 33 of the charter if necessary to preserve and protect the current definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

Justice February 25th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, Albert Walker stole millions of dollars from the hardworking people in my area.

While on the run in Britain with his 15 year old daughter posing as his wife, he murdered Ronald Platt and took his identity. His family is terrified and they do not want him back here.

When the Deputy Prime Minister signed for his transfer back to Canada, she showed sympathy for the murderer and disdain for the family.

Will the minister assure the family that this murderer will not end up within 2,000 miles of them?

The Budget February 24th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's speech on the budget. The member refers to the fact that this budget is allowing a $75 million infusion into helping increase or improve the apprenticeship and accreditation process for medical doctors. Does the member realize that $75 million over five years is really only $15 million a year?

Given the fact that many municipalities, clearly my own municipality and those in the Greater Toronto Area, are spending millions of dollars already trying to find doctors, does the hon. member actually believe that $15 million a year is going to solve anything?

Health February 18th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, there is another dire warning, this time from the Health Council of Canada, that unless this government actually does something to fix the doctor shortage and wait times, we will have a crisis.

It is too late. Recently a 21 year old student died after waiting. Too ill to sit and wait for nine hours to see a doctor, she went home and died.

Last year the health minister said he was making progress. He is confusing process with progress. When can Canadians expect results on accreditation and on the reduction of wait times in this country?

Supply February 17th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, given that we have such a huge economic problem in Ontario with the restrictions at the border in Windsor and given the government's promises to clean up the environment, why has the government not moved forward on solving the border lineups where trucks idle for four, five or six hours in lineups 12 to 15 kilometres long. By fixing this problem at the cost of well under $1 billion, it would improve Ontario's economy by $5 billion. Why has the government not moved forward on such a simple solution?