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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was research.

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

Lost her last election, in 2019, with 26% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act March 13th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, an agreement could not be reached under the provisions of Standing Orders 78(1) or 78(2) with respect to the third reading stage of Bill C-2, Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act.

Under the provisions of Standing Order 78(3), I give notice that a minister of the Crown will propose at the next sitting a motion to allot a specific number of days or time or hours for consideration and disposal of proceedings at the said stage.

Questions on the Order Paper March 12th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), Canada is comparable to other G7 countries in having a stockpile of antivirals for approximately 25% of the population. This includes the provincial and territorial, P/T, stockpiles of the national antiviral stockpile, NAS, the federal national emergency stockpile system, NESS, and other federal and provincial and territorial stockpiles. Antivirals are only one component of Canada’s multi-facet approach for managing a pandemic. Canada is unique in having a domestic supply agreement for the provision of pandemic vaccine. Canada’s target for antiviral stockpiles was established to complement other aspects of our pandemic response.

In response to (b), the Government of Canada, in collaboration with provinces and territories, has developed policy recommendations for the use of antivirals during a pandemic. Canada’s recommendations of a limited prophylaxis strategy are well within the range of plans of G7 countries. The recommendations do not support widespread use of antivirals for prevention but limited use in the following two situations: in the pandemic alert period, should cases occur in Canada, to prevent illness among people who are known to have close contact with infected individuals and during a pandemic for controlling outbreaks in “closed settings” such as long-term care facilities.

In response to (c), the Canadian pandemic influenza plan for the health sector outlines the ethical framework for planning and response to an influenza pandemic. Canada has a “treat all who need it” strategy, so there are no priority groups identified for early treatment. A report and policy recommendations on the use of antivirals for prophylaxis during an influenza pandemic was released in 2008 and included the ethical considerations that informed the recommendations. The recommendations can be found at the following weblink:

In reponse to (d), Canada has not identified priority groups specifically for antiviral treatment during a pandemic. Age was not a factor when the policy recommendations for prophylaxis were made.

Questions on the Order Paper March 12th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), the Government of Canada, in partnership with provinces and territories, has developed the Canadian pandemic influenza plan for the health sector, a planning tool to guide all those involved in planning and responding to an influenza pandemic. The multi-faceted plan includes a pandemic vaccine and antiviral strategy. The national antiviral stockpile, NAS, has been established to protect Canadians while a vaccine is being developed. Additionally, non-pharmaceutical measures and public messaging will be implemented to reduce the risk of disease transmission during the initial period when a pandemic virus-specific vaccine is not available.

In response to (b), the Department of Finance has conducted preliminary assessments of the economic impact and concluded that a pandemic would have limited economic effects and that a 1918-type pandemic would likely reduce annual GDP growth by up to one percentage point in the pandemic year. Planning assumptions in the Canadian pandemic influenza plan for the health sector are that a pandemic may last 12 to 18 months and more than one wave may occur within a 12 month period; that 15% to 35% of the population will be clinically ill over the course of the pandemic and, that there would be an estimated 20% to 25% rate of workplace absenteeism during the peak one to two weeks of the pandemic wave. Canada’s comprehensive approach which includes vaccine and antiviral strategies, non-pharmaceutical measures, e.g., social distancing, and public communications, would reduce the impact on human health.

In response to (c), governments have achieved the stockpile target amount for the NAS and will continue to manage the stockpile to ensure that the appropriate composition and size is maintained. The NAS contains 55.7 million doses of antivirals. An additional 14.9 million doses of antiviral treatment are stockpiled in the national emergency stockpile system for surge capacity. These numbers do not include additional provincial and territorial stockpiles or other private or government departments stockpile amounts.

In response to (d), federal, provincial and territorial public health experts are reviewing options to address the limited shelf life of Tamiflu. Moreover, in order to ensure the best possible antiviral strategy for Canada, regular reviews are conducted on new and emerging evidence on antiviral resistance, the optimal mix and amount of drugs in a diversified stockpile.

Questions on the Order Paper March 12th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, in response to, (a), for the Canadian pandemic influenza plan, a number of provincial and territorial jurisdictions have either conducted comprehensive testing of their pandemic plans, have tested components of them, e.g, mass delivery and administration of vaccines, incident command system. In some jurisdictions, local exercises have occurred while others have also taken part in national exercises related to pandemic testing. Additionally, testing of the structures and processes that will be used during a pandemic has occurred as a result of recent avian influenza outbreaks or exercises related to other events, e.g., the 2010 Olympics. All of these activities have enabled jurisdictions to learn lessons that are being applied to pandemic preparedness and response.

In response to (b), the Quarantine Act is the legal authority under which the Government of Canada implements actions at Canadian points of entry to limit the introduction and spread of communicable diseases. Activities associated with this include screening of travellers at points of entry into or exit from Canada. Sick travellers are isolated and placed under this authority until believed to no longer pose a risk to the public. Social distancing measures are identified in Annex M, Public Health Measures, of the CPIP. Annex M provides overarching guidelines of logistical steps that can be taken by the provinces and territories s during a pandemic to control the spread of pandemic influenza. Decisions regarding implementation of these measures would be made at the discretion of provincial, territorial and local levels and will depend upon many factors including, but not limited to, severity of disease, level of disease in community, and societal impact. Social distancing measures are one component of a community based disease control strategy and can range from logistical recommendations to stay home if ill to closure of schools and daycare settings and restriction of public gatherings. These guidelines are considered by pandemic planners across the country. Timely communication of any public health measures and other relevant information to all affected will be important to help ensure compliance with the recommended interventions at the time of a pandemic. Provinces and territories would take logistical steps to implement guidelines according to the situation in their respective communities.

Questions on the Order Paper March 12th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, in response to (a), in budget 2006, the Government of Canada promised to review programs to ensure every taxpayer dollar spent was achieving results, providing value for money and meeting the needs of Canadians. As a result of this expenditure review, funding for the first nations and Inuit tobacco control strategy, FNITCS, was eliminated because the program had been ineffective in achieving its goal of lowering the smoking rates among first nations and Inuit. Current data indicates that smoking rates among first nations and Inuit remain very high, at approximately triple the Canadian average; 59% of first nations and 58% of Inuit are smokers.

In response to (b)(i), in September 2006, the federal government committed to work with first nations and Inuit leaders to examine options for measures that would reduce smoking, prevent the harms of tobacco smoke, and show accountability for results not achieved by the former first nations and Inuit tobacco control program. First nations and Inuit leaders are important partners and have a major role to play in an effective program that will meet the needs of their community, address the issues of smoke-free spaces, youth smoking and access to tobacco products.

Canadian and international evidence shows that in order to achieve lasting results, tobacco control actions must be comprehensive, integrated and sustained. This includes the full range of interventions, including prevention, cessation, education, as well as protection--smoke-free spaces, retailer actions and compliance--, pricing, research, surveillance and evaluation.

Health Canada has worked with first nations and Inuit partners in a number of ways to promote evidence based approaches to tobacco control: supported the Assembly of First Nations to hire a special adviser to the national chief; collaborated with the Assembly of First Nations on public opinion research regarding first nations health directors’ perceptions of tobacco control activities; and supported Inuit tobacco network to develop an evidence based, Inuit specific strategy.

In response to (b)(ii), this work, in collaboration with the Assembly of First Nations and Inuit tobacco network, has informed first nations and Inuit participation in the federal tobacco control strategy, FTCS. Funding is available to support first nations and Inuit projects through the FTCS proposals process. In addition, Health Canada supports a range of health promotion programs in first nations and Inuit communities, from diabetes prevention to maternal and child health promotion. These programs aim to enable first nations and Inuit to adopt healthy lifestyles, which includes tobacco cessation.

In response to (c), national tobacco use statistical data specific to first nations is being collected through the first nations regional longitudinal health survey. Data is currently being collected for the phase II 2008 survey. Tobacco use data specific to Inuit, as well as other aboriginal residents of Canada, is collected through Statistics Canada’s aboriginal peoples survey. Results of the 2006 survey were released December 3, 2008.

Health March 9th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, last week I had the pleasure to announce $4.2 million to the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions for its “Research to Action: Applied Workplace Solutions for Nurses” initiative. This initiative will test strategies that improve the quality of work life for the nursing profession and improve the recruitment and retention of nurses.

This Conservative government is proud to fund important projects that further strengthen the nursing workforce in Canada.

Health March 5th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, our government has a very strong record of taking action on bisphenol A, such as the study that was completed just this week.

The study concluded that there are no safety concerns with levels of BPA in canned soft drinks. In fact, an adult would have to drink over 900 cans of soft drinks a day to reach a harmful daily intake.

Canadians can expect actions from the government when it comes to their health and safety. We are world leaders on this issue, and I am proud to say that this government is taking action.

Health Care March 2nd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to the principles of the Canada Health Act. In fact, our government has committed to funding provinces. This year, up to $22.6 billion is being transferred to the provinces, with a 6% escalator for the next few years. The responsibility of health care delivery rests with the provinces and territories. This government is committed to funding the provinces.

Health February 27th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I recognize that autism is an important health and social issue that represents challenges to many Canadian families. I can assure the House that the government is showing leadership by focusing attention on building the autism evidence base that future actions by our partners will be well informed.

We are delivering results. In 2007 we announced the funding for a chair of autism research and innovation at Simon Fraser University and, over the last seven years, more than $27 million have been spent on related research by CIHR.

Aboriginal Affairs February 12th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to offer my condolences to the community and to the families of Eskasoni. Growing up in the north, I am very familiar with the issue and the impact it can have on a community.

Health Canada has met with INAC and the Eskasoni community. My department has been involved with this file from the very beginning. I can say that Health Canada provides Eskasoni with more than $1.4 million in annual funding for counselling programs and services related to mental health.

I am committed to working with the community on a short-term and long-term basis, and will be in contact with the community on an ongoing basis.