Mr. Speaker, my thanks to all the members who participated in this debate. Everything I have heard here this evening is truly heartwarming. This debate was held in an exemplary fashion and with the utmost respect for our function.
Creating a national spinal cord injury awareness day will make a positive contribution to Canadian society. I would like to tell all my distinguished colleagues that persons with disabilities from all over Canada have contacted my offices to express their gratitude, and I have to share their thanks with my colleagues.
Let me also thank all those who made the study of this bill possible, all those who helped design and draft the bill, and all those who helped move it forward. The seriousness of their commitment shows an exemplary level of concern with prevention and with raising awareness not only of the challenges facing those with spinal cord injuries, but also of the treatments and research in this area of expertise.
By going through the many stages that led to this bill, which I am honoured to put before the House today, I think I have gained a better appreciation of the real needs of those living with spinal cord injuries. Let me explain.
I have gained a greater understanding of what an initiative like this special day can contribute. This bill is representative of the purpose of the political work we are all here to do because it helps us better ourselves as a society in meaningful ways.
Sometimes we get the feeling that we are not doing enough, but in this case, even though this bill seems like a modest initiative at first glance, it is an incredible tool that leads us to a new stage in our progress toward accepting people with disabilities in Canada. This step forward will lead to others and so on.
The quality of life of all our fellow citizens, whether they are affected by spinal cord injuries or not, will improve. The goal is to make social acceptance more universal and to raise awareness among employers of the unsuspected qualities of those with spinal cord injuries, thereby making our communities more effective, productive and just.
The practical nature of this reality and the idealism of these principles work well together in this much-needed bill. We have to promote acceptance within social networks and value inclusion because it is both compassionate and for the common good.
In my opinion, one of the foundations of our work is ensuring that the best decisions are made to help our society progress, that the best policies are employed for the common good and that our measures are effective when they are implemented.
I truly believe that this bill to create a national spinal cord injury awareness day is a step in the right direction, and of course I will continue to speak in support of this bill until it passes in the House of Commons.
To back my point of view, I turned to a number of stakeholders. I asked a lot of questions and tried to get some answers, and I listened to the opinions of many experts and workers on the ground. I also learned about many approaches and initiatives in the area of spinal cord injury.
There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done, but we have reached a consensus regarding the best actions to take. Creating a national spinal cord injury awareness day seems to be the approach that best meets the various needs of that community. This measure has the potential to be extremely beneficial to a broad cross-section of Canadians, all without any cost. We simply cannot do without this crucial bill. The ball is now in our court. We have examined the issue and reached our conclusions, so now let us make it happen.
There has been so much brainstorming, collaboration and passionate discussion; so many people have invested in a common goal; so much effort has been made and energy spent selflessly. Let us follow the example of these often anonymous people who, by doing their small part, have managed to put together a simple, yet effective bill. We must take this opportunity to do our part and vote in favour of the bill to create a national awareness day.
I want to mention two organizations: Spinal Cord Injury Canada, whose director, Bobby White, has supported me from the beginning, and Moelle épinière et motricité Québec, with Walter Zelaya.
I am sure we will get there. We can, we must, and we will. Canadians are dignified and proud. Let us create a spinal cord injury awareness policy that reflects that.
Let us see this bill as a positive reflection of our society, a commendable unifying effort that everyone can stand behind. On behalf of people with disabilities in Montcalm, Quebec and Canada, I want to sincerely thank my colleagues. I am deeply touched by everything they had to say about spinal cord injuries.