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Conservative MP for Langley—Aldergrove (B.C.)
Won his last election, in 2015, with 46% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Langley Environmental Awards June 16th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, Langley's 2016 environmental heroes were just honoured in beautiful Fort Langley. The winners were in three categories: individual, group, and youth.
An apple tree was planted in their honour in the heritage Hudson's Bay orchard. Ann Blaauw won the individual category for establishing Blaauw Eco Forest in north Langley. The family has donated millions of dollars in memory of Thomas Blaauw, with a covenant agreement with Trinity Western University to preserve the forest for education, research, and community engagement.
The winner in the group category was the Coastal Painted Turtle Project, for its efforts to return the turtle's population to sustainable levels.
Desiree Chek-Harder won the youth category. The Langley fine arts student spoke about the community garden and the importance of educating people to engage in the environment.
This is the 10th anniversary for the Langley Environmental Hero Awards. Congratulations to this year's Langley environmental heroes.
Seniors June 13th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, I am going to put down my prepared text and would ask my colleague to do the same thing.
The question is very simple. What Canadians want is a minister for seniors and a national seniors strategy. That is what they are asking for across this country and, unfortunately, the member did not address that at all. I have put down my prepared text and I am going to ask him to speak from the heart and honestly tell the House why the government is refusing to appoint a minister for seniors.
I will repeat the question. Why is the government not appointing a minister for seniors? That is the question Canadian seniors want answered. They do not want him to talk about other things. Why are the Liberals not appointing a minister for seniors?
Seniors June 13th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, on April 13, I asked the Prime Minister why he has not yet appointed a minister for seniors. This is a very important question because one in six Canadians is a senior. There are already more seniors in Canada than youth. In 13 short years, one in four Canadians will be a senior. It is extremely important that our country is prepared for this critical change in Canada. We need the federal government to make this one of its highest priorities. We need the Prime Minister to appoint a minister for seniors, and we need a national seniors strategy.
Unfortunately, we have a federal government now that is playing politics with seniors. The Prime Minister has appointed a minister for youth, himself; a minister for families, children, and social development; but not a minister for seniors.
In the last Parliament there was a minister for seniors, but this government thinks that some Canadians are more important than others, that youth, families, and children are more important than seniors.
The minister of families admitted at committee that the Liberals will not appoint a minister for seniors because they believe ministers for groups of people are only good for photo ops. Why does the minister think that seniors are only good for photo ops? Why does the minister think that the ministries of youth and families are only good for photo ops?
Canadian seniors built this great country and continue to have a very positive impact. They make important contributions to families, workplaces, and communities. As the official opposition critic for seniors, I have met with many seniors across Canada. They are very concerned with the approach the government is taking. Time and again I am told the Prime Minister should appoint a minister for seniors, just like the previous government did. They also ask for the government to create a national strategy for seniors.
I recently attended a round table with seniors in my riding of Langley—Aldergrove. They requested two things, a national seniors strategy and a minister for seniors.
An organization called 411 Seniors Centre Society wrote to the Prime Minister recently, highlighting the many unique needs of seniors and how concerned its members are that there is no minister for seniors. The letter reads, “We discovered that six ministers have mandates to address specific issues related to seniors. A further seven ministers will be dealing with matters which, while not addressing seniors specifically, will have implications for us. We are concerned that these arrangements carry the potential for fragmentation and even contradiction. Instead, we ask that you act to ensure a focused, coordinated, and comprehensive approach to policy and programs addressing seniors' issues. Our preference would be that you appoint a minister responsible for seniors to coordinate and monitor progress.”
Canadian seniors are very concerned with the government's broken promises. However, it is never too late to do the right thing. I encourage the government to keep the promises it made, respect all Canadians equally, and work constructively with all members of Parliament. I ask the government to appoint a minister for seniors and to work with us on a national seniors strategy.
Mr. Speaker, it is a real honour to be here as official opposition critic for seniors and to speak to Bill C-233, the national strategy on Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.
I would like to begin by thanking, particularly, the member for Niagara Falls for introducing this important bill. The secret to the success of the bill moving forward is his non-partisan approach. This is not an NDP, Liberal government, nor an official opposition Conservative Party issue, it is a Canadian issue on which we need to work together as parliamentarians. It is moving forward because of his non-partisan approach and I congratulate the member for Niagara Falls. He is a well-respected member in this House.
Bill C-233 provides for the development and implementation of a national strategy for the health care of persons affected with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.
Just to divert for a moment, my understanding of what my NDP colleague said was that people with dementia, with Alzheimer's disease, deserve to have assisted suicide. I hope that is not what she meant because people with dementia already feel bad and they may feel stigmatized.
They realize that their brain is getting a little fuzzy and they are forgetting. It is frustrating for them and maybe even a little bit embarrassing. We would not want them to think people expect them to take the obvious choice, and we heard that from Dying With Dignity, saying that it would be sensible for persons with dementia, lying in bed in the last years of their life with an adult diaper, to ask for assisted suicide.
That would not work in Canada. It is not dignified to expect people to leave this world because they are in a state of dementia. We need to show them dignity, show them love and support, and only in the most extreme cases should assisted suicide be considered.
When someone's pain is intolerable, irremediable, that is what the court said, and in extreme cases, but assisted suicide and euthanasia should not be considered the norm because it is a horrible loss when someone finds themselves in that situation. We should never put this on to people who are suffering with dementia through Alzheimer's disease or any other dementia disease.
As the seniors critic, I have met with the Alzheimer's Society and many other seniors organizations which are very supportive of this bill. Mimi Lowi-Young, the CEO of the Alzheimer Society of Canada had this to say about Bill C-233:
We’re thrilled that parties are working together so soon after the election to address the urgency of dementia. We all need to get behind this bill. We strongly believe that a national dementia strategy that focuses on research, prevention and improved care is the only solution to tackling the devastating impact of this disease. We’re ready to collaborate with our federal, provincial and territorial partners to make this a reality.
I am really thankful to her and the Alzheimer Society of Canada for supporting Bill C-233. According to the research done by the society, 83% of Canadians have said that they want a national dementia strategy.
I would like to give a brief summary on the issue of dementia. Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia are progressive, degenerative, and eventually fatal. They impair memory, judgment, and the ability to reason, think, and process information. Changes in personality and behaviour also result from dementia.
Currently, 747,000 Canadians have some form of dementia. This number is expected to nearly double to 1.4 million in my lifetime. Three out of four Canadians, 74%, know someone who is living with dementia. As Canada's population ages, the number of Canadians diagnosed with dementia is expected to double.
Research, collaboration, and partnership remain the key to finding a cure. Early diagnosis and support for treatment can lead to positive health outcomes for people with any form of dementia. Early diagnosis also has a positive impact on the family and friends providing care for their loved ones.
The Government of Canada, in consultation with the ministers responsible for the delivery of health care services in each province and territory, should encourage the development of a national strategy for the care of people living with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia.
What is dementia? Dementia is a difficult disease, but it does not define the person who has it. People with dementia are people first. They can lead happy and vital lives for a long time, especially when the right care and support and understanding is in place. Timely diagnosis is very important. It opens the door to treatment and connects people with the disease and their families with helpful resources like the Alzheimer's Society.
While there is no guarantee, Canadians can reduce their risk of dementia by eating a healthy diet, doing more physical activity, learning and trying new things, staying socially active, quitting smoking, and watching their vitals.
While dementia is not a part of growing old, age is still the biggest risk factor. After age 65, the risk doubles every five years. Seniors represent the fastest growing segment of the Canadian population. Today, one in six Canadians is a senior. In thirteen very quick years, it will be one in four. That is a major demographic shift. Dementia also occurs in people in their forties and fifties, in their most productive years.
A good question that needs to be asked, and is asked, is this. What is the impact of dementia on families and the Canadian economy? For every person with dementia, two or more family members will be providing direct care. The progression of dementia varies from person to person. In some cases it can last up to 20 years. Because of its progression, caregivers will eventually provide 24/7 care.
In 2011, family caregivers spent 444 million hours providing care, representing $11 billion of lost income and about 230,000 full-time jobs. By 2040, caregivers will be providing 1.2 billion hours of care per year.
Dementia is a costly disease, draining approximately $33 billion per year from our economy. By 2040, it will be very close to $295 billion every year.
There is a need for a strategy that includes awareness and research.
It is commonly believed that dementia is a normal part of aging, but it is not. This kind of attitude means too many Canadians are diagnosed too late, and their caregivers seek help when they are in crisis mode. The causes of dementia are still not fully understood. Nor do we have a cure for dementia. Effective treatments are lacking and there is no proven prevention. Dementia can lie dormant in the brain for up to 25 years before the symptoms appear.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia and accounts for over two-thirds of dementia cases in Canada.
What would Bill C-233 achieve? It would achieve a national strategy. The minister or delegated officials would work with representatives of the provinces and territories to develop and implement a comprehensive national strategy to address all aspects of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Within two years of passing the legislation, every year after that the minister must prepare a report on the effectiveness of the national strategy, setting out his or her conclusions. The national objectives need to be given priority. A report will be tabled in the House during the first days of the sitting after the report is complete.
A number of western countries have a national dementia strategy: the United States, Mexico, Argentina, Belgium, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Finland, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Japan, Israel, South Korea, New Zealand, and Australia. It is Canada's time to have a national strategy.
I again want to thank the member for Niagara Falls for bringing this forward. Together, if we work as a Parliament, we can pass the legislation quickly. It is needed in Canada.
Petitions June 8th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, the second petition highlights that if a pregnant woman in Canada is killed or assaulted, there is no legal protection for the preborn child today. The petitioners are calling on the House of Commons to pass legislation that would recognize preborn children as separate victims when they are injured or killed during the commission of an offence against their mothers, allowing two charges to be laid against the offender instead of just one.
Petitions June 8th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present.
The first highlights that the vast majority of Canadians, and actually physicians and health care professionals, want their conscience protected in regard to assisted suicide and euthanasia. The petitioners are calling on Parliament to ensure that the Criminal Code has protection of conscience for physicians and health care professionals from coercion or intimidation to provide or refer for assisted suicide. They want that to be a Criminal Code offence.
Petitions June 7th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present a petition that overwhelmingly presents the position of Canadians across the country, from coast to coast to coast, on the issue of the protection of conscience rights for physicians. It highlights that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the freedoms of conscience and religion. The petitioners are calling upon Parliament to enshrine in the Criminal Code protection of conscience rights for physicians and health care institutions, to protect them from coercion and intimidation to provide or refer for physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia.
Petitions June 1st, 2016
Mr. Speaker, the second petition comes from Families For Justice, as a group of Canadians, who have lost loved ones to an impaired driver. They believe that Canada's impaired driving laws are much too lenient, and they want the crime to be called vehicular homicide.
Petitions June 1st, 2016
Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present two petitions.
The first petition highlights that coercion, intimidation, or other forms of pressure intended to force physicians and health care institutions to become parties to assisted suicide and euthanasia is a violation of fundamental freedom of conscience. The petition highlights that the Canadian Medical Association confirms that conscience protection would not affect access for Canadians, and that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the freedom of conscience.
The petitioners call on Parliament to enshrine in the Criminal Code protection of conscience for physicians against coercion and intimidation to refer persons to suicide.
Criminal Code May 31st, 2016
Mr. Speaker, that is the salient question: what happens on June 6? I asked for a report from the Library of Parliament. It said that it will be the Carter decision and that it will be applied differently across Canada. In each province it will be the College of Physicians and Surgeons that will determine that. In Ontario, it will be required by physicians whereas in some provinces it will not be. In some provinces the provincial government will be engaged and in others it may not. Therefore, we will have a hodgepodge of how this will be applied across Canada. That is not in the interests of Canadians. Therefore, we need to pass this. Legislation is required. The problem is that Bill C-14 needs to be amended. It has some big holes in it. I hope the government will co-operate and listen to members of the opposition and listen to Canadians and fix Bill C-14.