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View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
There being no motion at report stage, the House will now proceed, without debate, to the putting of the question on the motion to concur in the bill at report stage.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
, seconded by the member for Pierrefonds—Dollard, moved that the bill be concurred in.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
If a member of a recognized party present in the House wishes that the motion be carried or carried on division or wishes to request a recorded division, I would invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, I think there would be agreement for the motion to be carried unanimously.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Is that agreed?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
When shall the bill be read the third time? By leave, now?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
, seconded by the member for Pierrefonds—Dollard, moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be speaking today to Bill S-223, the next, and hopefully the last, in a long line of bills that have been proposed here and in the other place to begin the fight against the horrific practice of forced organ harvesting and trafficking.
I want to thank the member for Pierrefonds—Dollard for seconding the bill and recognize the incredible work done by Senator Ataullahjan as well, who proposed the bill. I have the honour of carrying that work on in this place.
The bill would make it a criminal offence for a person to go abroad and receive an organ taken without consent. Bill S-223 would also create a mechanism by which a person could be deemed inadmissible to Canada for involvement in forced organ harvesting and trafficking. The bill recognizes the basic moral principle that killing people or exploiting them for their organs is wrong everywhere and should be stopped everywhere.
Efforts to combat this practice have been ongoing in Canada's Parliament for close to 15 years, and the time that has elapsed underlines the sad reality of how long it takes to pass good private members' bills, even when everyone agrees. However, Bill S-223 has now made it further than any of its predecessors. Having passed the Senate and now been reported back from committee without amendments, the bill only needs to complete this third reading stage and receive royal assent before becoming law. Thanks to the member for Bow River trading with me today and the member for Simcoe North trading the second hour slot on Wednesday, the bill will complete debate this week and should pass its final vote in time for Christmas.
In the past I have always given uncharacteristically short speeches on the bill, trying to engineer an early collapse to debate to move the bill along more quickly. However, given that we now have the security of a second hour for debate lined up and a tight time line to move forward in any event, I will use the opportunity to now, for the first time, to lay out my views on this subject in the level of detail that the full time allows.
The bill responds to one particularly egregious human rights violation, but it would also take an important step toward the embracing of a vital principle of human rights more broadly; that is, the idea of the universality of human rights and of the responsibility of nations to prudentially use the means at their disposal to protect fundamental human rights, not only within their own nations but for every human being in every corner of the globe.
Bill S-223 would apply criminal prohibitions against organ harvesting and trafficking beyond Canada's borders. It recognizes that organ harvesting and trafficking is not just wrong in Canada as a result of particularly Canadian values or a particularly Canadian social contract. Rather, it recognizes that organ harvesting and trafficking is wrong because it denies the universal principle of inherent human dignity and value, a principle that should be understood and applied universally. In this sense, the bill seeks to continue the process of innovation around the principle of national sovereignty that began in 1948 with the promulgation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Today, I would like to make the case for the importance of embracing this continuing process of innovation, though with appropriate balance and with necessary parameters.
The principle of national sovereignty comes most sharply from Peace of Westphalia, which ended 30 years of war in the Holy Roman Empire in 1648. National sovereignty emerged as a necessary practical compromise from the new reality created by the Protestant Reformation. Prior to the Reformation, western Europe had a kind of moral and religious unity, with the Pope as spiritual leader and the Emperor as a temporal ruler whose practical jurisdiction varied from place to place, but who expressed a kind civilizational unity of the western Christian world.
The Reformation ended that unity and led to generations of wars, with most of the Catholic powers struggling to restore that civilizational unity and with the Protestant powers, with the periodic help of France, seeking to break the power of the Pope and Emperor and create a reality in which nation states could be their own authority in most areas. The Peace of Westphalia, more from exhaustion than decisive victory, marked the end of this period of religious wars and the beginning of the period of nation states.
Notably, this was not the beginning of some great flowering of individual freedom, liberty and human rights. The division of Europe into blocs meant that Catholics were persecuted in Protestant nations just as Protestants were persecuted in Catholic nations, and later as Catholics were brutally persecuted in anti-religious revolutionary France. Westphalia was not about saying that individuals could believe and do what they liked; it was “cuius regio, eius religio”, the religion of the ruler shall be the religion of the state. Under these circumstances, religious persecution continued for hundreds of years, and nations, though less inclined to fight wars over religion, fought wars that reflected the aspirations of rulers, no longer checked or mediated by super-national structures that reflected civilizational unity.
The 18th and 19th centuries saw the rise of new universalist movements. The French Revolution and later Marxism were great threats to existing structures and ideas of national sovereignty, because they made universal claims about the kinds of power structures that should exist, instead of accepting the Westphalian idea that it was up to the local political authorities to decide how a place would be governed.
These movements were obviously different, but a common thread can be discerned in the thinking of political universalists of both the pre-Reformation and the Revolutionary type. They believed that, insofar as there is such a thing as truth, insofar as there is such a thing as human nature and insofar as there is a resulting right and wrong way for a people to be governed, efforts should be made to apply these principles universally. There is intuitive logic to the idea that truth and justice for human beings in one place should be the same as truth and justice for human beings in another place.
There are more modern arguments made for the rejection of this kind of moral universalism that propose the general subjectivity of truth. I will comment more on these arguments later. For the time being, we should note that the emergence of national sovereignty as a principle in European politics did not arise from the rejection of absolute truth in religious and political matters. Rather, it arose from the practical recognition that such universals could not be practically enforced through warfare, at least not at any acceptable cost. The idea of national sovereignty was seen as a necessary political compromise to preserve some measure of peace and security.
It is hard to say how well national sovereignty actually worked at achieving its objectives. One can never test counterfactuals, but we can never know what would have happened in Europe if this piece of political technology had not been invented. Certainly, Europeans kept fighting wars of various kinds after 1648, but the return of the broadest and most devastating European wars tended to align with the emergence of new universalist ideologies.
Following the last of these total European wars, nations came together to try to shape a new kind of settlement. This included the formation of the United Nations in 1945 and also the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights exactly 300 hundred years after the signing of the Peace of Westphalia.
Many of history's human rights declarations, especially prior to 1948, were calls to arms or efforts to justify a violent revolution. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was radical insofar as it asserted the universality of various fundamental human rights, but it was also conservative in the sense that it was the project of nation states, within a framework that still recognized nationality with sovereignty, it did not legally bind the state signatories to actually uphold the rights therein, and, of course, it did not contain a call to armed enforcement by the people.
This provided a somewhat contradictory foundation, and international human rights law has continued to evolve and grow since 1948 on that foundation that recognizes both national sovereignty and universal human rights as being of great importance.
Notwithstanding the evident tension between these concepts, international diplomacy and law today recognizes that we cannot and ought not dispense with either. An absence of recognition of national sovereignty would lead to perpetual conflict between nations representing irreconcilable philosophical systems. This was the background prior to the Peace of Westphalia and a reality intermittently renewed by the rise of universalist revolutionary and totalitarian movements.
However, the absence of any limits on national sovereignty aimed at protecting universal human rights would create a reality in which we would look the other way when nations would commit the most dastardly crimes toward their own people. Any moral person who believes in justice and universal human dignity must, at a certain point, refuse to consent to allowing certain evils to be committed in the name of national sovereignty. Even if the only consideration is national sovereignty, history shows us clearly that nations that show capricious disregard for the rights of their own people quickly become a menace to their neighbours.
Recognizing the necessary tension between national sovereignty and international human rights, the approach of many nations has sadly been to talk the talk of international human rights, but not to put in practice meaningful mechanisms to enforce such rights.
The clearest example of this approach is the approach taken to the crime of genocide. Canada is a party to an international convention that seeks to define and make illegal the crime of genocide, regardless of assertions of national sovereignty. I strongly support this idea in principle and in practice. Slaughtering a group of people in an attempt to eradicate them is a horrific denial of universal human dignity of the person, and we should do what we can to prevent it. However, unfortunately, while assenting to the idea in principle that genocide should be an international crime, the Government of Canada has been reluctant to actually recognize any acts of genocide while they are progress. It claims that its obligation to act in response to genocide is triggered by a determination by some undefined competent international authority, even if such authorities are easily manipulated by the state committing genocide.
Additionally, this line from the government is fundamentally out of step with our actual legal obligations under the Genocide Convention. Our obligations, as a signatory to the convention, are to uphold that convention, which includes our responsibility to protect victims of genocide, regardless of national sovereignty and regardless of determinations by UN bodies. This is the legal obligation that we have assumed.
I also acknowledge the reality that it is not prudential to send in our troops in every case where genocide is happening. However, rather than burying our heads in the sand and denying the existence of genocide, the government could seek to clearly define the nature and also the limitations of how we would operationalize a responsibility to protect.
In my view, we need to develop real tools for practically integrating a commitment to universal human rights with a commitment to some form of national sovereignty. If an individual is involved in a violation of international human rights and if the nation state in which the person lives elects not to punish them or even condones their actions, national sovereignty limits our ability to punish this criminal. However, without resorting to means that are imprudent and likely to lead to even greater violence, we should still seek ways to punish those involved in human rights violations beyond our borders and thus deter criminals from committing these crimes.
Enter Bill S-223, a little bill with a big idea. It is the idea that we should use the means reasonably at our disposal to punish violations of fundamental human rights that happen beyond our borders. We could do this by punishing Canadians who are complicit in these acts of violence and by shunning foreigners who are involved in such violence. In light of the emergent reality of global connectivity, these kinds of limited tools are still meaningful and begin the process of deterring crime that happens beyond our borders.
It is a good thing that, if we agree it is always and everywhere wrong to do such and such a thing to a human being, we try to come up with some mechanism of accountability for these crimes that is prudent and that does not return us to the kind of world that existed between the Protestant Reformation and the Peace of Westphalia.
This idea of actively applying international human rights principles extraterritorially is about us doing what we can under the circumstances to advance justice. A commitment to this principle is why I have worked hard on this bill and also why I strongly support similar legislative mechanisms, such as the increasing use of Magnitsky sanctions, the adoption of Bill C-281, which is the international human rights act, and the adoption of Bill S-211. I support these legislative efforts to promote justice beyond our borders, because my children here in Canada are no more or less human than Uighur children, Rohingya children, the young nephew of my assistant who faces a hard winter in Ukraine or Kian Pirfalak, a nine-year-old boy who was murdered by police while attending a pro-freedom protest in Iran.
In conclusion, I want to return to a question I raised earlier: the case for universal moral claims in a world made up of diverse cultures and political traditions.
Every society since the dawn of time has tried to regulate itself with doctrines of something like morality. It is impossible for people to live together in a community if they do not regulate their interactions in some way. Furthermore, it is in our nature as beings to try to live rationally, to try to explain the decisions we make with reference to some good or goods.
However, while there has never been a society without some kind moral doctrines, and while those moral doctrines have sought to protect the lives and security of certain individuals, most societies have excluded certain groups or individuals from that protection. They have sought to protect an in-group without protecting an outgroup, seeking to narrow the definition of what it is to be human and perhaps allowing the exploitation of the outgroup for some advantage.
The core of my political philosophy is a simple commitment to universal humanism. It is the idea that we should not think in terms of in-group and outgroup when making decisions about fundamental human rights. If we are to speak authentically about human rights, then these are rights for all humans, regardless of age, environment, citizenship, skin colour or any other factor. Throughout history and still today, there are many who seek to limit the human family for their own convenience, but I believe that a person is a person.
Naturally there are certain kinds of rights that do flow from exchange. A worker has a right to wages. That is a right particular to the worker. A citizen has certain rights that accord with the obligations they have taken on to the nation in which they live. However, when we speak of human rights, these are rights that do not exist because of exchange. Rather, they are rights that flow from the universal nature of the human person.
Ideas of rights and justice are philosophical propositions that cannot be proven scientifically. All doctrines of human rights have their roots in something like faith: in the embrace of propositions that are not scientifically verifiable. However, the idea of universal human rights flowing from a universal humanness can be supported by observing how it accords with the universal aspirations of all people.
Today, as we speak, the people of China and the people of Iran are taking to the streets bravely demanding change. As we speak, incredibly, both of these totalitarian governments are at least feigning in the direction of concession. Also, the people of Ukraine have resisted and continue to heroically resist Putin's invasion, even as more and more Russians bravely express their own discontent.
I am proudly here today endorsing this universal movement for freedom and justice, to say that a person is a person no matter where they live and to say that we can and should prudentially work to affirm and give greater meaning to the idea of universal human rights.
View Sameer Zuberi Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Sameer Zuberi Profile
2022-12-05 11:19 [p.10386]
Madam Speaker, I would like to ask the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan a question.
We are working together on the Uighur file, which is an important issue. We are the co-chairs of the Canada-Uyghur Parliamentary Friendship Group.
I ask the member how the bill would impact this grave and serious human rights concern, which the House has said is a genocide occurring currently against the Uighur people. How does he see this bill ameliorating that particular situation right now?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Madam Speaker, we have seen many initiatives before the House, including my friend's Motion No. 62, and these initiatives deal with different parts of the genocide: recognition, sanctions, immigration measures and forced labour. There are many different pieces to it that require a response.
This bill seeks to combat forced organ harvesting and trafficking. We have been hearing more and more reports that Uighurs have been victim to forced organ harvesting and trafficking. By cutting off some of the demand for those organs and by seeking to in some sense punish those involved in forced organ harvesting and trafficking, this bill is an important step. There are still many more steps required, but it is an important step in trying to advance justice fo Uighurs.
View Alistair MacGregor Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for shepherding this bill to this stage. It has been a long journey. I have a question based on the earlier intervention, aside from what is happening with the Uighur population.
Over the many years the member has been involved in trying to shepherd this bill through the Parliament of Canada, can he inform the House what the trends and statistics have been like worldwide that underline a strong a case and necessity for this bill being passed into law at this moment in time?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Madam Speaker, there are different kinds of cases of forced organ harvesting and trafficking. We often speak of the situation in China, where forced organ harvesting and trafficking are part of the persecution of dissidents or minorities. Falun Gong practitioners have been significantly targeted for decades. Now we are seeing an increase in the targeting of Uighurs as part of a state-directed and state-controlled system.
However, in many other countries around the world where forced organ harvesting and trafficking happen, they are not likely coordinated by the state but in the dark ungoverned or less governed corners of society. People who are poor and vulnerable are taken advantage of and coerced or compelled into giving up their organs.
We know this is a problem, and there have been various efforts to quantify it. It is a difficult thing to quantify. It is particularly difficult to quantify the extent to which Canadians are or are not complicit in this, but the bill takes an important step in responding to that reality throughout the world.
View James Bezan Profile
CPC (MB)
Madam Speaker, the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan's dissertation was well researched and well articulated.
We know that Falun Gong practitioners have been unfairly and unjustly targeted by the regime in Beijing for organ harvesting. They are denied freedom of religion, freedom of association and freedom expression, things that we take for granted here in Canada.
We know that our former colleague David Kilgour, as well as David Matas, wrote a large study and briefing document on those responsible for the organ harvesting of the Falun Dafa in China. They brought forward, along with Falun Gong practitioners here in Canada, over 20 names of those who have profited from the very gross, which I mean in every way possible, human rights violations of Falun Gong practitioners in China, who have had their organs harvested for being political dissidents. None of them have ever been sanctioned.
Can the member speak to whether this bill would allow us to make sure that nobody in Canada profits from or gains access to these illicit organs? Why we are not sanctioning the individuals who are responsible for this?
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Madam Speaker, this bill would create a mechanism by which those involved with forced organ harvesting and trafficking would be inadmissible to Canada.
In terms of broader sanctions, Magnitsky-style sanctions, it is important that we also pass Bill C-281, which would create a mechanism through which a parliamentary committee could recommend people for Magnitsky sanctions. That would help us move forward to ensure that more people involved in these kinds of human rights violations are put on the sanctions list.
View Sameer Zuberi Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Sameer Zuberi Profile
2022-12-05 11:24 [p.10387]
Madam Speaker, I would like to start by thanking the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
I also want to thank Senator Ataullahjan, who has created this conversation within our House, the lower house, the House of Commons.
This Senate bill, Bill S-223, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (trafficking in human organs), is a critical piece of legislation that would help us address a grave and serious human rights concern. It is new legislation that adds to an existing body of law, which addresses criminality but not with respect to organ harvesting outside of Canada's territory.
I want to acknowledge our collective commitment to ensuring that these important reforms become law. This is a commitment from all members of the House, from what I can see. The important and beautiful thing about this legislation and discussing it is we are focused on the public good, putting aside our partisan squabbles to promote what is right and just.
First, I would like to review the history of the legislative reform proposed in this bill.
The issue of organ trafficking has been before Parliament for a decade. Prior to Bill S‑223, there were two Senate public bills that proposed nearly identical reforms. They were Bill S‑240, introduced in 2017, and Bill S‑204, introduced in 2020. In addition, two private member's bills introduced in 2017 and 2013 proposed similar reforms. They were Bill C‑350 and Bill C‑561. We all agree that organ trafficking is a heinous crime. It requires a legislative response.
As I said earlier, this piece of legislation would create something new within the Criminal Code that speaks specifically to the trafficking of organs extraterritorially, or outside the territory of Canada. Additionally, it would amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act so those who are seeking to reside permanently in Canada or foreign nationals would be inadmissible to our beautiful country for engaging in conduct that constitutes one of the offences proposed in this legislation. These offences target anybody who obtains organs, or who participates in or facilitates the trafficking of organs, from a person who did not provide informed consent. This legislation also seeks to target those who obtained organs that are purchased and those who participate in or facilitate the transfer of purchased organs.
These are coercive practices. They are difficult to prove, but we want to send a clear and strong signal that we as a country do not accept them.
Unfortunately, we know that people who are wealthier unwittingly or sometimes wittingly engage in this practice. Those who are victims of this practice are almost always deeply vulnerable. The transplant of organs without consent is abhorrent. Oftentimes, it leads to devastating impacts on those who had their organs trafficked. They are uncompensated, they live with lifelong problems and they sometimes die.
The member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan and I participated in an important study on the Uighur people. This was over two years ago at the parliamentary subcommittee on international human rights.
We heard testimony from a survivor of the concentration camps within Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. He recounted to us, in testimony, how he was apprehended. He was asked to sign a forced confession and refused to do so. He was medically examined to such an extent that he thought he would be dissected on that table, that his eyes were going to be removed or that his organs were going to be harvested on the spot during the examination.
This piece of legislation seeks to target any behaviour that harvests organs from people.
I recognize that the Criminal Code may apply currently to some of the conduct that this bill is seeking to legislate. Right now, the Criminal Code has assault offences that apply when organs are harvested here in Canada with coercion. This piece of legislation, as I mentioned earlier, also looks at what happens outside of Canada.
Right now, there is no international covenant from the UN that speaks specifically to organ harvesting in its essence as the main thrust of the covenant. However, there are two covenants that do touch upon organ harvesting, and Canada is party to both of these UN instruments. The first is the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. This supplements the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which was ratified on May 13, 2002.
After this first piece of international law came the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. This protocol addresses offering, delivering and accepting a child for the purposes of transferring children's organs, particularly article 3. This was ratified on September 14, 2005.
The Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs, adopted in 2014, also speaks directly to organ harvesting.
I will conclude by recognizing the important work that has been done around this, in particular by David Kilgour and David Matas. They have done extensive research around Falun Gong or Falun Dafa practitioners and have dedicated years to highlighting this particular issue around organ harvesting.
We know that David Kilgour served in the House for many years with the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party. He was a person of conviction. He was a person who continued to remain active after serving the House. He was somebody I crossed paths with before entering the House. I remember this gentleman as a sincere person who advocated for the public good and for human rights.
It is important to also mark David Matas, who along with David Kilgour conducted extensive research. It allowed us to build a body of evidence that proved not only anecdotally but also empirically that this is an abhorrent phenomenon occurring right now.
Recently, in the Subcommittee on International Human Rights, we heard how this is currently happening to the Uighur people. In the airports in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, in Urumqi, if my memory serves me correctly, there were lines on the floor as one entered the airport that specifically demarcated where one could pick up organs. This is abhorrent. This type of practice must stop. This practice might exist currently within a region of the world that we know, but this legislation applies across the board.
View Kristina Michaud Profile
BQ (QC)
Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to address the House, and I am glad to be here to talk about Bill S‑223 today.
I love it when there is consensus in the House and all parties, no matter their political leanings, agree on an issue. I am happy to see that that is the case for this bill. I think this type of legislation is a step in the right direction for both Quebeckers and Canadians. I am very happy.
We know that organ trafficking is a barbaric practice that has been around for a long time and has become more prevalent with the arrival of the Internet and improved immunosuppressant drugs. I believe it is our duty to enact legislation about this. Canada does not yet have legislation prohibiting people from engaging in transplant tourism, which means travelling abroad, buying organs, having them transplanted and returning to Canada. It is about time we enacted this kind of legislation.
This bill provides an additional tool to combat trafficking in human organs, which speaks to the social and economic inequalities that unfortunately still exist around the world. It is also an additional tool to combat criminal groups. The bill is a step in the right direction in the fight against organ trafficking, but its effects will be proportional to the effort put into increasing knowledge and awareness about organ donation in order to address the shortage of organs needed for people waiting for a second chance.
There has been a lot of discussion about the facts pertaining to this bill, and I would like to focus on a few of them. Bill S-223 explicitly makes it a crime to travel abroad to receive a transplanted organ that was removed without free and informed consent and obtained for consideration. Simply put, it prohibits individuals from engaging in a practice abroad that is prohibited in Canada. The Criminal Code prohibits the exploitation of individuals, which includes organ and tissue harvesting. Once again, the bill provides an additional tool, as I just mentioned.
Technically speaking, the bill amends section 7 of the Criminal Code so that, if a person is found guilty of organ trafficking abroad, they will also be found guilty of the same crime in Canada. The bill also adds a few provisions regarding the removal of organs without consent.
The bill makes it a crime to obtain an organ to be transplanted into one's own body or the body of another person “knowing that the person from whom it was removed or a person lawfully authorized to consent on behalf of the person from whom it was removed did not give informed consent to the removal, or being reckless as to whether or not such consent was given”.
The bill also makes it a crime to carry out, participate in or facilitate the removal of an organ from the body of another person “knowing that the person from whom it was removed or a person lawfully authorized to consent on behalf of the person from whom it was removed did not give informed consent to the removal, or being reckless as to whether or not such consent was given”. It also makes it a crime to do anything in connection with the removal of an organ from the body of another person. It is clear that Bill S-223 makes any involvement in any such activity a crime.
The bill would also prevent immigrants from becoming Canadian citizens if they are found guilty of a crime related to trafficking in human organs. I think that is an interesting addition to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
I would like to reiterate a few facts that were mentioned by several of my colleagues and that are good reasons for voting in favour of this bill. First, we all know that in 2002 Canada signed the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. This UN protocol, better known as the Palermo Protocol, prohibits trafficking in persons, whose definition includes the removal of organs.
There is also the 2008 Declaration of Istanbul, which invited states to implement measures to fight organ trafficking, specifically transplant tourism. I also want to mention that Canada adheres to the World Health Organization's 11 guiding principles that prohibit monetary payment for the different parties for organ donation. They also require the free and informed consent of the donor, the protection of minors, and the allocation of organs removed to be guided by ethical and equitable norms.
Through its participation in certain international declarations or conventions, Canada has clearly committed to fighting trafficking in human organs. Bill S‑223 does exactly that.
Unfortunately, we know that there are far more people in the world in need of a new organ than there are organs available. As in any market where it is possible to make money because demand far outweighs supply, people can turn to the black market to obtain what they need. When a person's life is on the line, the will to survive may override morals.
The facts I will be sharing describe the seedy underbelly of organ trafficking. These are things that have been mentioned in the media, including in recent years. It goes as far back as the 2000s.
According to the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking, the organ trade occurs in three broad categories: traffickers who force victims to give up an organ; those who sell their organs out of financial desperation, often only receiving a fraction of the profit or even nothing at all; and victims who are duped into believing they need an operation and the organ is removed without the victim's knowledge.
Organ trafficking is an organized crime that involves many offenders, including the recruiters who identify the vulnerable person, the transporter, the hospital or clinic staff, the medical professionals who perform the surgery, the middleman, the buyers, and the banks that store the organs. This is clearly not a one-man show; there may be several people involved in this type of activity that we are looking to criminalize.
According to the UN initiative, the entire ring is rarely exposed. In fact, a 2004 World Health Assembly resolution urged member states to take measures to protect vulnerable groups from transplant tourism and the sale of tissues and organs.
Transplant tourism is the most common way to trade organs across national borders. Recipients travel abroad to undergo organ transplants. Some websites offer all-inclusive packages. For example, the price of a kidney transplant abroad ranges from $70,000 U.S. to $160,000 U.S.
According to the World Health Organization, one in 10 organ transplants involves a trafficked human organ, which amounts to about 10,000 per year. While kidneys are the most commonly sold organs, hearts, livers, lungs, pancreases, corneas and human tissue are also illegally traded.
In a recent report, Global Financial Integrity stated that organ trafficking, which occurs in many countries, is on the rise and generates between $600 million and $1.2 billion in profit annually.
In Iran, the only country where trade in human organs is legal, organ sales are closely monitored. This practice has eliminated the waiting list for kidney transplants and increased post mortem organ donations, for which there is no compensation in Iran.
According to a Harvard University study, donors come from poor countries in South America, Asia and Africa, whereas recipients are often from developed countries such as Canada, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Israel and Japan.
According to Michigan State University research into the black market for human organs in Bangladesh, the average price of a kidney was $1,400 U.S. The price has since gone down because of abundant supply.
In conclusion, I could go on and on with more fascinating facts. Less than a week ago, in fact, Radio-Canada's Enquête looked into the failings of our health system and provincial health systems in Canada with respect to organ donation. According to Dr. Pierre Marsolais, Canada was a leader in the field 20 years ago. Now it is at a standstill.
Rather than turning to the poor and indigent to supply organs for transplants, why is Canada not trying harder to re-establish itself as a leader in this field?
There are other things that can also be done to support organ donation, besides passing this bill, and there are other ways members can show their support. I am not familiar with what the other provinces do, but in Quebec, people can consent to donate their organs and tissue by signing the back of their health insurance cards or by registering directly on the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec website. This small act can save up to eight lives and restore the health of another 20 people. If everyone did that one small thing, it could make for a much brighter future for so many people.
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