Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to stand in this House. It is always a privilege to speak in this place and it is a great place for Canadians to see us represent them.
In my community the resource sector is a huge and critically important industry. Many businesses have closed. Many businesses have gone out of business. It is horrendous to think what the government has done to my riding by shutting down the fossil fuel industry
A week ago we had some of the coldest temperatures in Canada for a solid week. As the energy for Alberta was reported, there was 0.000 coming in from solar. We have hundreds and hundreds of acres of solar. We also have thousands of big windmills and that energy came in at 0.004% to the grid. For a solid week the only way we survived in Alberta was with fossil fuels. We live in a northern climate and without those fossil fuels, we will not survive. It is a critical industry in this country and it needs to be valued as an ethical and economically produced resource.
The government reacted quickly, which was great, with the Iranian missile crisis when a plane was shot down and Canadians were killed. However, months ago there was a plane that crashed where 18 Canadians were killed. What has the government done in following up with those families? Sometimes the government responds and sometimes it does not.
Another area in which the government needs to respond is cystic fibrosis. Over 4,300 Canadians are living with cystic fibrosis. The median age of people with cystic fibrosis is 22. The median age of survival is 52. They need access to medicine. They need a real, effective national rare disease policy. We talked about this for months. We need drug approval for rare diseases like CF and we need it streamlined. We need the government to take leadership to work with the province to make these drugs available to Canadians that desperately need them.
I want to read a letter I received a couple days ago:
“We are writing to you on behalf of our dear son, who is as you know, suffering from the fatal genetic disease, cystic fibrosis. In October, the U.S. released a new gene-modifying drug. This drug could save his life. He is an engineer, well educated and a very intelligent man. Marten is currently living with reduced lung function and does not have years to wait for this drug to come to Canada. I cannot imagine the struggle he has on a daily basis knowing that drugs are available which could improve the quality of his life but are just out of reach. We were shocked to learn that Canada is one of the only developed nations in the world that has failed to approve access to sustaining CF. Australia, Denmark, England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Greece, Spain, Luxembourg and the United States are all providing public access to the gene modulators for CF, while Canadian patients suffer needlessly. This disheartens me and makes me ashamed of my province and country.
“Why should our son suffer when the rest of the world is celebrating? This is just uncomprehensible. With hope and anticipation, Henk and Janny.”
We need this drug approved. The federal government can take the lead on this. We need it approved so it can work with the provinces to make this drug available for 4,300 Canadians. It needs to be done and it needs to be done quickly.