Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Murray Rankin Profile
NDP (BC)
View Murray Rankin Profile
2015-05-07 15:46
I appreciate that.
As you speak of transparency, that takes me to Vanessa's Law, to which you made reference earlier.
Toronto doctor, Nav Persaud, made an information request to Health Canada to get clinical trials on a pregnancy drug, an anti-nausea drug called Diclectin. He tried that three and a half years ago. He finally got 359 pages, 212 of which were completely redacted or censored.
In March, after Vanessa's Law came in, he resubmitted the request for all of the 359 pages, and so far has been given nothing. I got that as recently as two days ago in a letter. The clinical trial data was something that was to be made available, as I understood it, under Vanessa's Law. His experience has been entirely frustrating.
View Christine Moore Profile
NDP (QC)
We know that provincial health care is paying more and more for infertility treatments. Should we, in your opinion, pay particular attention to this issue if we want to avoid getting an enormous bill later? Often, people try to have a child for a long time before realizing that they have these problems. If someone has been carrying a cell phone in his pocket for 20 years, then it may be difficult to help with related issues later. Should this be of particular concern to us, in your opinion?
View Christine Moore Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
In December 2010, the Standing Committee on Health published a report entitled “An Examination of the Potential Health Impacts of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Radiation”. Allow me to summarize the five recommendations I'm interested in.
The first recommendation was to provide funding to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for studies into this matter.
The second was to conduct an assessment of scientific literature.
The third called for a comprehensive risk awareness program for exposure to electromagnetic radiation.
The fourth involved providing information, including awareness sessions.
The fifth recommendation was to implement a process to receive reports of adverse reactions.
As we know, the government did not respond to that report because of the 2011 federal election. I would like to know which of those five recommendations submitted by the committee over four years ago have been followed, why some of them may not have been implemented, and to what extent certain recommendations were followed.
I would also like to know what the next steps are.
View Christine Moore Profile
NDP (QC)
If I understand correctly, only people who look for the information on your website will be educated. There are no awareness programs for the general population—for instance, warning young people against carrying their cellphones in their pockets, directly against their skin.
View Murray Rankin Profile
NDP (BC)
View Murray Rankin Profile
2015-03-24 17:08
In fact, I'll take six minutes, please. I would like to ask if you could interrupt me toward the end so my colleague, Ms. Moore, could ask a very short question.
I want to say thank you to the two witnesses.
I must say that your testimony is very, very disturbing. I'm putting myself in the position of a parent sitting at home hearing what you've said, just after we've heard from Health Canada and Industry Canada assuring us that nothing is wrong.
Recently Health Canada sent a fact sheet to our committee. It was modified less than two weeks ago, on March 13. It would seem to suggest that there's really nothing wrong with Safety Code 6 in protecting Canadians. So I must say it's very, very disturbing.
The first question I have is for Doctor Sears.
If I could summarize, in your words Health Canada must review the science from scratch. They have to make the data more publicly available and they have to collect detailed cancer data because what you used to be able to get is no longer available, except at the provincial level. That's a very disturbing conclusion. The fact that the information is not being made publicly available is equally disturbing.
Can you elaborate a little on that?
View Murray Rankin Profile
NDP (BC)
View Murray Rankin Profile
2015-03-24 17:10
Yes, thank you. You'll appreciate that time is so limited.
Dr. Blank, you started by saying that Health Canada was not measuring the right parameters, that it was focusing on temperature but not looking at the biological parameters. I think you said something to that effect. Health Canada tells us in this fact sheet that I just mentioned that they do. They say:
....Health Canada scientists consider all peer-reviewed scientific studies (which includes thermal, non-thermal, and biological effects)....
They claim they are doing what you say they should be doing.
View Murray Rankin Profile
NDP (BC)
View Murray Rankin Profile
2015-03-24 17:11
If there is a stress protein created, as you've suggested, or that some studies that you and Dr. Goodman refer to suggest, the implication seems to be that the creation of stress proteins is a serious thing.
Does that necessarily follow—?
View Murray Rankin Profile
NDP (BC)
View Murray Rankin Profile
2015-03-24 17:12
Here we have your analysis, which has been very clearly presented by both of you. Toward the end of your recommendation, you refer to Dr. Lerchl, from Bremen, who has in the past not been alive to these concerns, but who has recently been concluding that there is a concern. Yet, as recently as March 13, Health Canada puts out to the Canadian public a fact sheet saying that there are no concerns here.
This is very hard for Canadians to understand. It seems that our regulators are not giving this the attention that this deserves. I say “seems” because I'm not a scientist. I have to rely on what they conclude and what you two are asserting.
View Libby Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
Thank you very much, Chairperson.
Thank you to Minister Ambrose for appearing before our committee today as we deal with the estimates.
Thank you to the officials who will be here.
Minister, I know you're here only for an hour so obviously we want to ask as many questions as possible. I'm glad that you began your comments with an update on the Ebola situation because I do think that has been a very urgent matter and as you know, we've raised it in the House a number of times with you and also with the parliamentary secretary. There have been a lot of concerns about delays from Canada, both in terms of getting equipment and protective gear out the door, and there have certainly been significant concerns around the vaccine. So I'm glad to hear you say today that now $57 million of the federal commitment has actually been disbursed.
I do want to come to a question, though, on the vaccine itself. You're probably aware that the contract with NewLink, which is the company in Iowa that received a contract from the federal government in 2010. That's four years ago, and that contract requires the company to commercialize the made-in-Canada vaccine, and within that contract there are specifics that outline that any parking, shelving, or lack of diligently and aggressively commercializing the vaccine is considered to be a fundamental breach of contract.
The question that I have is whether or not you as the minister, or the federal government, have given notice to NewLink Genetics outlining the concerns that many Canadians have—certainly we have—with the apparent parking of the vaccine development over the last four years, and the lack of urgency this summer to conduct the clinical trials. The contract says that 90 days' notice has to be given for required inactivity to be considered a sufficient cause for termination. Basically we want to know, have you given notice of breach of contract? Have you been seeking alternate sources to ensure that this vaccine is commercialized, given that now we're looking at four years since this contract was initiated?
View Libby Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
Minister, I think we all share your concerns about safety, so I want to ask you again. You have no concerns whatsoever that this company has been parking or shelving or has lacked any diligence in terms of aggressively commercializing this very desperately needed vaccine, no concerns with the company whatsoever.
View Libby Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
Dr. Taylor, perhaps I could just do a quick follow-up to you. As you know, we have the visa ban that was initiated by Canada from affected Ebola countries, and I'd like to ask you as the chief medical health officer for Canada, do you support the visa ban from affected Ebola countries? What evidence supports the decision that was made?
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