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Results: 1 - 8 of 8
View Carla Qualtrough Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Carla Qualtrough Profile
2020-04-29 14:58 [p.2246]
Mr. Speaker, I was very excited when the member put forth his proposal to me in recent days. In fact, just this morning I met with my officials to move that proposal forward so we can indeed respond to the needs of northern Ontario through the use of medical students and not in any way encroach upon the Canada summer jobs program.
Absolutely is my answer. I believe I will have a solution for him within hours, if not within the next days. I am very excited about this proposal.
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
2020-04-11 15:01 [p.2129]
Mr. Chair, indigenous leaders across the country have told me that health care resources in their communities were already stretched to the limit and that they would need access to additional personnel.
The existing nurse shortage is leaving many indigenous communities incredibly vulnerable to COVID-19.
What is the government doing to ensure that indigenous communities have enough health care workers to deal with this pandemic?
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
View Jagmeet Singh Profile
2020-03-25 5:17 [p.2086]
Mr. Speaker, I want to take this moment to acknowledge the depth of the crisis that our country is facing and that the world is facing. The impacts of COVID-19 are gripping the world in a crisis, and Canada has felt the impacts and will continue to feel those impacts.
In this crisis, there are many people we need to thank, and I want to take a moment to thank, first and foremost, the health care workers who are running toward the fire and putting themselves at risk to keep us healthy. I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart, on behalf of all New Democrats.
I also want to acknowledge that the health care workers who are putting themselves at risk have one clear request of us, and we owe it to them to respond to this request. They are saying that they are willing to put themselves at risk, but they need us to do our part to prevent the spread of this illness: to take social distancing seriously, to prevent the spread of this illness by limiting contact with others by staying at home, and by doing such basic things as washing our hands thoroughly and avoiding touching our faces. We owe it to these workers to do that at a minimum.
I also want to take an opportunity to thank all the people who are keeping us fed, from the transportation and supply chains to farmers and grocery store workers. They are heroes. I thank them for keeping our communities fed.
I also want to thank public health professionals who are sharing information and providing reliable and practical guidelines on what we can do to ensure our safety and that of others.
I want to thank the businesses that have decided to offer their help in this crisis, including the distilleries that are making hand sanitizer and the auto parts manufacturers who are modifying their production line to make medical supplies.
Finally, I want to thank Canadians. In this moment of crisis, we have seen incredible acts of kindness, compassion and generosity. We often hear people talk about the world needing more Canada, but right now Canada needs more Canada. We have seen the the generosity from neighbours who have stepped up to help those they do not even know to ensure that they get groceries, and the kindness between community members to lift each other up at a time when people are going through so much difficulty. I want to thank Canadians who have risen to the occasion during this crisis.
We have seen some great work done in Parliament. I want to acknowledge the Prime Minister, the ministers and all parliamentarians in this House who have done so much work for their communities. I want to thank them. I want to give a particular shout-out to the House leaders and whips who have worked so tirelessly today to get us to this point where we are able to move forward with this legislation.
When these measures were first put forward, New Democrats made it clear that we would be supporting all measures to help out Canadians during these difficult times. I want to acknowledge that the government has shown that it is interested in helping Canadians, but if it truly wants to help Canadians, we need to do more and we need to do it faster. We have outlined some priorities that speak to the needs of Canadians.
Right now, Canadians need money in their pockets immediately. They need to know that they will have a job to get back to once this crisis is dealt with. Finally, and most importantly, Canadians need to know that they have a safe place to live and are not at risk of losing their homes. We have proposed three things to deal with that.
First and foremost, we need to make sure that we send direct financial support to Canadians right away, which is why we are calling for a universal basic income that will send $2,000 immediately to all Canadians and an additional $250 for children. This is an immediate, direct financial support to Canadians who need it right now. We can deal with those who may not need this at the time of taxation and recoup that additional amount.
Second, we have suggested that to ensure Canadians have a job to return to, we need to augment the proposal around wage subsidies. The current proposal is 10%, which small and medium-sized businesses have said is not enough to ensure that they can keep their workforce going. Right now, for a small business, it is crucial to maintain the workforce. The idea of rehiring and retraining would be devastating to a business. This is why we are calling for the government to follow other countries around the world who have increased that wage subsidy proposal to at least 75% or more. That is what we are asking this government to consider to give small businesses some help.
Finally, to help out businesses, families and people who are either in a business or at home, we need to ensure that there is a pause or a break on rent and mortgages. We need to make sure that there is a ban on evictions. People need to know that they can stay in their home, and this is crucial.
We not only have to get money to people as soon as possible, but we also have to do everything in our power to reduce their expenses. There are good measures to help ease the pressure, such as suspending student loan payments and allowing individuals and businesses to defer their income tax payments.
What we need to do is make sure that people have money in their pockets and that we are limiting the money that is going out of their pockets as much as we can during this crisis.
When we look at the reality that we are faced with right now and at the struggles that Canadians are faced with right now, we see that Canadians are being asked to make an impossible choice: They have to decide whether they should stay at home while not knowing if they can afford to pay rent or put food on the table, or whether they should go to work and risk exposing themselves or their loved ones to an illness. That is an impossible decision. We know that this is an impossible decision because we hear the stories.
I remember being at a bakery just a couple of days ago. Young workers there told me that they were afraid to go in to work. They worried every day when they went to work about being exposed to the illness, but at the same time they were afraid that their bakery might be shut down and that they would lose their jobs and not be able to pay their bills.
One of my colleagues told me that in her neighbourhood, the longest lineups were not for groceries. They were not in front of the grocery stores. Instead, they were in front of the payday money-lending stores, because people are struggling for access to money at this point. While people wait for the measures in this legislation to take place, to get that crucial funding, people are going to turn to money wherever they can get it. That often means credit card companies or low-interest loans.
We have a responsibility here to ensure that credit companies and payday lending companies are not able to exploit people in desperate times. We have an obligation to ensure that they are not charging these interest rates anymore.
I also heard the finance minister talk about working with banks to ensure that there are mortgage deferrals. That is simply not working, and it is not good enough. We need to see a pause on mortgages. We need to see a pause on rent. We need to ensure that people can be in their homes.
It is more critical than ever to ensure that people are able to stay in their homes, and it is not just a moral responsibility: It is also a public health responsibility to ensure that people remain in their homes.
How can someone self-isolate if they do not have a home? If we do not take measures right now to ensure that people are not struggling to keep their homes and if we do not freeze rents or put a pause on rents and mortgages, we are going to have not just a health care crisis, but a homelessness crisis of epic proportion. That is why I am calling on the government to take real steps immediately to work with all levels of government to ensure that people have a break on their rents and their mortgages.
We have also spoken with indigenous communities that are deeply concerned that they have inadequate access to housing, to clean water and to appropriate health care resources. We need to make sure that there is a real plan to respond to the needs of indigenous communities.
When it comes to dealing with this health care crisis immediately, we are taking some bold steps and we need to make sure we are doing everything we can, but when we look beyond this health care crisis to the stimulus afterward, we need to make sure that the focus is on workers, not on CEOs or shareholders. We need to make sure that the stimulus that we put in place is going to encourage jobs for people and ensure that they have a livelihood.
We can stimulate the economy and do the things that can transform our country, fight against the climate crisis, build housing, invest in public transit, make it easier for Canadians to use renewable energies, and make our homes and buildings as energy efficient as possible. We can also invest in child care services that every family can afford and provide our children with the quality education they deserve.
We also know that our health care system is under a deep burden. We see the impacts of decades of governments that have been cutting health care funding. We need to make sure that our public institutions are protected. That is why we have been calling for investments in our health care system.
I will wrap up with this—
View Don Davies Profile
View Don Davies Profile
2020-02-27 14:48 [p.1689]
Mr. Speaker, Canada's nurses are warning that federal guidelines to protect front-line workers from COVID-19 do not go far enough and may be putting patients at risk. Safety protocols in Ontario, the U.S. and the European Union all call for the use of disposable respirators, while federal guidelines provide less secure barriers. Nurses say that federal standards presume the virus cannot spread through the air, but the science is unsettled.
Will the government listen to front-line professionals, revise its guidelines and ensure the best protection possible for health care workers and their patients?
View Brad Redekopp Profile
View Brad Redekopp Profile
2020-02-27 15:40 [p.1698]
Mr. Speaker, today I rise to speak on Bill C-7, an act to amend the Criminal Code regarding medical assistance in dying.
My office has received about 135 phone calls, emails or letters so far on this issue, and I recognize that this is a very touchy, personal and non-partisan issue.
I will begin with a quick bit of history. The MAID legislation came into law in June 2016. Recently, one judge in Quebec ruled that the wording in the legislation on “foreseeable death” was too restrictive. The Liberal government was very quick to accept this ruling. It chose not to appeal, and instead moved to rewrite the legislation taking into account the decision of the court.
This caused me to compare this ruling to the recent Alberta court ruling in which four judges found the carbon tax to be unconstitutional. It made me wonder if the government is going to be as quick to accept the Alberta court ruling as well and not appeal it, but that is a digression.
As I said, MAID is a very touchy, personal and non-partisan issue. One can always find examples of people for whom MAID legislation is a difficult but welcome option. Unfortunately, those simple examples are usually in the minority. Far more often, it is much more complicated than that. The stories I have heard reflect these complications, such as the case where families are caught by surprise with a death and then forced to deal with the aftermath of that.
There are cases where a person is at a particularly low point in their health but, under this proposed legislation, would be able to request and receive MAID with no waiting period. There are cases where physicians or hospital officials apply pressure on individuals to consider MAID. For example, Roger Foley, an Ontario man who is suffering from an incurable neurological disease, said that the medical staff repeatedly offered him MAID, despite his repeated requests to live at home.
There is also the B.C. case of Ms. S. Dr. Wiebe lamented the profound suffering of Ms. S. but felt that Ms. S. was not eligible for an assisted death. Then, unfortunately, Ms. S. decided to starve herself. Dr. Wiebe and another doctor then determined that, due to the severe malnutrition and dehydration of Ms. S., her natural death was reasonably foreseeable, so Dr. Wiebe euthanized her on March 2017.
According to a Globe and Mail article, this case is the first to be made public in which a medical regulator has ruled on the contentious question of whether doctors should grant assisted death to patients who only satisfy all the criteria of the federal law after they have stopped eating and drinking.
It is not difficult to imagine a situation where a hospital will, for reasons of efficiency, encourage its staff to suggest MAID to patients with chronically difficult and complex cases. It is not a simple problem. It is a very complex problem.
What bothers me about this is that the government is pre-empting the parliamentary review process that was specified in the legislation. We know that the current justice minister voted against the party on the original legislation because he felt that it did not go far enough. Now, as justice minister, he is able to make the changes that he desired. This is troubling, because he is choosing to pre-empt the legislated review process and get his desired changes into legislation without consultation.
The existing law mandates the review of the legislation every five years, and the review will happen in just a few months.
Why is the government is such a rush to make substantive changes to this legislation and pre-empt the legislated review process?
To me, it makes far more sense to deal with the specific issue raised by the Quebec judge only, then do a proper consultation with Canadians this summer and propose changes based on that. Instead, the government had an extensive online survey that lasted two weeks. While it received a lot of responses, I think it just proves that there is great interest, and Canadians have a lot to say about this issue. So far, the results of these responses have not been shared, and I ask for these responses to be shared. I call on the government to do the right thing and leave any changes beyond what the Quebec judge has asked for until the completion of the review process later this year.
Since we are talking about changes to this legislation, I want to talk about palliative care. There are calls for a pan-Canadian strategy on palliative care. I think it is convenient to point to the provinces and say that this is their problem, but there cannot be a full end-of-life strategy without funds and laws around palliative care.
The government broke a key election promise to invest $3 billion in long-term care, including palliative care. Access to palliative care is an essential part of end-of-life decision-making.
I have a personal example from Saskatoon, which has 12 palliative care beds for an area with over 300,000 people.
My mother-in-law had a terminal disease. In her case, MAID was neither requested nor desired. She was fortunate in that her death was relatively quick, and by some miracle she was able to get one of those 12 beds in Saskatoon.
It should not take a miracle to get good end-of-life care. It should not be that MAID is the only reasonable solution at the end of life because palliative care is not available. Therefore, I call on the government to put as much effort into palliative care as it has into MAID.
Another significant area of concern is conscience protection. Physicians and health professionals must be given strong conscience rights. They must be free to not participate and be free of penalty or harassment for making that choice. They must also be free to not be required to refer to another health professional. They must have full conscience protection.
Further, it must be recognized that the conscience objection of institutions must be protected. Institutions are not bricks and mortar. They are collections of people with values. Therefore, institutions must also be given the right of conscience protection. Several Supreme Court cases are instructive here.
The Supreme Court in 2015, in the Loyola case, stated:
Religious freedom under the Charter must therefore account for the socially embedded nature of religious belief, and the deep linkages between this belief and its manifestation through communal institutions and traditions.
In another 2015 decision, the Supreme Court stated:
A neutral public space free from coercion, pressure and judgment on the part of public authorities in matters of spirituality is intended to protect every person’s freedom and dignity, and it helps preserve and promote the multicultural nature of Canadian society.
We must respect the multicultural nature of Canadian society. We must respect both medical professionals and institutions, and allow them to have full conscience protections free from harassment and consequences.
There are some specific changes proposed that I am concerned about. The current legislation includes a 10-day waiting period between when MAID is requested and when it can be administered. The current legislation already allows for this waiting period to be waived. It states that if two medical practitioners:
...are both of the opinion that the person's death, or the loss of their capacity to provide informed consent, is imminent—any shorter period that the first medical practitioner or nurse practitioner considers appropriate [can be used] in the circumstances.
There already is a provision to deal with this issue. There is no need to make changes. The situation has been contemplated and addressed in the current legislation.
Another area of concern is the lack of safeguards for the mentally ill. Mental illness is a very complex situation. Patients diagnosed with an underlying mental health challenge are not required to undergo a psychiatric assessment by a psychiatric professional to determine whether they have the capacity to consent.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the issues of mental health. However, it is not difficult to imagine a scenario in which a person is in a particularly dark period and considers MAID. It may well be that with proper professional help that person can work through the darkness and emerge a bit better. This may not always be the case, but that is why having a general waiting period is so important. It eliminates the ability of medical professionals or others to make a quick decision that they regret.
A poll in January found that Saskatchewan and Manitoba had the lowest support in the country for MAID. In 2018, in Saskatchewan, only 67 of 172 applicants for MAID actually received medically assisted death. Some were declined, some withdrew and some died before the request could be completed.
In summary, I would make the following observations. Most importantly, in the words of a constituent I spoke with this week, “We need to slow this down, not speed it up.” Yes, we need to deal with the Quebec court decision, but that only requires one change. There is a legislated review that will happen this summer.
Let us wait for a proper consultation and use that lens to view any proposed changes. Let us have a pan-Canadian strategy for palliative care. Let us put full conscience protection in place for physicians and health care professionals. Let us put conscience protection in place for institutions. Let us leave the 10-day waiting period and the ability to create exceptions the way it is. Let us deal with the Quebec court decision and leave the rest until after the legislated review this summer. Let us slow this down.
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-27 17:23 [p.1714]
Madam Speaker, in studying the bill, and I certainly plan supporting it and considering amendments when it gets to committee, one of the things I am wondering about is this. When people make that consent, and it is an advance consent, and there are safeguards, do the personal practitioners who have accepted that consent have to be the ones who administer the procedure later? What if something happens to those individuals and they are not available or they themselves have died.
How would we handle the loss of those who are present at the advance consent at the moment when the medical assistance in dying procedure is determined to be appropriate?
View Brad Vis Profile
Madam Speaker, when this House opens most days, we take a moment to pray, reflect and ensure our words and our jobs of representing Canadians are done to our utmost ability. We are honoured to be in the people's House. My personal prayer today is that my words reflect the severity of Bill C-7, a very serious subject.
I have been closely following the Liberals' terrifying progress as they work to embed the practice of efficient death in our medical system. In January they held MAID legislative consultations online for a total of only two weeks; two weeks to hear from the public on legislation that is truly a matter of life or death.
There is a mandatory five-year review set for this June for our MAID law, but instead of working within that timeline, the Liberals have let one ruling from one Quebec judge dictate the legislative direction for the entirety of Canada. At minimum, this issue should have been referred to the Supreme Court of Canada.
I am fearful of the current justice minister who voted against MAID in the previous Parliament, not because he was against it, but because he felt it did not go far enough. That is the driving force behind some of these drastic changes.
As the Liberals have just tabled the bill this week, I have only had a short period of time to begin digesting it. I need to stress to the House today that these are my preliminary thoughts. In my opinion, this is a needlessly rushed process on a sensitive, significant issue that does touch every Canadian.
For the first four months of my term, I have heard from many concerned constituents, advocacy groups, differently abled individuals and organizations, and those in the medical profession.
What I need to emphasize at the outset of my time here tonight is the innate value of every human being, regardless of ability. I want to speak directly to those who are in physical pain, those in mental anguish and those who feel they are a burden. Everyone is loved, everyone is valuable and everyone is made in the image of God. There is a place in our society for patients in unbearable suffering with no possibility of recovery to be provided with end-of-life options. We owe this to Canadians. Autonomy and personal wishes do need to be respected.
There is a paradox, in that suffering is both hard and good. Everyone who suffers deserves our love, our care and access to appropriate palliative care. I will touch on palliative care in a moment, but presently I will address this bill, raise some of the concerns I have with it from my initial reading and voice the concerns of those it affects directly from whom I have heard, including our medical professionals and the vulnerable or disabled of our society.
Numerous organizations like Canadian Physicians for Life and Canadian Society for Palliative Care Physicians have raised numerous significant issues with Bill C-7. The organizations cite specific concerns with clauses of the bill and also relay an overarching general concern about how the proposed legislation erodes the trust that vulnerable people should be able to have in the medical profession.
We seek out medical aid when we are at the lowest, most vulnerable points in our lives. Vulnerable Canadians must be able to find protection within the medical community. In an ironic, tragic twist, the preamble of the bill recognizes the importance of protecting vulnerable persons from being encouraged to end their lives, but does nothing to support what should be foundational in our health care system.
The bill itself drops many of the already too few safeguards around MAID and places vulnerable people at an increased risk.
Point one is that the reasonably foreseeable natural death criteria has been removed, which would drastically reinvent MAID. It would no longer be an alternative to a painful death, but an alternative to a painful life.
Point two is that independent oversight has been reduced. Where two witness signatures were previously required on a patient's written request for MAID, the requirement would now be one. The bar would be lowered even further as that individual, that supposedly independent witness, can be the person paid to take care of someone, that is, medical staff.
Point three is that disturbingly, Bill C-7 also does away with the previous 10-day waiting period for those whose natural death is reasonably foreseeable.
Under Bill C-7, one could be diagnosed and killed all in one day, with no opportunity for reflection or discussion with friends or family members. That is what this bill would do.
Point four is that the bill would also legalize physician-assisted suicide by advance request through a waiver of final consent and drop the requirement for consent to be given twice before MAID is performed. The existing law requires consent at the time eligibility is granted and again before termination of life occurs. Under the new law, once consent would be given, there would be no need for medical staff to confirm it before administering a lethal injection.
Can someone consent in advance to being killed once they reach a state they fear but which they are not experiencing now and, in fact, have never experienced? Once a person has signed an advance request and has lost capacity to consent to medical treatment, at what point should euthanasia take place? At what point should a person be killed?
In a technical briefing yesterday, officials were pushed to explain how MAID would be administered and what safeguards would be in place for the day, the hour, the minute euthanasia would be carried out. Shockingly, the legislation would only require one medical practitioner to be present. Therefore, even if an individual attempted to withdraw consent, there would be no mechanism to ensure their wishes were respected. One medical professional should not be permitted to conduct euthanasia alone. This would not ensure accountability and, in my opinion, is completely unacceptable.
Additionally, there is no provision for individuals to be able to seek doctors who would not counsel MAID as a treatment option. In fact, there is no mechanism for physicians to opt out of providing MAID or any conscience protections for medical professionals who refuse to participate in MAID or do not wish to refer a patient.
We are seeing this in British Columbia, where the Delta Hospice Society has been denied funding for refusing to offer MAID services. With this in mind, how then are individuals able to trust that the doctor will really care for their well-being? The frightening thing is that pro-MAID health care providers are not waiting for people to raise the possibility of euthanasia. In fact, we are hearing first-hand accounts of individuals who have been encouraged to pursue this option unprompted.
What about section 241 of the Criminal Code, which counts it an offence to counsel a person to commit suicide? Those staring at the precipice of potential death should not have the entire medical establishment looming behind them to pursue a certain option.
This brings me back to palliative care and the dismal record on caring for Canadians at end of life. There is nothing in the bill and little tangible government action taken to approve access to palliative care. The Conservative dissenting opinion from the committee's review of previous MAID legislation states, ”A genuinely autonomous choice for a person to end their life is not possible if they are not offered palliative care as they will see their choice as only intolerable suffering or PAD [physician-assisted death].”
The Canadian Hospice and Palliative Care Association estimates that fewer than 30% of Canadians who need it have access to palliative services. The Conservative Party recognized this need in its 2019 platform and a Conservative government would implement the framework on palliative care in Canada.
As I referenced the Canadian Hospice and Palliative Care Association, I need to make one its points crystal clear, which is that MAID is not part of hospice palliative care. It is not an extension of palliative care, nor is it one of the tools in the palliative care basket. Health care articles, the general media and, sadly, politicians continue to conflate and thus misrepresent these two fundamentally different practices.
Hospice palliative care focuses on improving quality of life and symptom management through holistic, person-centred care for those living with life-threatening conditions.
In conclusion, at my first reading, I am disappointed to say that the Liberal government's proposed legislation to amend MAID sadly misses the mark on many levels. It had the opportunity to increase safeguards for the vulnerable, provide conscience right for medical practitioners, implement protections for those living with mental illness and address many more legislative inadequacies. I hope that in the spirit of this minority government the suggested amendments coming from all sides of the House will be welcomed graciously and thoughtfully.
To my constituents, I am opposed to these changes and will urgently seek their feedback. Many of them live with stories and experiences on both sides of this issue and I need to hear from all of them.
To reiterate, to those who are in physical pain, who are in mental anguish and who feel they are a burden, they are loved, they are valuable and they are made in the image of God.
View Don Davies Profile
View Don Davies Profile
2020-02-04 10:07 [p.865]
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-202, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (assault against a health care worker).
He said: Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to introduce an important bill to Parliament, again, with thanks to the hon. member for Hamilton Mountain, for seconding it.
The legislation would amend the Criminal Code to require a court to consider that if the victim of an assault were a health care worker, this fact would be an aggravating circumstance for the purposes of sentencing.
Violence against health care workers has become a pervasive and growing problem within the Canadian health care system. Over the last decade, violence-related lost-time claims for front-line health care workers has increased by 66%, three times the rate for police and correctional officers combined.
National data also shows that 61% of nurses have experienced a serious problem with some form of violence over a recent 12-month period.
The bill would send a strong message that those who provide such critical services must be treated with respect and security. They take care of our health and safety and we must take care of theirs.
I call on all parliamentarians to support this vital and overdue legislation.
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