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Results: 1 - 9 of 9
View Patrick Brown Profile
View Patrick Brown Profile
2015-05-13 15:06 [p.13841]
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of personal privilege today. With my recent election win as Leader of the Ontario PC Party, I stand today to announce that I will be tendering my resignation as the member of Parliament for Barrie. It is an emotional but exciting day for me because over the last nine years it has been a privilege to serve the city of Barrie. It has been one of the greatest honours in my life.
I thought I would highlight today a few of the success stories that our city of Barrie has seen under this government during that time.
On an infrastructure level, I am very proud to have seen the health and wellness centre built at Georgian College. I was honoured to see the Allandale Waterfront and Barrie South GO train stations introduced to the city of Barrie; the Dunlop Street fire station; the Lampman Lane Community Centre; the Eastview Arena refurbishments; and the downtown theatre, bring culture to the downtown of Barrie.
This government has brought unprecedented funding to Lake Simcoe. When I first became a member of Parliament, I think phosphorous levels were one of the greatest challenges on Lake Simcoe. I see the member for York—Simcoe cheering that. I know he was one of the biggest champions of the Lake Simcoe cleanup, and the member for Simcoe North as well. We take great pride in knowing that the lake today is healthier than it has ever been thanks to the $60 million Government of Canada investment to clean up Lake Simcoe.
Another of the fine examples of investments in Simcoe County that I take a great degree of pride in is the Canada First Defence Strategy. Very near to the city of Barrie is CF base Borden, in the riding of Simcoe—Grey. My good friend there I know is very proud of the fact that since 2006 we have seen over $210 million invested into CFB Borden. Simcoe County takes great pride in base Borden and what it has meant to our region. It is great to see a government that has invested so significantly in that base.
Barrie is also home to a very active charitable sector. One of my greatest pleasures as an MP has been trying to channel that goodwill to causes about which I care dearly.
I think of the Royal Victoria Hospital. Nine years ago I made it my project to raise funds for the hospital through an annual hockey game. I think of my grandmother, who volunteered there for 50 years. She was known as a “blue coat”. Any volunteer at RVH is known as a blue coat. However, with the assistance of the community and through a hockey night in Barrie, we were able to raise $1.4 million for the cancer centre and for mental health.
It has not just been a charitable hockey game; in the last four years we have grown that to include the annual Barrie Waterfront Half Marathon. I know a number of my colleagues have participated in that half marathon, whether they wanted to or not. I managed to rope a few of them into doing it. However, we have actually managed to raise $170,000 through the half marathon for causes as important as the David Busby Street Centre, Gilda's Club Simcoe Muskoka, Autism Ontario, Talk is Free Theatre and JDRF. This year the race is continuing in support of the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka, CNIB and the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County.
Another area that I wanted to highlight outside of my riding is with respect to my favourite projects in Ottawa, one being my work with India.
I have had the honour to serve as the Canada-India Parliamentary Association chairman for nine years. During that period, I have worked with a number of my colleagues on a relationship with India. I have had the fascinating privilege of going there 15 times. In that work, we have been able to expand trade with India, educational linkages, energy agreements and even an opportunity to develop a personal friendship with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
One story that I laugh about now is when the member for Calgary Northeast joined me on the Canada-India executive. I asked him to come to India for a weekend to open the centre in Gandhinagar, which was to be Narendra Modi's prize project as chief minister. Members are not supposed to leave for a weekend to go to India, so we had to leave on a Thursday. Therefore, I told the member for Calgary Northeast that it would just be an extended bathroom break. We got into a bit of trouble with the whip, but I know, today, that the Prime Minister of India fondly remembers the trip we made there, for practically a day.
Another one of my favourite projects in Ottawa has been working with the Tamil-Canadian community. As a constituency MP, we learn about issues about which we may not know a lot.
I remember in 2009, an individual by the name of Ranjit Shreskumar came to my office, sat on my couch and cried about what was happening in Sri Lanka. The one thing I take great honour in seeing is how our government has responded over the years to the genocide that took place in Sri Lanka. It has been the world's largest critic on what has happened in Sri Lanka and the human rights abuses that took place. This is an example of how a community like the Tamil community engaged with MPs, raised the issues and many of us who did not know a lot then became its advocate and its voice in the House of Commons. This has been a real honour.
During my leadership convention, I was honoured that the Indo-Canadian community and the Tamil community stood firmly by my side. Those friendships and support I will never forget.
The last item I want to mention is the issue of neurological research. One of the things I enjoyed most in Ottawa was back in 2008 when we set up a neurological disorders subcommittee. It was an all-party committee on which I served. We had hearings on neurological disorders for three years.
We were all on that committee for difference reasons. I was there because I saw what happened to my grandmother who had Alzheimer's. Other MPs from different parties were there for similar personal reasons, but I saw it as an opportunity to work together on an issue that had brought us all together. The report was finally published, and in budget 2011, an additional $100 million was allocated to the brain Canada trust. It is in moments like that we see why government is so important and why public service is so important.
I want to thank a few people today in my final speech in the House of Commons. I want to thank my family for their love and support. My late grandparents, “Honest” Joe and Edna Tascona, moved to Barrie in the 1940s, and I am very glad they did. My father Edmund Brown, my mother Judy, my sisters Stephanie and Fiona, my brother-in-law Chuck and my nephews Colton and Harrison are a never-ending inspiration.
I also want to say thanks to my past EDA presidents. I know every MP appreciates having a strong EDA, and I benefited from some great presidents: Alison Eadie, Trudie Waldinger, Larry Pomfret, Bruce Macgregor and Gary Perkins.
I also want to thank my staff. We all know we cannot do our jobs without our staff members. Their knowledge, dedication and professionalism has enabled me to serve the people of Barrie. I want to thank Heather McCarthy, Shawn Bubel, Samantha Flynn, Pat McFarlane and Cindy Bugeja.
Serving Barrie has been the greatest honour of my life. Barrie will always be my home. The people of Barrie are an incredible part of who I am and it is with excitement that I start this new journey.
One thing I forgot to mention is that I am indebted to our Prime Minister. It has been an honour to serve in his caucus and in his government. I have had the honour to serve as the GTA caucus chairman. As I leave the House, I am as proud of the Prime Minister's work on behalf of Canada as I was on day one. We have a Prime Minister who has made Canada the envy of the world. I truly believe he will go down in history as one of our greatest prime ministers.
I am compelled to public service in Ontario because I believe I can make a great contribution there. I believe Ontario can be the economic engine of Canada once again. I believe we can and must do better as a province. It is for that reason that I make the difficult choice to say goodbye to friends in the House and to say that I will be in public service at a different level. It has been an honour to sit among the quality of the individuals in this chamber on both sides.
View Patrick Brown Profile
View Patrick Brown Profile
2012-10-22 14:08 [p.11282]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the ongoing efforts of three Rotary Clubs in Barrie for their excellent fundraising work.
The Rotary Club of Barrie-Huronia hosted its second annual fall fishing festival during the third week in September. Don Jerry and his fellow Rotarians raised almost $20,000 to support local environmental projects, as well as their Christmas hamper program.
The Kempenfelt Rotary Club held its third annual great Canadian beaver race festival on the last weekend of September. Krista LaRiviere and her Rotary team raised $55,000 for local charities.
The Rotary Club of Barrie's annual Oktoberfest festival was once again a smashing success. The team of co-organizers Adam Attarock Smith and Bruce Shipley raised over $50,000 for local causes, including our hospital's cancer care centre.
I am incredibly happy to report that the spirit of giving is alive and well in the city of Barrie.
View Patrick Brown Profile
View Patrick Brown Profile
2010-04-27 14:03 [p.2027]
Madam Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to firefighters across Canada. Firefighters are not only on the front lines of emergency services in our community, but they give us peace of mind. They ensure public safety in some of the most challenging environments and have been incredible supporters of charitable causes.
Barrie firefighters have raised $1 million in their annual boot drive and over $790,000 over the years have gone to benefit charitable organizations, such as Muscular Dystrophy Canada. Barrie has raised the most funds out of all its peers in Canada for firefighters.
The Barrie Firefighter Union executive is comprised of Len Mitchell, Kevin White, Cory Mainprize, Brad Conrad and Rob Taylor. I also want to thank Fire Chief Lynn for encouraging this public service and charitable work among his firefighting team. They also run a scholarship fund in the name of Bill Wilkins who perished in the line of duty, sadly, on May 27, 2002. This scholarship is for worthy students from the pre-fire service program at Georgian College.
Firefighters around Canada and Barrier firefighters continue to be pillars of our community, excellent local citizens and an example of generosity.
View Patrick Brown Profile
View Patrick Brown Profile
2008-03-11 22:34 [p.4027]
Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege for me to stand in the House to explain the reasons for Canada's engagement in Afghanistan. It is certainly an honour to participate when we have had so many eloquent speakers, including the Minister of National Defence, the chief government whip, and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence. They have eloquently spoken about Canada's role in Afghanistan.
The question we are debating today is not an easy one. I am sure all members of the House, regardless of their views on the mission, are fully conscious of the stakes.
It is about the hopes and aspirations of millions of Afghans who yearn for a better future for themselves and their families.
It is about Canada's standing as a responsible member of the international community.
It is about one of the heaviest decisions any democratic government can be asked to consider: to send its men and women in harm's way to defend global security and promote Canadian values.
If someone were to ask me, there is no issue that is more critical than the one we are contemplating today. As parliamentarians, we have the duty to ensure every option is carefully weighed and given due consideration. That is why I welcome this opportunity and look forward to our discussions in the days ahead.
Let me begin with what we can all agree on. The international community should not let Afghanistan fall back into the chaos and despair of the Taliban rule.
I need not remind members of the House of the horror of the Taliban regime that held the reins of power in Afghanistan until 2001. It placed Afghans under a brutal regime of fear and intimidation, persecuted women and girls, destroyed schools, historical landmarks and basic infrastructure, and gave safe harbour to the terrorists who attacked our southern neighbours in September of 2001.
I think we can all agree that no one who believes in justice and human decency would condone the return of the Taliban.
There is little doubt that the important work of our soldiers, diplomats, development officials and government advisers is making a difference. Their efforts are creating the conditions that serve as a bulwark to preventing the return of the Taliban.
Canadian Forces members are providing a secure environment for reconstruction and development to take place.
Diplomats and development officials are working with local communities and organizations to find ways to improve governance, infrastructure and government services.
Police trainers and corrections advisers are on the ground helping the Afghan government develop the capacity to govern more effectively and ensure the respect of the rule of law.
Their efforts are interconnected. Canada's approach recognizes that security, development and governance are mutually reinforcing. There cannot be one without the others.
As we all know, the going has not always been easy. Considerable challenges remain in Kandahar and across Afghanistan. However, I would urge all members to carefully consider the situation that prevailed in Afghanistan prior to the fall of the Taliban.
Afghanistan had been suffering from decades of conflict. Not only was there virtually no central government to speak of but most of the country's vital infrastructure had been destroyed. Roads, wells and irrigation canals were in rubble. Basic services such as health care and education were non-existent for the vast majority of Afghans. Even today, Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world.
What must be borne in mind here is that the Afghans, figuratively speaking, are rebuilding their country from scratch. The mission is a difficult one, but it is in Afghanistan that the need is greatest.
Canadians are generous. We believe our nation has a role to play to alleviate suffering, improve living standards, and protect those who are vulnerable around the world. It has always been a Canadian motto that we are only as strong as our weakest link. Canada has demonstrated its sincere commitment to these values time and time again.
I think of my late great uncle, Frank Tascona, who was the president of the Barrie Legion on St. Vincent and Cundles. He spoke to me about the valour and the courage that Canadians showed throughout history in standing up for what is right.
I know that a strong majority of Canadians are supportive of our development and reconstruction efforts. Yet, many harbour some misgivings about the more assertive military role our troops have been asked to play in Afghanistan. That is understandable.
If there is a common thread in the Canadian tradition, it is the premium our nation has placed on finding common ground, our willingness to exhaust all options before resorting to force.
Indeed, our reluctance to take up arms is a virtue. Yet, when the cause is just and the sacrifice necessary, Canada has always answered the call.
As the Manley report recently observed, humanitarian disasters in places like Bosnia and Rwanda have led United Nations-mandated peace missions to increasingly rely on the robust use of force to protect those who are vulnerable.
The drafters of the United Nations charter, having just emerged from the most devastating war of the 20th century, had envisioned such situations. That is why they included a reference in chapter 7 of the charter which states:
The Security Council may take such action by air, sea or land forces as may be necessary to maintain, to restore international peace and security.
The ISAF mission in Afghanistan is entirely in line with the spirit of the UN charter. The fact of the matter is the NATO-led international security assistance force mission is mandated by the United Nations. Last November the UN Security Council renewed once again the ISAF mandate.
Our government does not believe that Canada should say to the people of Afghanistan, “We are willing to help you, but only if your plight fits the peacekeeping mould. If the going gets tough, I am afraid there is not much that we can do for you”. That is not the Canadian way.
Afghans have suffered through decades of conflict and poverty. With our help they are getting back on their feet. To turn our backs at this point would jeopardize much of what has been achieved up to now and would reflect poorly on Canada's willingness to see its commitment through.
There is a strong agreement in the international community that the Afghan mission is important, that it cannot be allowed to fail. We are part of this mission with 39 other nations. Many others such as Japan and India are providing much needed development assistance.
Certainly, it is in the finest traditions of multilateralism as echoed in history through Canada with Lester Pearson as he spoke loudly on the international stage about the importance of multilateralism. This is a perfect case of that.
Canada is playing a leading role in this critical international endeavour. The burden we have carried in Kandahar is a heavy one, but Afghans and the international community are thankful for Canada's commitment and determination.
Our government does not believe Canada should abandon the people of Afghanistan after February 2009. To that end we issued a revised motion on the future of Afghanistan mission on February 21.
The motion reflects the wise counsel of the Manley panel. It embraces an even wider expanse of the common ground than before. It commits our government to notify NATO that Canada will end its presence in Kandahar as of July 2011, completing redeployment from the south by December of that year.
More importantly, it acknowledges what is required for Canada's mission to succeed in Afghanistan. It states two important conditions for the mission to be extended. First, that NATO secure a battle group of approximately 1,000 to rotate into Kandahar no later than February 2009. Second, that the government secure medium helicopter lift capacity and high performance unmanned aerial vehicles.
We believe this is a reasonable compromise that addresses the important questions Canadians have about future of the mission and it will give our brave men and women the means to succeed.
As the Prime Minister stated, it is a clear and principled position. We urge all members of the House to carefully consider their vote on this issue.
It has profound implications for Canada's international reputation, for the Canadian men and women who are bravely putting their lives on the line in Afghanistan and for the millions of Afghans who are looking to us for support as they strive to rebuild their country.
I believe the choice is clear and the government has taken the correct position.
I look at my own riding in Barrie, Ontario, and it has been amazing to see some of the support that the community has shown for the mission and for our troops. I think of the red Friday rally at Fred Grant Square where it was packed and we could not even move because there was that much support for our troops and for the mission in Afghanistan.
I think of the support our troops T-shirts that were sold at the Barrie Legion by Royden Johnson, and at the Army Navy Club by Dick Howie and Neil McKinnon. The work they did in supporting our troops was remarkable.
What was even more remarkable is that those shirts sold out within days because Canadians were excited and enthused to stand up for what is right. What is right is the Canadian mission in Afghanistan. It is playing that multilateral role. It is continuing the role that Canada has always shown throughout history.
It has been a pleasure to stand in the House today to support the Canadian position in Afghanistan.
View Patrick Brown Profile
View Patrick Brown Profile
2007-11-13 18:25 [p.842]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to debate Bill C-376, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (impaired driving) and to make consequential amendments to other Acts. I would like to praise my colleague, the member for Kelowna—Lake Country, for creating a dialogue on this very important subject and for putting this private member's bill forward.
As a volunteer and a past board member of Barrie's local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, I am pleased to address this piece of legislation that will create a new .05% blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, offence. It is in addition to the current .08% BAC which already exists in the Criminal Code.
The new .05% will be an exclusively summary conviction offence with relatively moderate fines and driving prohibitions. It will give peace officers the right to issue a ticket to the accused who can choose to plead guilty without having to appear in court. It will make changes to the Criminal Records Act so that if a person convicted of the new over .05% offence has no additional drinking and driving related convictions for two years, the record of the conviction will be destroyed. Certainly these are reasonable proposals.
Introducing .05% into the Criminal Code would save lives. What many people do not know is that impaired driving remains the number one cause of criminal death in Canada, more than all other causes of homicide combined. In part this is because the current .08% BAC is not an accurate reflection of the true risks associated with drinking and driving.
Who is most at risk? Youth are particularly at risk. The risk of a fatal crash for males between the ages of 16 and 20 is five times more likely at BAC levels of .02% to .049%. At the current .08% to .99% the risk increases to 52%.
When parliamentarians set the .08% BAC level in 1970, they did so based on findings that we now know considerably underestimated the risks of fatal crashes associated with impaired driving. What we know today is driving related skills are significantly impaired at levels well below .08%.
Not only does the research show that a majority of the driving population is impaired in some important measures at BACs as low as .02%, it also has established that occasional drinkers have a higher risk of fatal crash than regular drinkers at the same BAC level.
The British Medical Association has maintained for decades that a .05% BAC is the highest level that can be accepted as entirely consistent with the safety of other road users.
Virtually all leading medical, accident prevention and traffic safety organizations around the world, including the Canadian Medical Association and the World Health Organization, support a BAC driving limit at or below .05%. As a result, many countries, including Germany, France, Australia and Sweden, have set their BAC limit at .05% or lower .
The fact is no amount of drinking and driving is completely safe. And although logically the only solution is to never drink and drive, as legislators we must balance such laws against issues of practicality, of the burden it places on the resources of all levels of government and our police, and the right of the individual to determine his or her own choice to act responsibly.
The .05% BAC will save lives. That is the reason so many public health groups, leading medical organizations across Canada and many victims groups are strong supporters of such a measure.
Studies on the potential impact of introducing a .05% Criminal Code offence in Canada conclude that it will have significant traffic safety benefits. Most important, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in a 1998 study estimated that a .05% BAC would reduce total traffic fatalities by 6% to 18%, a staggering statistic, thereby saving approximately 188 to 551 lives per year in Canada based on the 1998 statistics.
Will .05% adversely affect social drinking? No. An average 200 pound man could drink more than four bottles of beer in two hours on an empty stomach without reaching the real-world threshold for charges under the .05% law. An average 120 pound woman could drink two five ounce glasses of wine in two hours. The assertion that the individuals causing accidents are the ones that exceed the current .08% is not accurate either.
As a deterrent effect, lowering the BAC limit reduces impaired driving at all levels.
In countries such as Germany and Sweden where levels have been legislated at .05% and .02% respectively, the sharpest declines were seen among those drinkers and drivers at the highest BAC levels.
In fact, countries that have instituted a .05% or lower BAC level have seen significant reductions in the number of deaths due to impaired driving and have witnessed a deterrent effect on all those who drink and drive. Therefore, .05% is neither a prohibitionist measure nor is it ineffective in reaching the so-called heavy drinkers.
The current .08% BAC limit is simply not having a sufficient deterrent impact. Millions of Canadians continue to drive while impaired with predictably tragic results.
The current Criminal Code blood alcohol concentration limit of .08% allows individuals to drive after consuming a large quantity of alcohol. Given the margin of error accepted by our courts, most police will not lay criminal charges unless a driver's evidentiary BAC readings are .10% or higher.
When Canadians are informed of these facts and understand the amount of alcohol the current law allows drivers to consume, surveys show that support for a lower BAC limit increases. I believe there is a willingness on the part of Canadians to follow the lead of other countries and set a .05% limit.
The proposed .05% BAC offence is designed to deter impaired driving without being unduly punitive or creating unacceptable burdens on the police and the courts. The option of pleading guilty without having to go to court and the fact that a person can have a charge erased with two years of clean driving may discourage accused drivers from needlessly challenging the charges and consuming court time.
Bill C-376 will add significant weight to the provincial sanctions at .05%.
In all jurisdictions, with the exception of Quebec, there is provincial and territorial short term roadside licence suspension legislation. This legislation does not create any offence or carry any fine or other penalty. In most cases the roadside suspensions are not officially recorded and have no long term licensing consequences. For most drivers the suspension will merely result in having to park the vehicle or allow a sober licensed passenger to drive.
Those who violate the proposed Criminal Code offence would be guilty of a federal summary conviction offence and subject to a mandatory fine and federal driving prohibition. The proposed Criminal Code .05% offence would apply uniformly throughout Canada. The federal sanctions have the potential to have a far greater deterrent impact than the existing patchwork of provincial and territorial short term roadside suspensions.
Those who violate the proposed Criminal Code offence would be guilty of a federal summary conviction offence and subject to a mandatory fine and federal driving suspension, and it would apply uniformly throughout Canada.
The federal sanctions, I believe, would have the potential to have a far greater deterrent impact than any of the existing provincial and territorial ones.
I would like to recognize the board of directors of the MADD Barrie Simcoe chapter for their efforts in raising the education on this issue about the tragic consequences of driving impaired and their work to reduce the number of crashes from this most preventable violent crime. The board includes: president Jason Larkin; past president Kim Butler, who worked hard for years on this; treasurer Norma Scott; secretary Diane Camelino; director of victim services Brenda Wright; youth director Crystal Wiltshire; fundraising director Sari Garner; director at large Gerry Groves; and director at large Staff Sergeant Steve Wilson of South Simcoe Police Service. These volunteers work every month on educating the public on the consequences of impaired driving.
By supporting Bill C-376 we can have a significantly positive impact by reducing drinking and driving related deaths and injury in Canada.
On a closing note, I would like to read a quote given to me by my colleague from Kelowna—Lake Country from a businessman in his riding. Wayne Clements, president and CEO of Tree Brewing/Fireweed Brewing Corporation said:
I certainly agree that drinking and driving don't mix...
I want all Canadians and visitors to Canada to enjoy the great beer and other beverages Canadian companies make. It is up to the individual to police themselves as to how much they choose to drink.
However when it comes to getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after they have drank and having impaired their ability to operate the vehicle and put themselves and others at risk we definitely need to give our police forces and judges more clout to send the message that drinking [and] driving never mixes, regardless of the amount.
That is a very appropriate quote from the president of Tree Brewing/Fireweed Brewing Corporation in the riding of my colleague. It speaks to the fact that all sides of this debate recognize that something needs to be done.
View Patrick Brown Profile
View Patrick Brown Profile
2007-06-12 15:25 [p.10493]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-52, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2007.
Bill C-52 is an economic plan that will reduce taxes for hard-working families, pay down debt and invest in Canadians' key priorities, like improving health care, protecting our environment and making our communities safer.
In my riding of Barrie, parents are faced with the daily financial challenges of raising a family. Bill C-52 offers parents a choice in child care by making it more affordable for families to raise their children. Bill C-52 includes a working families' tax plan. This plan has three components.
First, for families with children it includes a brand new $2,000 per child tax credit for children under 18 that will help families get ahead. A constituent of mine, Jennifer Woods from Lions Gate Boulevard, called me after hearing the news and told me how much this means to single mothers like her with three young kids.
Second, this piece of legislation would end the marriage penalty through an increase of the spousal and dependant amounts to the same level as the basic personal amount.
Third, it would help parents save for their children's education by strengthening the RESP program.
The bill would also help Canadian seniors by raising the age limit for RRSPs to 71 from 69 years, increasing the age credit by $1,000 and permitting pension income splitting.
Since being in power, the Government of Canada has introduced nearly $38 billion in individual tax relief over this and the next two fiscal years.
Our government has proposed to lower our national mortgage by $9.2 billion, on top of the $13.2 billion we have put against the debt since being elected. That is the equivalent to $700 in debt relief for every Canadian. Lower debt will mean lower interest payments, which will mean lower taxes. Through the tax back guarantee, every dollar saved from lower interest payments would be returned to Canadians through personal income tax reductions.
Bill C-52 also provides a total of $2.6 billion in new health care investments, as well as an increase in health transfers. This means our government will transfer $44 billion in health care funding to the provinces and territories over the next two years.
The Canada health transfer would provide $21.3 billion in 2007-08, or $1.2 billion more than in 2006-07, to support provincial and territorial health delivery. This would continue to grow by 6% annually to reach $30.3 billion in 2013-14.
This new health care spending is positive news for my riding of Barrie. According to Statistics Canada, Barrie is one of the fastest growing census metropolitan areas in Canada and for many years now we have been faced with the challenge of critical physician shortages and an overload of pressure on our local hospital, the Royal Victoria Hospital. The fund increase in health care by this budget would help hospitals like RVH by providing the provinces with more discretion to fund their needs.
Just recently it was announced that Barrie and Simcoe-Muskoka cancer patients will soon have access to Canada's first portable radiation unit at our local hospital. This new cancer treatment technology will begin to provide life-saving radiation therapy to hundreds of patients by this coming fall.
I want to specifically thank the Minister of Health and Dr. Rob Ballagh for first examining this concept last November. The announcement of this mobile cancer unit is an example of what increases in health care transfers to the provinces can achieve.
In addition to these transfers, Bill C-52 would provide $612 million to a patient wait times guarantee trust. For Ontario, this would translate into $205.4 million to the Ontario government for patient wait time reductions over the next three fiscal years.
Additionally, Bill C-52 would offer $30 million over three years for patient wait times guarantee pilot projects to assist the provinces and territories in implementing their patient wait time guarantees. Many Barrie residents will be positively impacted by this government initiative.
Since the introduction of the federal-provincial wait times strategy, the Royal Victoria Hospital has been a success story. Hospital procedures have been reduced by 19.6% for cataract surgeries, 17.9% for hip replacements, 11.8% for knee replacements, 25% for angioplasty, 23% for MRI exams and 13.6% for CT scans. Over $3 million has been directed to help RVH patients, and this has had a dramatic impact on our community.
We have seen an increase of more than 600 cancer, cataract and joint replacement surgeries performed at RVH, and more MRI hours of operation. The hospital has been able to increase MRI hours to 24 hour coverage on weekdays and extended hours on weekends. This means an additional 1,880 MRI hours for our hospital. I send kudos to the RVH management team of Scott Elliot, David Blenkarn, Janice Skot and Garth Matheson for using government resources so effectively to improve the health care in Barrie.
Another important priority that Bill C-52 addresses is the preservation of our environment. This includes $1.5 billion in the Canada ecotrust for clean air and climate change, the doubling of the number of environmental enforcement officers and the creation of a new national water strategy.
I am pleased that our new national water strategy commits $12 million over the next two years to support the cleanup of Lake Simcoe. This is one of the largest investments of its kind by the federal government in Canadian history to Lake Simcoe. These funds are a significant step toward preserving and protecting Barrie's beautiful waterfront, which is the heart of the city and brings the community together. Furthermore, these much needed funds will directly help residents in the community by creating clean and safe water.
Bill C-52 also takes action to make our communities safer. Many serious crimes that we read about today include gang activity linked back to the drug trade. Bill C-52 will launch a new national anti-drug strategy to combat the use of illegal drugs.
This legislation will also provide funding to protect children from online sexual exploitation and assist investigators in suspected cases of human trafficking. We have a great chief of police in Barrie by the name of Wayne Frechette. This is the type of action that the federal government should be doing to help and support our local police forces.
Budget 2007 is an excellent one for Ontarians. In fact, several leading provincial Liberals have sung its praises. Premier Dalton McGuinty said that it meant real progress for Ontarians. The Minister of Finance said that it contains some really positive elements for Ontario. The Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs said that it offers concrete results to Ontarians.
If Dalton McGuinty's provincial Liberals think that this budget is excellent for Ontario, that means it is a good budget for Barrie, for Ontario and for all of Canada. Perhaps the federal Liberals should follow their provincial counterparts' example.
Bill C-52 will help create a Canada that will make us proud to pass on to our children and grandchildren, a Canada with a standard of living and quality of life that are second to none. The Minister of Finance has delivered another balanced budget that builds a stronger, safer, better Canada by cutting taxes for working families, paying down the nation's debt and investing in the priorities of Canadians.
It is a good budget for my riding in Barrie, a good budget for Ontario and a great budget for Canada.
View Patrick Brown Profile
View Patrick Brown Profile
2007-04-24 18:50 [p.8655]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to announce my support to designate the second week of June as national blood donor week.
It is easy to say Canadians are lucky to have access to some of the safest blood in the world. Instead, I would like to acknowledge that it is not luck, but the kindness and generosity of a network of dedicated blood donors and volunteers who help to make this possible. A blood system is nothing without these generous individuals. It is the people whom we rely on when times are really tough. As such, it is important to celebrate and honour all blood donors and other volunteers who make the system work by creating national blood donor week.
The second week in June is significant not just because it marks the launch of summertime in Canada when blood donations traditionally decline, but because it also marks the World Health Organization's World Blood Donor Day on June 14th. Canada can join other nations and millions of people and organizations around the world to celebrate blood donors, raise awareness of the need for a safe supply of blood, and increase voluntary blood donation around the world by declaring the second week of June national blood donor week.
One significant reason Canada's blood supply is safe, and all the more reason to celebrate by creating national blood donor week, is that it is 100% donor supplied. According to the World Health Organization, less than 50% of blood collected in developing countries comes from voluntary donation. Instead, the majority comes from paid donors or obligatory blood replacement from the family members of transfusion patients.
The Pan American Health Organization recognizes that voluntarily donated blood is significantly safer than blood donated for payment or replacement. According to this organization, blood for payment or replacement is 40 times more likely to be infected with hepatitis C and 175 times more likely to be infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The celebration of Canada's blood donors, coordinated with World Blood Donor Day, sets a positive example worldwide.
Many countries in the Americas where just 30% of their blood is voluntarily donated look in awe to Canada, wondering how we can do it. The simple answer is the kindness and generosity of our volunteers. This is all the more reason why I support the designation of the second week in June as national blood donor week.
Acknowledging and thanking Canada's blood donors via a national blood donor week would serve as an example of best practices to nations around the world that want and need their own safe blood systems. It would also keep our system going.
The Government of Canada serves its citizens, including those close to each of us whom we love and cherish dearly, by encouraging existing donors to keep rolling up their sleeves and prospective donors to start. Declaring national blood donor week says to the people of Canada that this is important. This one small act of donating blood, this snippet of time, makes a huge difference in each of our lives.
As good as our system is, a national blood donor week would help it get even better. Although one unit of blood can potentially save three patients, the average patient needs 4.6 units for treatment. Existing rates of blood donation at less than 4% falls short of what Canadian patients need. At least 5% of Canadians need to donate in order to satisfy existing demand.
Furthermore, in all likelihood our aging population and national commitment to improved access to surgeries will mean an increased need for blood. An increased need for blood means an increased need for blood donors. The creation of a national blood donor week would help achieve that goal by telling Canadians that donating blood is a safe thing to do and the right thing to do.
I ask that all my colleagues show their appreciation for Canada's blood donors by voting in favour of Bill S-214.
I note that I received two emails from my own riding: one from a young girl, Lynne Waddington, who had created a facebook and she had hundreds of her friends pledge to give blood, and also one from our MPP Joe Tascona, who is actually organizing a blood donor clinic himself. These are typical of the volunteers we are seeing across Canada.
I urge my colleagues to support this bill and celebrate the many great volunteers we have across this country.
View Patrick Brown Profile
View Patrick Brown Profile
2006-11-28 15:37 [p.5465]
Mr. Speaker, I am sharing my time with the member for Louis-Hébert.
I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak about wait times in Canada, which continue to be of concern to Canadian citizens and providers and are a key priority for the government.
I take health care very seriously. I am actively involved in my local hospital, the Royal Victoria Hospital. I sit on the physician recruitment committee. Our entire community is actively working toward our hospital expansion in 2008.
To give a bit of context about why health care is so important for my community, Barrie, Ontario is currently short 27 doctors. We have 30,000 individuals without a family physician. Our city council put forward $52.5 million toward our expansion in 2005. My community is doing everything it can to make health care the best it can be.
That is why I am so pleased that we are finally getting leadership in Ottawa on this very important file. We have a Minister of Health who actually understands the pressures of the health care system.
Just two weeks ago our Minister of Health visited the emergency department at RVH and talked directly to nurses, doctors and patients. The head of our nurses union, Tracey Taylor, remarked that it was great to see a health minister actually talk to the real providers of health care, the regular patients, the regular nurses who work hard every day.
Let us examine at the forefront how we got to this point. Why have wait times become such an issue for Canadians? It did not happen overnight and it is important to assess the root causes. During the Liberals' tenure in power, wait times to see a specialist rose from 9.3 weeks to 17.7 weeks. Between 1994 and 1999, the Liberal Party of Canada cut health care by $25 billion. The Canadian health care system could not sustain the assault imposed by the Liberal Party. Faith in Ottawa to support health care dwindled to an all time low.
Canadians need to have confidence that the public health care system will be there for them when they need it. Canadians expect a health care system that is responsive, fair, transparent and accountable. That is why over the past several months our Minister of Health has had discussions with the health ministers from every province and territory to obtain their views on the opportunities and challenges they see in reducing patient wait times.
Already some provinces have tackled complex issues and are achieving improved results. They are making progress on reducing wait times and moving toward being ready for patient wait times guarantees, which we see as the natural next step.
At the forefront of this progress is Quebec, which has proposed its own guarantees with recourse mechanisms for selected services, the first province to do so. Quebec is proposing a guarantee of access for three procedures: hip and knee replacements and cataract surgery. The province will offer recourse to patients in a stepped fashion with different access to service mechanisms kicking in at different times.
Manitoba and Quebec have also indicated they are providing a form of guarantee for some cardiac services and cancer treatment, which are improving access. For example, Quebec's service corridor model allows cancer patients waiting for more than eight weeks the option to be transferred between radiation oncology centres. Meanwhile, Manitoba's wait times for cancer radiation therapy are down to under one week from over six weeks in 1999.
Improvements in wait time reductions and management are evident elsewhere in the country too. In Atlantic Canada, provinces are collaborating on health infrastructure Atlantic. This involves capturing medical imagery through broadband networks, giving doctors quick access to test results which lowers costs and improves services.
In my province of Ontario we are also experiencing significant progress. Since launching the Ontario wait times strategy in November 2004, wait times for procedures have been reduced by 19.6% for cataract surgeries, 17.9% for hip replacements, 11.8% for knee replacements, 25% for angioplasty, 23% for MRI exams, and 13.6% for CT scans.
What does this mean for my local hospital? I am there regularly and I asked what this means for the Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie. What does the new government's commitment mean on a local level? In 2006-07 it means $3.14 million has been directed, and this funding has had a dramatic impact for patients at my local hospital. It would allow the RVH to perform 606 additional cancer, cataract and joint replacement surgeries this year compared to 472 last year.
It means an additional 1,880 MRI hours. The hospital has been able to increase MRI operation to 24 hour coverage on weekdays and extended hours on weekends. As a result, RVH went from having the dubious distinction of the longest wait times in the province for MRI scans a year ago at an astounding 54 weeks, to 7 weeks today, a very impressive improvement.
Look at Alberta's success too. Alberta's hip and knee replacement pilot project has demonstrated a success in reducing wait times from 47 weeks to 4.7 weeks by streamlining the patient journey, increasing capacity and reorganizing resources.
In British Columbia the median wait time for cataract surgery fell from 9.7 weeks in 2005 to 7.4 weeks. B.C. has also reported significant wait time reductions between 2005 and 2006 for joint replacements. It attributes this decline as evidence that its innovative wait time strategy announced in February 2006 is helping reduce backlogs while building long term capacity in the health care system.
These examples, and there are many more, clearly show that when we work with focus and determination, when we have a common goal, and most important, when governments work together, we can deliver for Canadians the kind of health care system they deserve.
Last summer our Minister of Health met with health ministers from Denmark, Sweden, Mexico and France to see how other nations have been able to reduce wait times.
For example Sweden introduced its national maximum waiting time guarantee in 2005. Its plan includes patients to be treated elsewhere if the waits become excessive.
Denmark's extended choice of hospitals initiative was launched in 2002. If its health system is unable to provide treatment within two months, patients have the option of being treated in a private facility or another country.
The U.K. has a choice at six months policy. This means that patients who wait more than six months for elective surgery will be offered the choice of moving to another provider for fast treatment. The U.K. program is a good example of a system triggered recourse. The patient is not required to complain at six months; the choice is offered automatically.
These international examples show the kinds of guarantees that are possible for governments to offer their citizens. Sweden, Denmark and the United Kingdom did not deliver patient wait time guarantees overnight. It was a process founded on improving the management of their health systems and the use of taxpayers' dollars more efficiently and more effectively to provide their citizens with better health care outcomes.
The message from international experience is quite simple. The effectiveness of a nation's health care system depends on two things: its medicine and its management. To provide the very best, countries must do equally well.
Canada is a world leader in many scientific medically based endeavours. Our scientists and our scientific community are among the most valued in the world, often in terms of scientific citations being at the forefront of their disciplines. This is something we need to be very proud of as a country. Recent successes in the provincial management of wait times indicate that we are making progress on the management of our system. This includes the financial management of our system.
Let us address the money issue head on. There is a lot of new money going into the health care system: $41 billion in new dollars to the provinces and territories over 10 years with a 6% increase a year for inflation, $5.5 billion specifically for wait times reduction. Canadians want and demand to know that this money is being managed effectively. They want, as our government has promised, greater transparency in terms of what their tax dollars are delivering and they want greater accountability results.
Establishing a patient wait times guarantee is a process, not an event, building upon existing provincial and territorial reforms, comprehensive wait times initiatives while representing different provincial priorities as it relates to their respective health care systems.
Today I have provided just a few examples of the success stories achieved by the provinces and territories and health care system administrators who clearly are making progress on reducing wait times through better management and innovation. These are examples that also demonstrate the solid building blocks in place to move forward on a patient wait times guarantee.
We look forward to continuing to work with the provinces and territories to deliver outcomes Canadians want, and certainly ones they deserve in their health care system.
View Patrick Brown Profile
View Patrick Brown Profile
2006-11-28 15:49 [p.5467]
Mr. Speaker, it is always amusing to hear a Liberal member talk about funding for health care when it was the Liberal Party that cut health care by $25 billion between 1994 and 1999.
The new Government of Canada has made it very clear that the $41 billion for health care is a fundamental investment that it is willing to stand behind and support. It is making a tangible difference. I raised examples that patient wait time reductions were working across the country, from coast to coast. I know the Minister of Health is doing everything he can to work with his provincial and territorial counterparts to ensure that the government's goals for patient wait times guarantee can be realized.
I will read the statistics of the hospital in Barrie in the last year, which I find most impressive, and the government has only been in power for about a year. If we break down what funding in the budget means for local hospitals, for my local hospital it is $3.14 million for 2006-07. That funding has allowed the hospital to perform 606 additional cancer, cataract and joint replacement surgeries and an additional 1,880 MRI hours.
The investment that the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Health have put into health care is making a tangible difference in communities. It is in stark contrast to the days in the 1990s when hospitals and provincial health ministers were continually scared and in trepidation of the cuts the Liberals may inflict on health care systems.
We can ignore the $25 billion, but the growth in wait times was a direct cause of the cuts inflicted by the former finance minister at the time. It is unfortunate that it happened, but this government is doing everything we can to ensure that the health care system has the funding it deserves, and we are seeing that happen today.
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