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Results: 1 - 15 of 17
View Don Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
View Don Davies Profile
2018-12-11 10:23
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Chair, I'd like to move my motion again that was adjourned last meeting. I move that this committee call the Minister of Health to provide a briefing to the committee on the issue of forced sterilization of women, and also be present to answer questions from the committee.
I'd like to move that motion be lifted from the table and discussed.
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View Bill Casey Profile
Lib. (NS)
I'm going to determine that there was confusion on the motion whether we were voting on Mr. Davies' motion or whether we were voting on reinstating the debate. There was confusion, so I'm going to call a whole brand new vote.
(Motion agreed to)
The Chair: We're going to start Mr. Davies' debate again.
Mr. Davies is first.
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View Don Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
View Don Davies Profile
2018-12-11 10:26
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For my colleagues' benefit, the motion is this:
That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the Committee invite the Minister of Health to provide a briefing, at the earliest opportunity, on the forced sterilization of Indigenous women in Canada.
Frankly, I think it's broader than just indigenous women. It has primarily been indigenous women, but not exclusively.
When the minister appeared before committee, I had a chance to ask her one question on this. Her answer was this:
I have to agree with all of your comments, Mr. Davies. It's an appalling situation. It's completely unacceptable to think that this is happening in this country. It's certainly a clear violation of human rights, and also, it's gender-based violence. Here we are, on December 6, of all days, talking about this—a very appropriate day to be talking about this. It's just simply not acceptable at all.Minister Philpott and I work in close collaboration. We are reaching out to provinces and territories in order to further this discussion, and not only provinces and territories, but medical associations that regulate these professions. We want to make sure we do all that we can to put an end to this.
She finished by saying:
I've indicated I still can't believe that in 2018 we're having this conversation, and it's happening in this country. Let me be clear: This is absolutely unacceptable, and we will do all that we can to ensure that it no longer occurs.
Mr. Chair, I can only second the very powerful comments of the minister. This is a really appalling situation. I mean, we have women in this country who, as late as last year, have been sterilized against their will, without their knowledge, sometimes forcibly. We know that this constitutes torture under international law, and we know that the Supreme Court of Canada stated the obvious—that this is illegal—but we know it's going on. I think that we need to do all that we can, and as a health committee, it's our responsibility to delve into this as an emergency issue. I think it starts with the briefing.
I think the committee should probably conduct a study on this some time in the new year. However, at this point, I think that it's time for us, as a very collegial committee, to simply ask the minister to come back on this one issue to brief us on what's going on, how this happened, what steps are possible, whether charges are being contemplated, who is making these decisions to sterilize, and whether they are being held accountable. There are a lot of questions that I think we, as a health committee, should look into because these are medical procedures that are happening in health care facilities and primarily to a population—indigenous women—who are a core federal responsibility.
I think the least we can do is have a briefing on this. At this point, of course, we're going to be looking at the new year, so that gives us a lot of time to get the minister here. I would do that. I'll just give notice now that when we do go into committee business, if we don't get a briefing from the minister, I will be moving a motion that the chair send a letter to the chairs of the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs and the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, proposing a joint study on the forced sterilization of indigenous women and on government action to eliminate this practice, which I think everybody in this room would want to see happen. The reason for that is that this is an issue that crosses over three committees. It affects women, it affects indigenous women, and it affects health. All three committees have a slice of this issue. No one committee has it all. If it were just studied by the indigenous affairs committee, well, that doesn't take care of the women who are not indigenous. If it were just studied by the status of women committee, it would not have the health component, and if it were just studied by our committee, we wouldn't have the indigenous component. It's a thing where I think all three committees ought to have a role.
I'll conclude just by saying that this is a call that has been officially made by Action Canada for Sexual Health & Rights and Amnesty International, who have asked this Parliament, this committee, and members of Parliament to conduct that joint study.
Finally, under international law on the issue of coerced and forced sterilizations, they asked governments to investigate, to pursue charges and to seek redress for the victims.
I think we know now that not a single person has been charged in Canada—not that I'm aware of anyway.
I think it behooves us to investigate this thoroughly, and we can start by getting the briefing. I hope my colleagues will support my call for a briefing from the health minister. When we go into committee business, I will move my motion formally to have the joint committee study.
Thank you.
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View Doug Eyolfson Profile
Lib. (MB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you, Don, for bringing that up. It is an important issue, and I think I can speak for all of us here when I say that we are horrified by this.
The minister has appeared in front of the committee. We know her feelings on it. We also know that this is being worked on by three different committees because it's also being worked on by Indigenous Services and by Status of Women.
What I'm asking for is a friendly amendment to this. As the minister has appeared, and since we know her feelings on this, we amend that instead we have the officials from Health Canada appear, to get their take on it. I think many of the questions we would have would be more of a technical nature, which the minister would refer to the officials anyway. I don't know the value of having the minister here when we've already asked her about this, but we could get some very useful information from Health Canada and other related government officials.
Would you be prepared to accept that friendly amendment?
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View Don Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
View Don Davies Profile
2018-12-11 10:34
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Thank you, Dr. Eyolfson.
I do think that as the head of the ministry and the person responsible to the Canadian public, the Minister of Health ought to be here to answer questions, but in the spirit of co-operation, I'm happy to accept the amendment and accept a briefing from the department officials if that's the will of the majority.
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View Bill Casey Profile
Lib. (NS)
I call the meeting to order.
Welcome, everybody, to the 128th meeting of the Standing Committee on Health. Welcome to our guests.
We have a full house today and lots of questions, and I'm sure we'll have lots of answers.
First of all, I want to welcome the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health and my neighbour in New Brunswick.
Welcome to our committee.
I want to welcome the officials here.
From the Department of Health, we have Simon Kennedy, deputy minister. From the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, we have Paul Glover, president. From the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, we have Michel Perron, executive vice-president. From Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, we have Douglas Clark, executive director. From the Public Health Agency of Canada, we have Siddika Mithani, president, and Theresa Tam, chief public health officer.
My understanding is the minister has to leave at 9:45 or thereabouts. Is that correct?
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View Don Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
View Don Davies Profile
2018-11-27 10:01
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
If I may, I'll move to a different order of business. I served notice last week of the following motion:
That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the Committee invite the Minister of Health to provide a briefing, at the earliest opportunity, on the forced sterilization of Indigenous women in Canada.
I would like to move that motion today and speak to it, if I may, briefly.
I think all members of this committee are well aware of the very disturbing news that women in this country have, as recently as 2017, been compelled to be sterilized or have been sterilized without their consent or knowledge. This has been particularly prevalent among indigenous women. We know that there's not a person in this room or in the House who would not express complete abhorrence of that practice.
I'm informed that, internationally, forced sterilization falls squarely within the definition of torture. This is a very serious issue, and I think that it's also pressing, because it's alarming that it has happened so recently. I know I was very surprised to hear that it was done as recently as 2017.
I do think the Minister of Health should come before this committee and give us a briefing on this. Now, I understand this is an issue that probably crosses over multiple ministries. Obviously, these are medical procedures that are being administered in health facilities, and primarily to indigenous women, which is a core responsibility of the federal government. There's no question that this falls under the jurisdiction of the health committee.
I think that it would also be of interest to the indigenous affairs committee, but of course we have to remember that not all women who have undergone this procedure are indigenous, so this is not only an indigenous women's issue. It is purely a health issue, and also I think it's a women's issue, so probably the committee responsible for the status of women and women's issues would be interested.
My understanding is that in the committee responsible for women's issues and the committee responsible for indigenous health—I think under Minister Philpott—there have been motions that either have been tabled or will be tabled at those committees, but they're not to call the Minister of Health. They are to call the respective ministers responsible to those committees. This is the only motion in Parliament that is before any committee that will ask for the Minister of Health to come and provide a briefing.
I would move that motion today, if I may, and ask for my colleagues' support so that this committee can at least have an opportunity to inquire of the Minister of Health into this very pressing, urgent and important matter.
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View Bill Casey Profile
Lib. (NS)
The vote is on the motion to adjourn the debate. We'll have a recorded vote.
(Motion agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
The Chair: That's it. The meeting is adjourned.
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Catherine Parker
View Catherine Parker Profile
Catherine Parker
2018-10-30 10:29
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Dr. Stewart will answer that.
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John Patrick Stewart
View John Patrick Stewart Profile
John Patrick Stewart
2018-10-30 10:29
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A regulatory framework exists. We can't compel sponsors to come in and apply for market authorization. We can certainly encourage them. We can explain the process, facilitate, and provide incentives. However, ultimately it's a company's decision whether they market a product in Canada.
You probably heard over the last few testimonies that it is sometimes challenging to get products into market. We try to facilitate the conditions that would bring these products, through providing the framework for clinical trials, which supports clinical trials on rare diseases, and a process for priority reviews and notice of compliance with conditions, which I think we spoke about when we were here the last time, that incentivizes companies to come to market.
Once they're approved by Health Canada to be on the market, it's for other players within the system to decide on price and whether the provinces decide to ultimately fund it. It's beyond our role in that process. Maybe Karen can speak a bit about it.
As we talked about last time we were here, the special access program is one that is unique. It provides, on a probation basis, based on a request from a physician, access to an unapproved therapy that has not gone through the regular scrutiny for evidence around its quality, safety and efficacy. It's for the physician to explain why this therapy is the best choice for the particular patient in front of them, why it's a serious and life-threatening condition, why other available therapies, if they exist, have been considered and are not suitable, and evidence that supports its use.
Because special access requests are authorized in those kinds of conditions, they're not authorized for long periods of time. Typically, it's three to six months.
There can be a unique situation where a product receives an authorization, but it takes a company, once they get their approval, several months to get their labelling together and then actually put the product on the market. There's a period after a product gets market authorization where it's still not available, so the special access program will continue to provide access under that.
We shorten the time period because we know ultimately the product will be on the market. If there's an alternative product at the same time being accessed, we would shorten that as well, because we anticipate that most practitioners would transition to an approved therapy once it's available on the market.
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Karen Reynolds
View Karen Reynolds Profile
Karen Reynolds
2018-10-30 10:31
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I can speak a bit in terms of price.
As you're likely aware, the only federal lever that is able to exert any authority over price of patented medicines in Canada is the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board. I'm sure I answered a question related to the modernization effort from one of your colleagues when we were last here. They have authority under the Patent Act and its regulations to set what are termed “non-excessive prices” for patented medicines, and they do that based on the regulatory tools that are available to them.
That being said, as I'm sure you're also aware, Canada pays some of the highest prices in the world for patented medicines. We're third among the OECD countries, so it is acknowledged that prices of patented medicines in Canada are high.
The only other mechanism to bring prices down for Canadians is through negotiating mechanisms, largely through the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance. That, as you're aware, negotiates prices for Canada's public drug plans. Prices would only be negotiated for those drugs that have received a positive recommendation for a formulary listing from the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health, better known as CADTH. That would not necessarily apply to all of the drugs that you're speaking about.
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View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
View Blake Richards Profile
2016-09-29 11:32
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Mr. Chair, just for the information of members, I intend to move the motions in exact reverse order to how you have them in front of you. The back page will be the first one I'll move, then we'll move forward from there.
I will move the first motion:
That the Procedure and House Affairs committee invite the Minister of Health to appear to answer all questions related to its study on the question of privilege related to “the matter of the premature disclosure of the contents of Bill C-14 (An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying)”.
I'll just speak very briefly to it.
I think it's quite clear that the intentions of the government members are to sweep this under the rug. That is very unfortunate. I heard the arguments of Mr. Chan just now, and I will just remind members, once again, the job of this committee is to try to get to the bottom of this, to try to ensure, as per the words of the government whip, that this doesn't happen again.
If these were the arguments the government wanted to make, then they should have made those arguments prior to the Minister of Justice appearing. They seemed to be okay with that. What this would indicate to me is that they don't take this very seriously, and there may be something to hide. That would be a reasonable conclusion for someone to draw, that there may be something to hide.
The Minister of Justice was here to clear up the clouds that would hang over her and her department. I would certainly hope that the members of the government would want to give the Minister of Health and others who may have had access to this bill—who were specifically referenced by the Minister of Justice when she came before this committee, including the Minister of Health—the opportunity to clear up those same questions.
I'll leave it at that. I certainly hope the government chooses to be open, and accountable, and transparent here.
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View Arnold Chan Profile
Lib. (ON)
I guess I should answer Mr. Richards' comments. I would say that we would take it very seriously if there was clear evidence that the bill was in the possession of someone not authorized to be in possession of it prior to it being tabled before the House. Again, as I said, there is no such evidence.
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