Thank you, Mr. Chair. It's an honour to be here this morning at the health committee for the first time. It is probably one of the most unique opportunities for me as a member of Parliament to truly bring some experience to committee.
With that, I will, first and foremost, say congratulations to Ms. Romanado. I am so incredibly proud of you on so many fronts. You represent both volunteers and professional firefighters. As far as I'm concerned, they're the exact same. Smoke is smoke and fire is fire. I want to say thank you so much for bringing forward this very well-thought-out bill, a bill that I not only completely endorse but that I also believe is so vitally important.
I probably won't have a lot of questions for Ms. Romanado, but I do want to share a couple of stories. Over the last five weeks, I was at the Kingsville retirees dinner. I was part of the Kingsville fire department and I was at their retiree dinner. I ran into a gentleman by the name of Mr. Art Voakes. He served 32 years. He just retired about two months ago. Mr. Voakes shared a story with me that he had no idea he was walking around with prostate cancer, and he did give me permission to tell this story this morning. He had no clue he had it.
I didn't know this until this morning, but, generally speaking, men are on a scale of zero to five for their prostates. He was at 19.1, Ms Romanado. He was basically walking dead, which is what the doctors told me. Thank goodness, the doctors removed his prostate and saved his life. He said, “Chris, I think testing should be done for firefighters every five years, both firefighters who are working today and also the retirees.” That's just one example.
There is a second example I would give as to why this bill, Bill C-224, is so vitally important. I was at the Windsor fire retirees dinner a month ago and I sat next to the chief health officer. He said, “Chris, are you aware that now Parkinson's disease has been linked to firefighting?” I said I had no idea. So the very folks whom we rely on, whom we scream for help to when the cat's caught in a tree, pardon the pun, or when our house is burning or when somebody is dying of a medical emergency, are the exact same ones who go out there and run to our assistance and do it with service. It's no different from this House. These are the same folks who, I'm going to suggest, are too embarrassed to even say that they're struggling through this, that they're fighting these illnesses. If we can, at the very least, make January firefighter awareness month, specifically with regard to cancers, my goodness, that would be about the biggest slam dunk in the whole world.
My question would be, through you, Mr. Chair, to Ms. Romanado—and I don't want to stall this bill. As a matter of fact, I wish this bill was done eight months ago. Can I ask you, is there something else in this bill you would like to see perhaps that would enhance it even further?