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Results: 1 - 15 of 24
View Len Webber Profile
CPC (AB)
View Len Webber Profile
2021-05-07 14:18 [p.6928]
Mr. Speaker, as you know very well because it was mentioned numerous times today, this bill got its second chance in this Parliament when my name was drawn first in the private member's bill lottery. It was you, Mr. Speaker, who drew my name out of a hat, so I owe you big time. I thank you sincerely.
This was first introduced in the last Parliament as Bill C-316 and it passed unanimously at all stages. Unfortunately, it died in the Senate when the 2019 election was called. Here we are today with Bill C-210. It also enjoyed the same unanimous support at all stages. Hopefully an election will not be called before the Senate has the opportunity to pass this into law, assuming it passes in the House next week.
There are so many people I need to thank, I do not even know where to begin. First and foremost is my assistant, Terence Scheltema. His help throughout this whole process has been immense and I cannot thank him enough. Of course, I also thank the member for Oakville North—Burlington, the member for Vancouver Kingsway and the member for Courtenay—Alberni, who kindly helped on my behalf to ensure unanimity and a quick passage.
I thank my colleagues on the health committee, who went above and beyond to ensure that the organ donation question would be on the front page of the income tax form. It was clearly identified at committee that they wanted this question on the front page of the income tax form, along with the Elections Canada question. I thank them sincerely for that. I thank the 20 members from all parties who seconded my bill and the ones who spoke on this bill throughout the entire process.
There are also some people behind the scenes who made this bill a reality and did some of the heavy lifting and careful navigation through this process. I need to thank procedural clerks Marie-France Renaud, Caroline Massicotte and Isabelle Dumas, and legislative counsel Nathalie Caron and Sylvie Bednar. As well, I want to thank three government staff, in particular, for their non-partisan assistance and co-operation: ministerial assistants Janick Cormier and Christina Lazarova, as well as parliamentary assistant Christopher Lalande.
As I have mentioned before in the House, my inspirations for this bill were Karen Korchinski and my late friend Robert Sallows. I pray the day will never come when Karen will need that liver transplant, but if it does, then perhaps the chances of her getting one will be that much better. Robert Sallows is a double lung transplant recipient who sadly passed away just before my Bill C-316 passed in the House in 2018. We need to get this bill passed so that we can finally tell Robert we finished the job for him. He fought so hard to help others also get a second chance at life. We need to finish this for him.
Finally, I want to thank the many Canadians who shared their personal stories with me along this journey. Some were tragic and some were remarkable, but all of them came from the heart. Let us not delay this any longer. Everything that needs to be said has been said. It is time to get Canada's organ and tissue procurement system on track and give hope to the thousands of Canadians awaiting transplants.
View Len Webber Profile
CPC (AB)
View Len Webber Profile
2021-05-06 18:12 [p.6831]
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to speak to Bill C-220, which has been brought forward by my colleague from Edmonton Riverbend. The member and I go way back. In fact, we served together in the Alberta legislature. Now we share the same privilege of serving together in the House.
As an Alberta MLA, I brought forward legislation that created the Alberta organ and tissue donation registry, and my colleague from Edmonton Riverbend strongly supported my efforts then. He then brought forward the Alberta compassionate care leave legislation, which I, in turn, was happy to be a strong supporters of. Both pieces of legislation passed successfully in Alberta, and now we are both here in Ottawa and continue our work.
When we came here, I introduced legislation that would improve our national organ and tissue donation rates by adding the question to our income tax form. In fact, it comes up tomorrow for a final hour of debate at third reading. Now the member for Edmonton Riverbend's federal compassionate care leave bill is before us today, in its final hour of debate, so we are both on the cusp of seeing our legislation pass in the House this week. I find it very fitting that we find ourselves here today, given our shared history with provincial and federal legislation.
We have shown that sensible, compassionate legislation is something that all parties can support. Bill C-220 originally proposed to extend the compassionate care leave program, which federally regulated employees can use to take up to 26 weeks off work to take care of a terminally ill loved one. The bill was later amended at committee to allow for federally regulated private sector Canadian employees to take a leave of absence from their job for up to 10 days following the death of a family member. The 10 days can be taken within six weeks of the funeral of a deceased family member.
I believe that these changes would benefit working Canadians by giving them extra time when they face a very difficult period. They would also allow them the flexibility to take the time when they can. I hope that this is just the first of many ways the government examines how it can make the grieving process easier for families. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how critical it is that people are supported in the loss of a loved one.
I am really pleased that we are recognizing the importance of compassionate care leave, as it is something that I am all too familiar with. I lost my wife Heather to breast cancer a number of years ago, and I was fortunate to have had the ability to take time off from work to support my wife before she died and, just as importantly, to support my three young daughters after her death. I cannot imagine for a second what this would have been like if I did not have the support I did at the time.
I was a member of the Alberta legislature at that time, and I cannot thank Premier Ed Stelmach and my colleagues enough for their support. The premier went out of his way to make it as easy as possible for me to focus on my family, and I will forever be grateful for it. He even rearranged cabinet to allow me to stay closer to home. My colleagues picked up some of my workload, and the member for Edmonton Riverbend was one of them. I will never forget that.
I want to take a moment to thank our registered home care nurse, Donna Dryer, who played a critical role in supporting my family and my wife. Donna helped us with our needs and, most importantly, made Heather comfortable in her final days. We thank her to this day, and I only hope those who must go through what we did are lucky enough to have someone like Donna assigned to them.
Grief is something we all experience differently, and it is almost impossible to put an appropriate mourning or grief period into legislation. However, we have to find a reasonable balance between need and resources. I think that the bill is an excellent first step, but I would like to see the legislation reviewed after a few years to ensure that it is meeting its goals.
I recall that a few months after I lost my wife, I met a guy at an event. He was a firefighter who, coincidentally, had lost his wife around the same time I did. Tragically, she had died suddenly in a car accident en route to the grocery store.
I chatted with him for a bit, and I will never forget him saying to me that at least I was lucky enough to be able to say goodbye to my wife. That really resonated with me. It was true. I was able to say goodbye to my wife, and I was lucky enough to say goodbye. He did not have that opportunity; he was not able to say goodbye. I cannot imagine how difficult that would be. It made me realize that the grief we were both experiencing at the time was very much different.
There are many factors that can affect the depth and the length of the grieving process. Was the death foreseeable, or completely sudden and unexpected? Did the family have the opportunity to say goodbye? Does the person's death dramatically alter the financial situation of the family? These are all factors, but the biggest determination in how people grieve is the level of support they get from family and friends. Bill C-220 would ensure that people have at least some level of support from the government, and that is a really good thing.
Death is something that we all have to deal with at some point in time. We all lose a loved one or a close friend. Sadly, as we get older it becomes more and more frequent, although this does not make things any easier. As the Willie Nelson song goes:
It's not somethin' you get over But it's somethin' you get through
For those who are struggling with grief, there is help available. It is important that they reach out and ask for it. They can Google “mental health hotline Canada” and call the 1-800 number, which is 1-833-456-4566. Youth can call the Kids Help Phone, at 1-800-668-6868. Hopefully one day, thanks to the member for Cariboo—Prince George, they will only have to call a three-digit number, the 988 number, to seek help.
In closing, I want to reiterate my support for Bill C-220. The member for Edmonton Riverbend has brought forward sensible, compassionate legislation that will help many Canadians. I am pleased that his efforts have been welcomed by all parties in the House of Commons, and I wish him all the luck in the world as he moves the bill off to the Senate. I hope we can make this legislation a reality before the next election.
View Len Webber Profile
CPC (AB)
View Len Webber Profile
2021-05-03 11:48 [p.6501]
Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak today to Bill C-237, which proposes a national framework for diabetes.
The bill has been brought forward by our colleague, the member for Brampton South, and I would like to take a moment to comment on her dedication to seeing this bill passed and her overall concern for the health of Canadians.
The member, who I served with for many years on the health committee, has always been one of the most non-partisan and collegial members of the committee. Her sincere desire to improve health outcomes for Canadians has always been her underlying motivation, and it has been an absolute pleasure to work with her on that committee.
The situation with diabetes in Canada is truly shocking. About three million Canadians live with diabetes. One in three children and one in 10 adults live with the disease. People with diabetes are over three times more likely to be hospitalized with cardiovascular disease, 12 times more likely to be hospitalized with end-stage renal disease and almost 20 times more likely to be hospitalized for non-traumatic lower limb amputation compared to the general population. Diabetes contributes to 30% of strokes, 40% of heart attacks, 50% of kidney failure requiring dialysis, 70% of all non-traumatic leg and foot amputations and is leading the cause of blindness in Canada.
The direct cost to our health care system just last year was $3.8 billion. It is estimated to rise to about $5 billion by 2030. That is a huge weight on our health care system.
There is no doubt that diabetes is a serious chronic disease and it is on the rise. It is a disease that occurs when the body is either unable to sufficiently produce or properly use insulin. Over time, left untreated, it can damage blood vessels, nerves and organs such kidneys, eyes and heart, resulting in the serious complications that I mentioned, and ultimately death. It poses a challenge not only to those living with the disease, but also to their families, communities and the health care system. Therefore, any investment in reducing the rate of diabetes in our country should translate into long-term savings to our health care system. It just makes senses that we deal with this issue head on and deal with it now.
Also, each year close to 200,000 Canadians are newly diagnosed and many more diagnosed as prediabetic. Not all individuals with prediabetes will develop diabetes, but the chances increase if steps are not taken to manage it. Fortunately, recent studies have shown that changes in lifestyle, primarily diet, physical activity and weight management, can delay or even halt the progression. However, there is no question that we need to look at diabetes as a national problem and come up with a national framework, which Bill C-237 proposes.
The aging of the Canadian population, largely a result of baby boom cohort, has been one of the major factors contributing to the increase in the number of Canadians living with diagnosed diabetes. The increasing incidence is shocking. If any other health issue like cancer had increased in comparison, we would declare a national emergency and pull every fire alarm. Why do we not do it in this case? I believe it is because of the ongoing and unfair stigma that those with diabetes are simply lazy, unhealthy and authors of their own problems, which is simply not the case.
Diabetes is complex and the people affected by it are not always in full control of their health conditions. We need to stop thinking that this is entirely a lack of personal health. At the same time, we should also not underestimate the importance of maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle.
As part of any national framework on addressing diabetes, it is critically important that we look at the issue of organ donation. I know the member for Brampton South is also very supportive of organ donation and improving our system in Canada.
Diabetes, at its root, is a malfunctioning pancreas that fails to make the necessary amounts of insulin at the right time. For type 1 diabetes, there is some hope people could receive a pancreas and/or a kidney transplant. A transplant can cure this problem and eliminate the need for insulin shots, but we need more people to donate these life-saving organs.
For those who undergo a pancreas transplant, the survival rate exceeds 95% after one year and more than 88% after the five-year mark. It is possible to be a living donor and donate a pancreas, but this is rare and most donations come from deceased donors. Typically, these transplants last 10 to 12 years, so unfortunately multiple transplants and multiple donors are required over time.
When it comes to kidney donations, the situation in Canada is quite dire, with more than 3,300 people on the waiting list. The demand is high because kidney transplants are in need for more than just diabetics. The wait time can range from months to years. Many never get their second chance at life.
The good news is that people can be living kidney donors. They can donate one of their kidneys to save another. I admire the member for Edmonton Manning, who did so for his son. Of course, live donations are a complex process and are required because we do not have enough deceased donors.
The point is this: Canadians can dramatically improve the life and health of type 1 diabetics by becoming organ donors, so I strongly encourage all Canadians to register on their provincial organ donation registries and let their loved ones know of their decision.
Sadly, a pancreas transplant is not really an option for those with type 2 diabetes because that type of diabetes occurs when the body generates a resistance to insulin or is unable to utilize it properly. Type 1 diabetics make up about 10% of those with diabetes. Their bodies just do not make insulin, which is a situation where a pancreatic transplant would be required.
A constituent of mine, Brooklyn Rhead, a grade 12 student at St. Francis High School, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in February of last year. She suffered severe symptoms for about a year before her diagnosis. Her symptoms included extreme thirst, hair loss, fatigue, inability to concentrate and weight loss.
As part of Brooklyn's efforts, she has set out to increase awareness of type 1 diabetes and to raise $5,000 for diabetes research at her high school. So far, she has raised $3,900. I am confident that she will reach her goal, so I applaud her. More than 300,000 Canadians have type 1 diabetes, and Brooklyn's efforts are creating awareness. It is an important contribution to finding the answers.
Many are desperately longing for a cure. We know there is a need for a cure. We know there is political will. We know the need is urgent. We know the need is growing. As Parliamentarians, we need to move this bill along as quickly as possible to make that difference.
From my own personal experience, I have seen excellent pieces of legislation die when an election is called, so I hope we can get this to the Senate and get it passed as soon as possible before a writ is possibly dropped. Brooklyn and three million other Canadians are watching. They are counting on us to get the job done, so let us get it done.
View Len Webber Profile
CPC (AB)
View Len Webber Profile
2021-05-03 15:37 [p.6536]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition from Canadians across this great country who call upon the Government of Canada to take immediate measures to end the use of strychnine, Compound 1080 and sodium cyanide for killing wolves, bears, coyotes and other large vertebrate. The petitioners note that this is a very inhumane method of killing due to the intensity and prolonged duration of the dying process. Professional organizations in Canada and around the world agree. The use of chemicals also kills non-target animals, including wild and endangered species, pet and farm animals. It is also a threat to human health.
Again, the petitioners are calling upon the government to immediately end the use of strychnine, Compound 1080 and sodium cyanide.
View Len Webber Profile
CPC (AB)
View Len Webber Profile
2021-04-12 11:06 [p.5379]
moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to my private member's bill, Bill C-210, at third reading. For those who may not be familiar with Bill C-2l0, it is a proposal that would allow Canadians to indicate their interest in being an organ and tissue donor through their annual tax forms. Right now the tax forms can only be used for the collection of taxes. The bill would create a legal exemption, just like that made to Elections Canada, to allow for its important question of organ donation to be added to the tax form.
The bill was unanimously supported at both second reading and at committee. The bill was also my bill, Bill C-316, in the last Parliament where it was also unanimously supported, however unfortunately, it died in the Senate. It did get a second decent life in this Parliament when I won the PMB lotto. I was picked as number one, so I resurrected the bill.
It is very timely that we are speaking about the bill today as April is Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Month. It is also two weeks away from the tax filing deadline in Canada, so it is ironic to be speaking here today on this. If we have any hope of getting these changes to the tax form implemented in time for the next year, the 2021 tax year, we need to move the bill through both the House and the Senate before the summer. If we miss that deadline, the Canada Revenue Agency will not be able to implement the required changes for yet another year. We just cannot let that happen.
I want to convey my sincere thanks to all parties in the House for showing such strong support and offering genuine co-operation to move this proposal forward. Members' unanimous support and unwavering support at every stage has been heartwarming and shows we really can pull together for Canadians. I specifically want to thank all my colleagues from all parties on the health committee, both currently and in the past when I served on the health committee, who have been vocal, determined and dedicated supporters of the bill.
I also want to thank the government for the allocation of funding in the past fall economic statement to facilitate the implementation of this legislation. Governments do not often commit funding ahead of legislation passing, especially when it is for a private member's bill from an opposition member of Parliament. That funding is very much appreciated and it signifies a shared will to see the bill pass.
I want to bring out the matter that came up at committee. First of all, for this initiative to be most effective, the question on organ and tissue donation needs to be placed on the front page of the tax form. The committee members made this very clear to the CRA. In fact, they specifically voted down the idea of suggesting that the CRA had latitude to move it to some back page in oblivion. Parliament has spoken and it wants this on the front page along with the existing Elections Canada question.
I was pleased that individuals from the CRA have acknowledged that this is a priority of Parliament and committed to putting this on the front page. I implore the folks at the CRA to dig deep and push forward to make sure that we get this done as soon as possible. Their work will have life-changing consequences.
One other aspect I want to spend a few minutes on is something that the bill does not directly address, but is a significant problem here in Canada. This is the reason we have Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Month. Research has shown that as many as one in five potential organ and tissue donors have their final wish overturned by their family at the time of death. That is 20% of families overturning the wishes of their deceased loved ones. This decision by their families is robbing those in need of a life-saving transplant of a chance to live. It is robbing their loved one of their final wish. This is unconscionable and it has to change.
We can do better and we must do better, and that is why it is so important to talk to family members about final wishes when it comes to organ and tissue donation.
I have met with many people who have allowed the donation of organs and tissue of their deceased loved ones, and every single one of them without exception has said that it was an essential part of their grief and healing process. The ability to find some good in a time of utter grief is profound and everlasting. They want other families to know that sharing a loved one makes accepting the loss so much easier. Their loss has purpose, and their gift has brought unimaginable relief and joy to another family in need. That is the legacy to leave for a loved one.
We have our own reasons for supporting this legislation. Some of those reasons are closer to home for some members than others. Some members themselves or their family members have medical conditions, which means that they know one day they may require a life-saving transplant. Other members in the House are able to love, laugh and live with loved ones because they received a life-saving transplant and are still here with us today. No matter the reason for supporting this bill, it is very much appreciated.
View Len Webber Profile
CPC (AB)
View Len Webber Profile
2021-04-12 11:14 [p.5380]
Madam Speaker, I absolutely agree with the member that this is long overdue.
What initiated this bill is the fact that we could not get a bill passed here in the House on creating a Canadian-wide organ and tissue donation registry because it conflicted with provincial jurisdiction. I wondered how we could help the provinces and their registries as a federal government, and this bill came to mind. We could get this question on the tax form and then share that information with the provinces throughout the country.
I certainly hope that we can get this bill passed before the summer so that we can get it implemented in the next tax season.
View Len Webber Profile
CPC (AB)
View Len Webber Profile
2021-04-12 11:15 [p.5380]
Madam Speaker, the intent of this bill is to have a tax filer indicate their willingness to donate their organs upon death. All it would be is a tick on the box on the form, and that information would then be shared with provincial registries throughout the country, depending on what province the tax filer is living in. A representative from the province would then contact the individual to ask the appropriate questions on what his or her wishes are, whether it is to donate any and all organs, specific organs or whatever, and so the detailed information would come from the provinces from asking those questions.
View Len Webber Profile
CPC (AB)
View Len Webber Profile
2021-04-12 11:17 [p.5380]
Madam Speaker, I want to correct a statement the member made with respect to others in the House trying to pass this particular bill in the past. That is not correct. I think the hon. member is talking about the attempt to have a national registry implemented in this country. It is something that was attempted in the past, but it was unsuccessful. This is why I have now brought forward this particular bill to help out these provincial registries.
With regard to the opt-out question, it is provincial jurisdiction to determine whether to implement an opt-out system, so I will leave it with the provinces.
View Len Webber Profile
CPC (AB)
View Len Webber Profile
2021-04-12 14:11 [p.5405]
Mr. Speaker, April is Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Month. It is a month to highlight and raise awareness about the critical need for more donors across the country. It is a month that encourages Canadians to register their decision. Most importantly, it is a month to encourage Canadians to have important conversations with their friends and loved ones about their decision to donate and ensure their organ donation wishes are understood.
Every week, five Canadians die awaiting a life-saving transplant. Every week we lose five Canadians who could have enjoyed many more years of life had they received a transplant. Every day we dispose of perfectly good organs while some in our communities sit by the phone waiting for that second chance at life. Sadly, the pandemic has reduced transplants by 30% this past year.
Canadians overwhelmingly support organ and tissue donation, but we need to take that support just one more step. Canadians should register with their provincial registries today, tell their loved ones that they want to save a life when they die, and ask their loved ones to respect their final wishes.
View Len Webber Profile
CPC (AB)
View Len Webber Profile
2021-03-10 17:03 [p.4840]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition from my constituents Martina and Bradley Leinweber, who lost their son Adam in a tragic gliding accident, a mid-air collision back in 2019.
The petition calls upon the House of Commons to legislate a mandatory use of aircraft collision avoidance systems in privately owned civilian glider aircraft and tow planes in Canada in an effort to prevent mid-air collisions and the associated unnecessary loss of lives.
It is possible that Adam's death could have been prevented if Canada required the use of this FLARM technology, this collision avoidance technology, which, by the way, is promoted by the Soaring Association of Canada.
The Leinwebers have worked tirelessly since Adam's death to ensure that no other family has to go through what they have. They are hoping the Minister of Transport will consider requiring this sensible and life-saving technology.
View Len Webber Profile
CPC (AB)
View Len Webber Profile
2021-02-18 15:07 [p.4254]
Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government has presided over thousands of job losses in Alberta's energy sector. At the same time, our energy workers watched foreign oil come into this country from third world dictators and human rights abusers. Clearly, the Liberal government is willing to support jobs in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Russia, Nigeria and others instead of supporting jobs here in Canada.
What specific action will the Liberal government take this year to reduce foreign-oil imports into Canada?
View Len Webber Profile
CPC (AB)
View Len Webber Profile
2021-02-16 14:01 [p.4127]
Madam Speaker, the pandemic has devastated many small businesses throughout the country. Many are struggling to stay open, and for others it is just too late. One of the sectors hardest hit is the fitness industry. A constituent of mine, Emily Slaneff, who owns and operates the CrushCamp in the East Village of Calgary, like all in the fitness industry, is desperate for a strong recovery. She knows very well that the health of Canadians has suffered throughout this pandemic, and Canada needs to get back into shape, not only financially and mentally, but physically as well. As she pointed out to me, the Liberal government would do well to consider bringing back the Conservative fitness tax credit or making fitness memberships tax deductible. This would get people back into fitness facilities and back into fitness routines who otherwise would not be able to because of the financial hardships this pandemic has caused.
Let us work with people like Emily to ensure our economic recovery is, literally, a healthy one.
View Len Webber Profile
CPC (AB)
View Len Webber Profile
2021-02-05 11:55 [p.4068]
Madam Speaker, the new American administration has stopped the Keystone XL pipeline dead in its tracks, killing thousands of jobs in Alberta. Now Michigan is attempting to shut down Enbridge Line 5, killing thousands of jobs in Ontario. The Liberal government has responded by rolling over and playing dead. All this is while energy workers watch foreign oil come into Canada from third world dictators and human rights abusers.
What specific action will the Liberal government take to reduce foreign oil imports into Canada this year?
View Len Webber Profile
CPC (AB)
View Len Webber Profile
2021-02-05 12:15 [p.4071]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition from people in and around Calgary.
The petitioners are concerned about the way Falun Gong practitioners have been treated in China for more than two decades. They call upon the government to apply the Magnitsky act to end the largest and deadliest persecution of Chinese citizens since the cultural revolution.
The petition states that Chinese Communist Party corrupt officials have orchestrated the torture and killing of large numbers of people who practise Falun Gong, including the killing of practitioners on a mass scale for their vital organs to fuel the communist regime's organ transplant trade. The petitioners want the Canadian government to take a more active role in ending this.
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