Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bravo MP Bill Casey

I am posting the letter I wrote Conservative MP Bill Casey, (Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley) about his private members bill to create a national registry, national standards and a national program for studying brain tumors.

I watched Casey's presentation on CPAC. With the exception of the BQ the other parties supported it in a truly non-partisan fashion. Even if they raised questions about it, they were all supportive, well almost all.... Surprise, surprise that the PQ didn't support Casey's bill. Of course Canadian Federal/National standards are not Quebecs Nation-alist standards. Those standards are; we go it alone, just gimme the money.

Young brain tumour survivor lobbies for better guidelines, Canada - 13 Dec 2006
Brandon and his mother flew to Ottawa from Amherst to push a private member’s bill that their MP, Bill Casey, introduced for debate on Tuesday. ...

Duceppe: Legislation would intrude on Quebec’s jurisdiction, Canada - 3 hours ago
Isabelle Paris, a Montrealer who lost her mother-in-law to a brain tumour last year, said Wednesday that she wrote a letter of support for the bill because ...

My letter:

Dear Mr. Casey,

I am not a Conservative Party supporter, however I want to congratulate you on your efforts on behalf of Canadians suffering from brain tumors. I watched your presentation on CPAC yesterday and was very impressed. I was impressed by the authentic non-partisan support you elicited from all parties except the BQ.

I want you to know that I think you have done an excellent job in representing your constituents, and in going beyond to bring forward a bill that is extremely important for all Canadians and indeed for people around the world.

From what I heard of your bill, and I have not read it, you are calling for national standards, which are crucial in developing further medical research into the causes of brain tumors. It is the reason we have a Federal Government, to set national standards.

To this end I am also pleased to see that the government intends to fund this research out of federal funds. This is why we have a national Canadian Health Act, which is itself a national standard.

I worry about the impact of asymmetrical federalism that your party has embraced in relation to Quebec. When the Prime Minister and Finance Minister announced that they planned to devolve fiscal responsibilities to the provinces, I am afraid that gives more ammunition to the BQ. As the only party to oppose your motion I think you will understand why. The BQ is using the issue of financial imbalance as a way of undermining national standards. They deplored your motion as an interference in Quebec provincial rights. Well that maybe however as the saying goes he who pays the piper calls the tune.

Since federal funds will be used for this research, funds over and above regular transfer payments if I am correct, then the Quebec government should not be opposing your bill, as they seemed to be from the quotes read out in the house by the BQ MP.

It is imperative that in areas of medical research especially using statistical data, that all such data from each province, city, rural riding, etc. be made available. If my understanding of the comments made in the House by the BQ, Quebec has no intention of doing so.

This is a serious challenge to any national standards program, and I believe it is a direct result of the failure of the New Canadian Government to address the real need for federal jurisdiction and powers to set national standards. Quebec wishes only to run its own programs and then demand the federal government pay for them.

It this was done across the country in all the provinces and territories chaos would ensue, and there would be no national standards.

Thus your party's promotion of the idea of a devolution of federal powers, runs counter to your own private members bill. In that I wish to say I was glad your bill did call for national standards.

I am hoping it will pass. And I am hoping that as concerned MP you will see that your party's policies regarding federal provincial relations may run counter to what Canadians really need, which is strong national standards for medicare, day care, etc.


Eugene W. Plawiuk

Edmonton Strathcona

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