November 5, 2018
Mr. Len Webber (Calgary Confederation, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank all members who spoke to this legislation both today and a month ago during the first hour of second reading. The majority were very supportive, some I am not too sure about, like the hon. member for King—Vaughan. She did not quite mention where she was, but she is not in. I feel confident that she is along with the rest of the speakers that spoke to the bill. This legislation really will make a difference. I truly believe that it will save lives. I do sincerely ask all members of the House to please support it.
The bill is supported by many organizations throughout Canada, organizations such as the Trillium Gift of Life Network in Ontario, the Kidney Foundation, the Canadian Transplant Association, and I could go on. Many organizations support the bill with letters of support and lobbying efforts to all of us as well, which I appreciate.
Twenty of my colleagues here in the House of Commons from all parties have seconded the bill. I am truly honoured that they would second my bill. I appreciate that sincerely.
The hon. member for Edmonton Riverbend mentioned that I did some work in the Alberta legislature. I did create the Alberta organ affiliation registry there along with help from many individuals, individuals like Nancy McDonald, Yvonne Martinez, Karen Korchinsky and Robert Sallows, who was mentioned earlier today by my hon. colleague from Calgary Shepard.
I spoke about Robert a month ago here in the House. He was an inspiration to me for the bill. Sadly, he has passed away. I was at his funeral, his celebration of life, this weekend. He continues to be an inspiration to me. He was a young man of 17, when he received his double lung transplant. He survived for 14 years. Unfortunately, he died from cancer at the age of 31 just a few weeks ago. He was unable to donate his organs like he had wished, but he was able to donate his eyes, and that would have been really important to him. I think of Robert often, and I wish him well in the other world, wherever that is.
I am a little disappointed about the registry we started in Alberta because of the fact that it is not going as well as I hoped it would. Ninety per cent of Canadians support organ donation, yet only 20% of Albertans, basically 20% of Canadians, have registered on their provincial registries. That to me is unacceptable and very disappointing.
I had to think of a way to get registration up, and what better way than to target Canadians through their income tax form. Most Canadians do their income taxes, so I thought it would be a good idea to just ask them on the form. It makes sense to me and I hope it makes sense to everybody in this room. I truly believe that the bill will significantly raise our registration rates and also create awareness.
I would also like to thank my health committee colleagues, a number of whom are here today, including our chair, the hon. member for Cumberland—Colchester. We completed a study on organ donation, as he mentioned. I know that I cannot hold up a prop, but I do have the study here.
I want to indicate one specific recommendation in the report that was brought forward earlier by the hon. member for Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam. The recommendation states, “The Government of Canada identify and create opportunities for Canadians to register as organ donors through access points for federal programs and services in collaboration with provincial and territorial organ donation programs.”
“To register as organ donors through access points…”. The income tax form is an access point. It is an access point that reaches all Canadians. This legislation will do wonders to increase awareness of our organ donation system.
I would ask my colleagues to please support the bill and honour the work of Robert Sallows and help promote organ donor and tissue awareness here in Canada.