Private Member Business (National Lyme Disease Strategy Act)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank all of my House of Commons colleagues. It is a great honour for me because this bill has received support from all of the parties in the House.

I am quite overwhelmed with gratitude for this effort to bring forward something in a non-partisan spirit to help people across Canada who have been exposed to bacteria-bearing ticks and who have, as a result, suffered from Lyme disease. They are going to have help.

The fact I brought forward the bill in a non-partisan fashion has been received in equal measure as a non-partisan effort, as was evidenced by the speeches we heard here today and earlier. I will mention particularly the member for South Shore—St. Margaret’s, himself a parliamentary secretary and part of cabinet as a result, who spoke so passionately about why we need to act on Lyme disease, and equally so the members today for Oakville, Toronto—Danforth, Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, and Nanaimo—Cowichan. I was particularly struck by the member for Mount Royal. For him the experience of Lyme disease is very personal, because his daughter was exposed to it and suffered from it.

I am probably most grateful, more than to any other individual, to someone who has not spoken to the bill. That is the hon. Minister of Health. Without her support it would be much harder to imagine that we would see the bill leave this place and go quickly to the health committee, where I hope we will have constructive amendments, which I have already discussed with the Minister of Health, to avoid any interjurisdictional problems with the provinces.

I hope to see the bill passed in the House of Commons and go directly to the Senate. Right now I think it is not a question of if the bill is passed, but when, and how quickly we can get help to the people who are suffering from Lyme disease.

My thanks go also to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and to the Canadian Medical Association for their quite clear stand in support of the bill to bring the support and the help people need at the level of prevention through greater public awareness, adequate treatment, quick diagnosis, and further research.

To have all these things happen through the sharing of best practices, we need all the players around the table: provincial, federal, and medical experts, as well as the people in the Lyme disease community themselves, who have rallied around the bill, collected thousands and thousands of names on petitions, and delivered them to their MPs.

My thanks go out to all. Let us see the bill passed, and quickly.