3 min

Paul Martin tells Parliament to support CAMR

With the vote on Bill C-393 on reforming Canada’s Access to Medicines Regime due to happen today, former Prime Minister Paul Martin showed up on Power & Politics, fresh off a plane from Africa, to discuss the necessity of reforming CAMR. Given that the Liberal caucus is divided on supporting the bill, we’ll have to see if his interventions make any difference.

Of the parties who recognised World AIDS Day yesterday, the Liberals, NDP and the Greens sent out releases to the media. While the Liberals was fairly sombre in terms of numbers, and NDP’s was vague and fuzzy, the Greens mentioned concrete things like education for women, and the need for more funding for hospices created for the gay community.

During Members’ Statements, Scott Brison stood up to recognise the passing of a renowned constituent.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia recently lost one of its finest citizens and one of its leading fire chiefs when Windsor Fire Department chief, Fred Fox, passed away.
A lifelong resident of Windsor, Fred joined the fire department in 1971. At the time of his passing, he was serving in his 20th year as fire chief and 38th year as a member of the department.
Chief Fox was instrumental in the development of the Fire Service Association of Nova Scotia, which recently recognized him with a lifetime honorary membership. He was the Nova Scotia director to the Maritime Fire Chiefs Association for several years and a member of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, having served as Nova Scotia's director to the federal association.
Volunteer firefighters possess a commitment and generosity to their communities, which Chief Fox exemplified with his skill and caring service to his community. His death is an enormous loss to the department and to the entire community he served.
I offer my deepest sympathy to his wife Prudy, son Gregory, daughter Melissa and to all of their extended family. Fred was a great Canadian.

Conservative backbencher Ron Cannan stood up to talk about HIV/AIDS, but didn’t actually mention that it was World AIDS Day. Conservative backbencher (and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health) did speak about World AIDS Day and to talk up the government’s great work on the file, and how they base everything on “sound science.” Err, except when it comes to harm reduction, but we’ll not mention that. For the NDP, Chris Charlton made a statement, as did Keith Martin for the Liberals. I have to say this was far and above better than the response that we saw last year.

During Question Period, the Afghan detainees issue again dominated, as did the further government contradictions on the file. John Baird again stood up and again accused the Liberals of badmouthing the troops, and most especially General Gaultier. Gilles Duceppe led off on the climate change file, but on a supplemental to Bernard Bigras’ environment question, Jim Prentice decided to dredge up the fact that it was the one-year anniversary of the short-lived coalition agreement between the Liberals and the NDP. Layton was on the detainee file, but again no substantial answers came from Baird.

On the sartorial front, it was a pretty dull day. A citation needs to go out to Brad Trost for his dull, dull greige suit, shirt and tie (and no red ribbon!). The Megan Leslie outfit watch reports the return of her grey military-cut jacket, which pleased me greatly.

The NDP’s opposition day motion to call for an independent inquiry into the Afghan detainee issue, which passed. Not that it means anything, because it’s not binding and the government can ignore it and flout the will of Parliament without breaking a sweat.

There was another commemoration on the Hill yesterday, this one for the victims of the École Polytechnique massacre 20 years ago – and most of the Opposition boycotted the government’s planned commemoration. They said it was because of the government’s rolling back of women’s equality and safety. The Minister of State, Helena Guergis, says she was disappointed because this was a non-political event. But it’s not like this government has never politicised anything ever.

The Liberals have come out in favour of the HST legislation, but Liberal MP Keith Martin – who has always been something of a rogue player – says he may still vote against it and suffer the consequences. (Who wants to bet that Jane Taber will spin this as “Ignatieff loses control of caucus!” on her Globe and Mail blog today?)

(And over on her blog, the Toronto Star’s Susan Delacourt looks at the politics of the HST as compared to those of same-sex marriage. It’s an interesting read).

Up today – it’s the vote on Bill C-393. Will it pass Second Reading? We’ll see.
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