Letter to the Editor: MP Oliver votes against National Organ Donor Registry

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Dear Mr. Oliver,

I am writing to express my sincere disappointment in your recent vote of NO against Bill C223 in the House of Parliament on June 15th. It was shattering to see that among the Liberal MPs in our Parliament, only 5 were brave enough to vote YAY for this extremely important bill. (I was pleased to see your colleague, Pam Damoff from Oakville North among the brave 5 Liberal YAYs).

While I appreciate the need to not offend Canadians based on their sex or gender identity, I have to say that the approval to change the wording of our national anthem, on the same day as the Liberals voted down a National Organ Donor Registry was a real slap in the face to the THOUSANDS of Canadians who wait each day for their chance to live. These people wait for lungs with which to breathe, they wait for their heart to beat in their chest, they wait for a kidney to filter their blood and free them from years of dialysis and eventual death, they wait for a liver to help clot their blood, metabolize fats, and hundreds of other functions. Perhaps they wait to see, or have parts of their burned skin replaced with grafts from a donor.

My husband was one of those who waited to breathe. YOUR constituent was saved by an anonymous donor who saved other lives as well. Meanwhile, many of your constituents are waiting for lungs, for hearts, for kidneys, for life saving organ transplants, and your vote has ensured that their wait will continue until someone local comes along, or the hospitals continue to use their current (and less efficient) system of connecting donors from other provinces.

They wait for a donor. In many cases, they are waiting for their HERO. They understand that their HERO needs to finish their time on this earth. They understand that it is still a very rare case when this HERO will pass away in a position to even be able to help them, but they wait patiently. They wait days, weeks, months and years for their HERO.

Their HERO might be in their own town, or their hero might be across the country. Insurance companies and our healthcare system are flying these beautiful, life saving organs from across our country to save someone in another city, a stranger who will be eternally grateful that their HERO made the choice to save lives. A donor registry would speed up this process, and would also ensure that anyone requiring an organ, would have a much larger reach, shortening wait times, saving hospitals money, and saving more lives in the process.

(Copied from http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx…)

Purpose of Registry

4 (1) The purpose of the Canadian Organ Donor Registry is
(a) to store, or provide a link between, information on organ donors in participating provinces;
(b) to maintain the information in a format that allows it to be provided quickly to persons authorized by a participating province to receive it for the purpose of identifying individuals who have consented or who may consent to be organ donors; and
(c) to match organ donors with recipients quickly and effectively.

Mr. Oliver, you have also worked very closely with these life saving doctors in your time with Halton Healthcare. You have crunched the numbers, coordinated the building of an impressive new state of the art hospital for our beautiful town, and worked to ultimately save lives. How is this bill any different?

You also know that healthcare is more than just hospitals. To quote your inaugural speech in parliament last December 8th,

“Hospitals are just one part of our health system. The Canada Health Act and our national commitment to help each other in times of health crisis are a large part of what define us as Canadians. We need federal health leadership back. We need a new health accord. We need national strategies to deal with the changing circumstances of people with mental illness, chronic diseases, and those who are aging. We need to reinvest in health research to ensure that investments are routed in evidence-based, clinically proven strategies.

The Speech from the Throne speaks explicitly to these issues, laying the framework to develop a new health accord in partnership with the provinces and territories. Our government will also take action to support the delivery of more and better home care services, improve access to necessary prescription medications, make high-quality mental health services more available, and advance collaboration across Canada in health innovation. Our government is taking the necessary steps to ensure that our universal health care system remains sustainable and accessible for all Canadians today and for generations to come.”

The blatant partisan vote on this bill was embarrassing.

This is NOT a political issue.

This is a lifesaving issue, this is the beginning of a “new health accord in partnership with the provinces and territories”

This is a national strategy to deal with chronic disease.

Mr. Oliver, you said that “Our government will also take action to…advance collaboration across Canada in health innovation”.

Mr. Oliver, your vote belies these words and as a proud Oakvillian, I am extremely disappointed in this representation in our government.

Over 4500 people in Canada are waiting. (2014 numbers).

Sincerely,
Sarah Taylor
Keith Childerhose

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