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

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Dear Ms. Taylor and Mr. Childerhose,

Thank you for expressing your views on Bill C-223, “An Act to establish the Canadian Organ
Donor Registry and to coordinate and promote organ donation throughout Canada”.

I am a strong proponent of organ and tissue donations and know first-hand the importance of these services in saving lives in Canada. I worked actively throughout my career in healthcare to champion organ donations and to establish effective organ and tissue harvesting strategies in conjunction with the Trillium Gift of Life Network and certainly more work is still needed. I would encourage all residents of Oakville to consider organ and tissue donation and importantly to discuss their wishes with family members to ensure the choice is understood and followed in the event of death.

While I concur with and support the objectives of the Bill it is also critical when deciding to support legislation to ask other fundamental questions such as – will the Bill achieve the stated objectives? In this instance I believe the Bill could not achieve the stated objectives and in fact would have created disarray within the existing Provincial and Territorial programs.

The Bill would have displaced national and Provincial/Territorial responsibilities, and would have created jurisdictional concerns as Provinces and Territories are responsible for organ and tissue donation and transplantation. It would have duplicated existing Federal/Provincial Territorial initiatives with the Canadian Blood Services, the organization that manages the blood donations in all Provinces and Territories outside of Quebec. Further, the Bill did not address the unique link with the province of Quebec.

The Provinces and Territories and the Canadian Blood Services did not support this Bill.
My preferred approach, to address this critically important issue, is for the federal government to continue to support the existing system and the improvements that are already underway with Provinces and Territories and Canadian Blood Services.

The government recognizes the need for a pan-Canadian approach, specifically with regard to legal issues raised during the organ donation process such as consent, determination of death, and information sharing of personal health information. This work has been supported by an investment of over $64 million since 2008. Further research is being completed with investments through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The results of this collaborative work, already underway, will be an accessible, safe, and comprehensive worldclass organ and tissue donation transplantation system.

I again encourage all residents of Oakville to become organ donors and to discuss your wishes with family members

Thank you again for sharing your views with me. I encourage you to do so on issues that matter most to you prior the House of Commons voting on them. You can have your say on Bills and provide your thoughts directly to me at www.JohnOliver.mp/have-your-say.

Yours truly,
John Oliver
Member of Parliament for Oakville

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