Monday, November 12, 2012

Member of Parliament issues ME Order Paper

Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett has issued an Order Paper last week on behalf of patients with ME.

An Order Paper is one of the ways for a member of parliament to ask questions to the Canadian government, and by law, the government has to respond within 45 days.

Here is another way to explain it, coming from the office of Carolyn Bennett:

If a question intended to obtain information from the Ministry involves a lengthy, detailed or technical response, a written question must be placed on the Order Paper. A Member must give 48 hours' written notice of his or her intention to submit such a question. Each Member may have a maximum of four questions on the Order Paper at any one time. Certain restrictions exist on the form and content of written questions. These are based on the Standing Orders and on practice.
The Member giving notice of a written question may request an answer within 45 days and may also ask that oral answers be provided to no more than three of his or her questions on the Order Paper. Such questions are identified with an asterisk in the Order Paper.
The House must be sitting so we will not be able to do so until the House resumes in the fall.

St-Pauls' Liberal MP has been briefed about the situation of almost half a million Canadians,and quickly decided to pass on to action. We the patients in Canada can only be thankful for her gesture.

It is not the first time questions were asked at the House of Commons about ME. In 2009 there was an Order Paper placed by Hon Oliphant and the answered on October 5th. The questions this time are fairly similar, which inadvertantly makes you think that the Conservative government doesn't care about us. Funds have not been allocated, consensus documents have not been approved to be posted on national public health website and that the arthritis research had us covered (insert swear word here).

Carolyn Bennett is a physician who gave up her practice to be a full time politician. She is a well seasoned politician, sits with the liberals and currently is a critic for Aboriginal Affairs & Northern Development and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency. She is also Chair of the National Liberal Women’s Caucus. Despite her very busy schedule, she is giving of her time with her constituents and also anybody else who wants to chat with her on Sunday evenings on Facebook. This is how I got the opportunity to approach her in regards to myalgic encephalomyelitis and fibromyalgia, one of the most neglected diseases of them all. On many occasions she asked me to send documents and links to her office. She has been interested and it's nice to see.

For those of you not knowledgeable with the Canadian politics, the Conservatives have been elected for a second term, this time with majority. It is my opinion that they have not been doing a good job in general- especially when it comes to health and science. (And of course I am concerned about health)

So on October 30th Carolyn Bennett filed an Order Paper on behalf of patients with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Fibromyalgia. And I want to say thank you. Here are the questions she has been asking:

It is Question 1044 and available in both official languages here

Q-10442 — October 30, 2012 — Ms. Bennett (St. Paul's) — With regard to Canadians diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS): (a) what funding has been allocated to research this illness in the last two years; (b) how does the government propose to encourage Canadian research into ME/CFS so that the level of research into this complex, multi-system illness is commensurate with its extent and impact; (c) what is the government doing to develop strategies and programs to meet the needs of Canadians with ME/CFS; (d) how is the government ensuring that health professionals are aware of the following documents, (i) the Canadian Consensus Document for ME/CFS (ME/CFS: A Clinical Case Definition and Guidelines for Medical Practitioners), (ii) Canadian Consensus Document for Fibromyalgia (Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Clinical Case Definition and Guidelines for Medical Practitioners); (e) when will the government perform the following tasks in relation to the Consensus Document for ME/CFS posted on the Public Health Agency of Canada's website, (i) improve the location of the document on the website in order to facilitate location of this document, (ii) post the French version of this document; (f) why is the Fibromyalgia Consensus Document not posted as a Guideline on the Public Health Agency of Canada's website; (g) what steps is the government taking to ensure that health professionals, patients, and the public have access to science-based, authoritative and timely information on ME/CFS; (h) how soon will the government post other information related to ME/CFS on government websites; (i) what is the government doing to ensure access to ME/CFS knowledgeable physicians and appropriate health care on a timely basis and how are they working with the provinces, territories, professional organizations, educational institutions and other stakeholders to meet these needs; (j) how is the government working with stakeholders to deal with other needs of Canadians with ME/CFS shown by the 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) including, (i) reducing the levels of unmet home care needs, (ii) reducing the levels of food insecurity, (iii) increasing the sense of community belonging experienced by Canadians with this condition; (k) how will the surveillance report on ME/CFS, prepared from analysis of data collected from the 2005 CCHS, be used to improve the situation for Canadians with ME/CFS; and (l) how will the government monitor the extent and impact of ME/CFS and these other conditions on an annual basis given that questions regarding ME/CFS, Fibromyalgia and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities were dropped from the CCHS after 2005?

We should have an answer by mid December.

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