On October 24, 2023, Parkinson Canada staff, board members and lived experience volunteers with Parkinson’s gathered on Parliament Hill to advocate for Canadians living with Parkinson’s disease.
This year’s event marked a return to Parliament Hill, where Parkinson Canada representatives held talks with members of Parliament, senators and government officials. We highlighted the importance of meaningful and accessible financial supports for people living with Parkinson’s, the need to make Canada a leader in access to the best medicines and discussed focused support to increase the number of specialists, specifically Movement Disorder Specialists, to provide well-rounded Parkinson’s informed care.
While Parkinson Canada undertakes advocacy and government relations activities consistently throughout the year, annual lobby provide the opportunity to meet directly with decision-makers about the impact Parkinson’s disease has on Canadians and ways to support this community through better resources, supports and care. In advance of our presence on Parliament Hill and to help broaden awareness of our key priorities, Parkinson Canada published an op-ed written by Robert “Bob” Klager, a member of our board. You can read Bob’s op-ed here.
Altogether, Parkinson Canada met with nine parliamentarians and six government officials. An evening reception, sponsored by Member of Parliament Lloyd Longfield, Member of Parliament Adam van Koeverden and Senator Stephen Greene, brought out 24 parliamentarians and their staff. Speeches were given by the event sponsors and the Minister of Health, Mark Holland, as well as Liz Loewen, a member of Parkinson Canada Parkinson Advisory Council. You can read Liz’s remarks here.
While there’s still more work to be done, we’re encouraged by the strong engagement and support we received from everyone we met and look forward to continuing our advocacy efforts to ensure every Canadian affected by Parkinson’s can thrive.
Statements in the House
MP Lloyd Longfield, Guelph ON
Mr. Speaker, every day in Canada, 30 individuals are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson Canada has identified key priorities for the Parkinson’s community to consider improving overall health and quality of life for those living with this degenerative brain disease.
By identifying gaps and improving training and knowledge transfer with qualified healthcare professionals, we can allow for earlier diagnosis and treatment. Examining the systemic issues and barriers in our healthcare system will determine the steps we can take to increase the number of healthcare practitioners available to support the people who are living with this disease. By advancing equitable access to care and improved treatments, we will ensure a better quality of life for all Canadians living with Parkinson’s.
Today, I am joining our member from Milton and Senator Stephen Greene to host Parkinson Canada on the Hill to hear the voices of those working to help those diagnosed with Parkinson’s and improve outcomes, in Wellington room 310, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
MP Ben Carr Winnipeg South Centre, MB
Mr. Speaker, I rise to bring attention to a cause close to my heart: the challenges faced by Canadians affected by Parkinson’s disease.
A few weeks ago, we lost my Uncle Robert, my dad’s brother, after a 20-year-long courageous battle with this awful disease. I saw first-hand the toll it took on both him and our family.
Canada has one of the highest rates of Parkinson’s in the world. Every day, 30 more individuals receive the devastating diagnosis, and within a decade, that number is expected to become 50.
Parkinson’s is relentless, and with no known cure or disease-modifying therapies, proper support and services are critical. By ensuring that tax credits and benefits are available, by making Canada a leader in access to the best medicines and by ensuring that there are appropriate specialists to provide well-rounded Parkinson’s-informed care, we can improve the lives of those who are impacted.
This is not just a matter of health care; it is a matter of compassion.
I thank all of those who continue to advocate for this important cause.
Members of Parliament
- John Brassard – MP for Barrie—Innisfil, Ontario
- Julie Dabrusin – MP for Toronto—Danforth, Ontario
- Ben Carr – MP for Winnipeg South Centre, Manitoba
- Pam Damoff – MP for Oakville North—Burlington, Ontario
- Karina Gould – MP for Burlington, Ontario
- Sameer Zuberi – MP for Pierrefonds—Dollard, Quebec
- Senator Marc Gold
- Senator Jim Quinn
- Senator Mobina Jaffer
- Alexander Craney – Senior Policy Advisor to the Minister of Labour and Seniors
- Jill Pilgrim – Deputy Director of Policy and Legal Affairs
- Cameron Durkin – Constituency Assistant to Nathaniel Erskine-Smith – MP for Beaches—East York, Ontario
- Emmanuelle Lamoureux – Director General, Health Care Strategies Directorate, Health Canada
- Pamela Aung-Thin – Assistant Deputy Minister, Health Canada
- Karen Reynolds – Director General, Pharmaceutical Drugs Directorate, Health Canada
Members of Parliament
- Louise Chabot – MP for Thérèse-De Blainville, Quebec
- Michael Chong – MP for Wellington—Halton Hills, Ontario
- Chris Determent – MP for West Nova, Nova Scotia
- Darren Fisher – MP for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia
- Mark Holland – Minister of Health – MP for Ajax, Ontario
- Lloyd Longfield – MP for Guelph, Ontario
- Robert Oliphant – MP for Don Valley West, Ontario
- Churence Rogers – MP for Bonavista—Burin—Trinity, Newfoundland and Labrador
- Gerald Soroka – MP for Yellowhead, Alberta
- Adam van Koeverden – MP for Milton, Ontario
- Senator Robert Black
- Senator Pierre Dalphond
- Senator Colin Deacon
- Senator Percy Downe
- Senator Amina Gerba
- Senator Stephen Greene
- Senator Nancy Hartling
- Senator Elizabeth Marshall
- Senator Paul Massicotte
- Senator Marie-Françoise Mégie
- Senator Flordeliz (Gigi) Osler
- Senator Rebecca Patterson
- Senator Scott Tannas
- Senator Pamela Wallin
Parkinson Canada’s presence on Parliament Hill is by no means an endpoint in our advocacy. In fact, it is just the beginning. Having laid the groundwork for advocacy priorities and raised awareness across Parliament on the issues and challenges of the Parkinson’s community in Canada – as well as our proposed solutions – Parkinson Canada will build off this positive momentum to deepen our engagement with those we met with on our Hill Day and build further relationships to continue to advocate for the needs of Canadians impacted by Parkinson’s disease. We look forward to taking the insights and advice gained on our Hill Day to create impactful change for our community.