• artDevMaster6
  • November 22, 2016
  • Speeches

Study on the Issue of Dementia in Our Society

Honourable senators, I rise and am pleased to second this report as the deputy chair of this committee. I also want to thank the people Senator Ogilvie mentioned who are members of the committee, plus our support team. The one person he didn’t thank is himself, so I’ll thank him for his leadership.

We’ve worked together for a number of years. Earlier this year, we did a report on obesity that has now resulted in a bill by Senator Raine, which has resulted in the Minister of Health talking about many of the things that we described in that report.

This whole process is the strength of the Senate. We have high points and, as you know, we have low points, but the committee work is a high point. It is a strength of the Senate indeed, because we get to decide on the kinds of studies we think are pertinent to what Canadians need today, and we put a request to the Senate and get an order of reference to carry out our study. We then spend several months — sometimes more than a year or a couple of years — studying something in-depth, bringing in witnesses from all over the country and different parts of the world as well. We’ve brought in some very notable witnesses on this subject and on other subjects.

We’ve drawn on literature and evidence to come up with a series of recommendations as a result of our analytical work that can help us to move forward in helping people with dementia; helping their caregivers, who are very stressed out at times; helping to ensure more money gets into research so we can come up with perhaps a cure one day, but certainly treatments that can help people go through that phase of their life that can go on for quite a number of years. We’re getting an older population day by day, which means more and more people, as Senator Ogilvie pointed out, are becoming victims of this particular disease.

And they’re living longer. With living longer, we’ve got to focus on them having a better life longer. That is part of these 29 recommendations.

So I highly recommend this report to you. We’re going to go on. We’ve already got an order of reference to go into health innovation as our next study, which will deal with artificial intelligence, robotics and other changes that will help in other areas of health care needs.

The point I’m trying to make above all here, in addition to this report, which I think is worthy of our support, is that the process that we go through in committees is well worth the time. I’ve been on the Social Affairs Committee, both as deputy chair and as chair, for a dozen years. We may have disagreements, and we do have little squabbles from time to time on legislation that might come from the government, but when it comes to these studies and this investigative work that lead to reports like this, we have always been, in the 12 years I’ve been on the committee, unanimous in our final decision. So it is a strength of this Senate, and I recommend this report to you. Thank you.