MPP Harris laments missed opportunity as government fails to support Rare Disease motion Liberal NO vote means struggle for support will continueMarch 3, 2016
QUEEN’S PARK – “A missed opportunity.”
Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris expressed his utter disappointment moments after Wynne Liberal members chose to vote against his Private Members Motion call for an all-party Select Committee into Rare Disease Treatment in Ontario.
“After a year of hearing Rare Disease sufferers heart-wrenching stories here at Queens Park and as my #TreatRareDisease campaign moved through the province, I find it hard to believe the Minister could actually hide behind yet another closed door “working group” to reject our proposal for a transparent, all-party, public Select Committee for rare disease treatment in Ontario,” Harris lamented. “Today we had the opportunity to rise together to meet the challenges faced by those who have suffered in isolation for too long, and government members chose to deny sufferers the chance to be heard.”
Earlier in the day, Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins suggested the Working Group on Rare Disease he announced at the start of the week would take the politicians out of the process in looking into treatment solutions for sufferers.
Harris made it clear during debate that the recent successful history of all-party Select Committees shows what can be done when politicians push together through an inclusive, transparent Committee process touring the province and hearing first-hand reports of those impacted.
“Too many times we’ve seen announcements of government’s intentions to address these issues, as we heard earlier this week, and too many times we’ve seen the announcements used as an excuse for inaction – leaving rare disease patients on their own facing continued challenges to diagnosis, treatment and support.” Harris concluded. “There is absolutely NO reason why we cannot support the Minister’s working group, AND the Select Committee – when it comes to Rare Disease it’s the Patients that are the Experts and it’s those experts we need to hear from.”
Harris added that while government may have succeeded in stopping his motion, it has done nothing to slow his dedication to ensure the needs of rare disease sufferers are no longer allowed to be ignored.
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