I spent quite a few hours yesterday and today, attending first the Parliamentary Take Note debate, which you really gotta see. Dr. Zamboni and Dr. Simka were there at the Parliamentary committee meeting this afternoon. It really seems to me that the dam is about to burst or the clouds or the seed pod or something.
They are both on record on TV. All you really need from either one is to see the last single statment Dr. Zamboni made, and to know that everyone there who counted was listening very closely and took every word he said very seriously. The star of last night was Dr. Kirsty Duncan who in spite of what the Member from Barrie (Dr. MacDonald's riding) said, was really the main force behind convening the Committee. She and a few other very committed Liberal Members spoke very eloquently and passionately. The debate was on for four or more hours. Rebecca and Andrew of MSLiberation had convened us (about 20-30 MS people) and we were up in the (peanut) gallery where you're not allowed to clap or boo.
We did anyway, till the police guy quietly shushed us. I want to see the rest on video, because I got too tired around 9:30 last night. At first, while the Prime Minister was still there, it was a bit like the question period following the previous meeting of the Committee, where Mr. Harper and the Health Minister just mouthed the usual generalities, mentioned the MS Society, but said more of the same nothing. After the PM left, Ms. Duncan and her fellow Liberals really got on a roll, and I thought she would bring out her secret weapon, the woman from Barrie.
Magically, the Conservatives had a change of heart. The Member from Barrie started grandstanding, talking directly to constituents on the TV. I heard later that a lot of what he had said was direct thunder-stealing because he and everyone else there had been inundated with email yesterday about her plight. I hope she got the procedure.
But mostly what I heard was a lot of finger-pointing and blame deflection. According to the BLOC it is a provincial matter which Health Canada rightly was ignoring. The Conservatives agreed about that, but after The Change, turned it into finger-pointing at the Provincial Liberals (who are in power at that level), saying if people had been shut down, why don't you ask them? I had never been a Political Football before, and it was quite a volatile feeling.
So anyway I left with the feeling that Ms. Kirsty Duncan and the Liberal gang had done a tremendously good job, and had swayed the hearts of everyone there. But I left with the usual doubts last night, in spite of the feeling that I had really witnessed Democracy in action, in that big place with so few people left in it. Some kind of history was undeniably happening.
By today, maybe the Member from Barrie had seen his performance on TV or something, but he seemed a lot more reachable and sincere. I think the poor woman from the MS Society was brave, but the house was stacked. She could not get anyone to agree that 'you can't have it, because more research is needed' was going to cut it anymore. The guy from the department that really controls the money for research was saying 'send in your box-tops and your Research Plan, we have 16 Million available.' He knocked that down to the 10 M we have all heard about. It seemed a lot of the people that counted were really treating Dr. Zamboni like the expert he is. They were all agreeing, with the patients, that there should be a Big Trial, but one in which there is a Treatment Arm, available to anyone whether they have MS or not. I think Dr. Kirsty and all the tele-doctors had finally won that point.
I think the most likely person to run that study was the vascular surgeon from Sunnybrook hospital in Toronto, and he got quite a few rounds of applause, and cut through a lot of the usual BS.
I left last night proud to be a Liberal again, in spite of Ignatieff' support for the minimum-sentencing bill that sends marijuana-users to prison. I was proud to say I knew Dr. Duncan.
Today I was happy to have been there and proud to be a CANADIAN.
"Try - Just A Little Bit Harder" - Janis Joplin
CCSVI procedure Albany Aug 2010
'MS' is over - if you want it
Patients sans/without patience