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On May 6, Parliament will vote on my private member’s bill calling on Ottawa to adopt a national dementia strategy.

Sadly, despite the over three million Canadians directly affected by Alzheimer’s or related dementia diseases (patients, caregivers), the Conservative government has announced they will not support this much needed legislation.

However, I am hopeful about the vote result, especially if Canadians contact their MPs.

It is an election year with MPs sensitive to voters’ views. Some MPs not running again may feel less inclined to follow party recommendations. Most important, they may do the right thing if they hear from their constituents how important this is. It is a private member’s bill that MPs usually are not whipped on their vote. (This recently happened when the Conservatives opposed an end-of-life, palliative care motion but their MPs did indeed end up voting for it.)

I personally witnessed the support for this law when I visited Brantford-Brant (see above photo).

Your MP needs to hear from families, caregivers, seniors and health-care practitioners. Faith communities too, for they have been big supporters for a national strategy.

I have often said dementia is a non-partisan disease that needs a non-partisan solution. The NDP agreed to accept all Conservative amendments to my bill to get the law passed. Still, the Conservatives backed away.

They claim they have a national dementia strategy already but in fact it is largely a research plan. Research is crucial but it does not alone now help families, their caregivers and the dementia workforce.

Let’s help our MPs do the right thing.

Claude Gravelle Nickel Belt MP

Learn more about the New Democrats National Dementia Strategy at: http://claudegravelle.ndp.ca/national-dementia-strategy

Learn more about recent events in Brantford-Brant on this issue here: http://brantmarc.tumblr.com/search/dementia