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For Immediate Release:

Brantford-Brant Conservative MP Had Helped Defeat NDP Bill in Last Parliament

BRANTFORD – Brantford-Brant Federal NDP candidate Marc Laferriere is pleased that NDP Leader Tom Mulcair committed this week to work with the provinces to establish a national Alzheimer’s and Dementia Strategy. Laferriere noted that Conservative-incumbent Phil McColeman voted with other Conservatives to defeat an NDP bill to do so in the last Parliament.

“Many families here experience firsthand the impact of living with a family member who has Alzheimer’s,” said Laferriere. “They’re not alone. 750,000 Canadians and their families are currently living with Alzheimer’s, with this number expected to double in a generation.”

Rolling out the NDP healthcare platform this week, Mulcair committed $40 million dollars in four years for a dementia plan in screening, diagnosis and support for families and research.
New Democrats also announced a $500-million pledge to hire more health-care professionals and add new medical clinics to address the nursing and doctor shortage endured by some Canadians.

Last May, a bill by NDP MP Claude Gravelle for a national dementia strategy was defeated in a rare cliff-hanger result, 140-139.

“Nine Conservative MPs did support us but not Mr. McColeman who went against the wishes of so many in the riding. We had hundreds of local families who signed our petition and supported our efforts, ” Laferriere said. “On an issue that touches so many we have to work across party lines – if not on this than on what?”

An NDP government will work with provinces and territories, and invest $40 million to create a national Alzheimer’s and Dementia Strategy that will:

· Support screening, early diagnosis and treatment to help slow progression of the conditions;

· Improve resources for newly diagnosed patients and their families to access needed care;

· Fund additional Alzheimer’s and dementia research, ensuring that activities are being coordinated to maximize resources and results.

Gravelle and Laferriere met with local leaders in the field and families affected this past December to explain and gain support the bill. Hundreds in Brantford-Brant signed a petition imploring Mr. McColeman and all parliamentarians to pass the bill. In Feburary Brantford City Council unanimously voted in favour of a resolution to support Mr. Gravelle’s bill.

Bill C-356 would have required the federal health minister to begin discussions with provinces and territories as the first step in establishing the national strategy. The bill failed a critical vote by one vote not only because most Conservative MPs opposed it but because a Liberal MP (Yvonne Jones) failed to stand and vote for the bill, even though the Liberal Party committed that all their MPs would support it.