Sunday, August 05, 2007

More on Ontario organ donation legislation

Further to the recent announcements by the Ontario Government about their intention to pay expenses and lost wages for living donors up to a maximum of $5,500 and conditional upon the Liberal's being re-elected in the upcoming election, this news release from MPP Frank Klees gives us much insight for consideration.

And nothing is what McGuinty has done

(Queen’s Park) – August 3, 2007 - Dalton McGuinty has been sitting on the report of the “Citizens’ Panel on Increasing Organ Donation” for months. After McGuinty’s government received the report sometime in early April, Health Minister George Smitherman promptly put it on a shelf, telling voters that Dalton McGuinty wasn’t going to touch the issue.

This despite the fact that no fewer than three pieces of legislation had been introduced in the Legislature by members of all three parties – any one of which would have improved the organ donation system in Ontario.

One of these bills, Bill 67, the Organ and Tissue Donation Mandatory Declaration Act, introduced by PC MPP Frank Klees (Oak Ridges) in February, 2006, had received all party support, gone to committee for hearings, and been referred back to the Legislature for third reading in April, 2007, where it waited for Dalton McGuinty to call it for a final vote.

The bill would have made law one of the major recommendations of the organ donation panel by requiring people to make a declaration regarding their willingness to be an organ donor prior to renewing their health cards or drivers’ licences.

But Dalton McGuinty dithered. He deflected. And he delayed.

Until June 5, 2007, when he prorogued the House more than three weeks early – hours before scandal-plagued Citizenship and Immigration Minister Mike Colle was to appear before a parliamentary committee to answer questions about his role in the McGuinty government’s slush fund.

McGuinty denied he was ending the parliamentary session early to avoid having to deal with the scandal. “We’ve completed our agenda,” he said.

Not quite.

When McGuinty killed the House, he killed Bill 67. And with it the hopes of more than 1,700 people waiting for organ donations that Dalton McGuinty might take some real action on this life-and-death issue.

“We welcome any steps that can be taken to save lives,” said Klees. “What we don't understand is why Dalton McGuinty allowed a Bill that not only had all party support in the legislature, but was endorsed by the medical community and the government's own commission on organ donation.
“No one can understand how Dalton McGuinty could justify letting a bill die on the order paper that was so widely supported – one that the medical community stated would have saved lives,” said Klees. “If there is one issue where politics should have been set aside, this was it, but unfortunately neither the Dalton McGuinty nor George Smitherman could see their way past their own purely partisan agenda.”

Today’s announcement is nothing more than an election promise from Dalton McGuinty. He had the time to improve Ontario’s organ donation. He just lacked the leadership.

Visit Frank Klees' Web Site.

For More Information:

Frank Klees, MPP
Oak Ridges

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