Bill C-277, E-Petition #4266, and Letters to MPs – Push Back on the Push Back

Brain Injury is Everyone’s Responsibility

First, I want to be clear… CGB Centre for Traumatic Life Losses is non-partisan. This means we do not favour any one party or it’s policies. The reason is brain injury, mental health, addictions, and trauma recovery are not only an NDP problem, or a Liberal problem, or a Conservative or Green party, or any other party’s problem. These issues are not solely the responsibility of the federal government to resolve. Why? Because brain injury, mental health, addiction, and trauma recovery are every political party and every level of government’s problem to address.  That’s right. From your mayor and council, to your Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) to your Member of Parliament (MP), each of them has a responsibility to be involved and to look for solutions in their community, province, and this country. Moreover, each of them is a citizen in a city or town, this province, and this country – they get to vote too. They accepted a position at their level of government to be your voice (even if you didn’t vote for them). They declared they would represent their constituents at that level of government… all their constituents, not just the people who put them in power. Now it’s your responsibility to insist they bring your concerns to their level of government, because they represent you. Asking them to be your voice does not mean you side with their party views. It means you are exercising your right to have your voice heard.

Push Back on the Push Back

One of our supporters for Bill C-277 not only signed the petition, but also submitted a letter to their MP. The response received from their MP was dismissive, condescending, and focused solely on process and NOT the need of 1.5 million (plus) Canadians living with a brain injury who desperately need access to services and supports. We have a brain injury crisis in Canada and this MP completely dismissed the supporter’s efforts stating:

“Due to the House of Common’s operational procedures and the manner in which this bill was introduced, PMB C-277, unfortunately, falls outside the order of precedence and will not be receiving a second reading.”

What is a PMB?

PMB is the acronym for Private Member’s Bill. MP Alistair MacGregor put forward Bill C-277 as a PMB. Alistair belongs to the NDP. Alistair is the MP in my community; therefore he is my voice, and has been for quite a few years. CGB is in his riding. We exercised our right to meet with him, to educate him on brain injury and its unintended consequences to individuals, families, communities and our province and country. We have worked with Alistair for four years to have this PMB put forward. It was not a flimsy slap-happy patronizing effort on his part. There is much research and protocol for any member to submit a PMB and it took several years to get to this point.

Outside the Order of Precedence

Every bill is “outside the order of precedence” between the time it’s added to the Order Paper and when it gets brought forward for debate. So yes, PMB C-277 falls outside the order of precedence, because that’s how it works, not because it was presented in a flawed manner. For interest’s sake, you can follow this link to read ALL the PMBs that fall outside the order of precedence:  The above response from this MP (from the opposition) to our supporter was made to politicize this important issue.

With Political Will a National Strategy on Brain Injury Doesn’t Need Bill C-277

Here is the truth. There is nothing preventing the Government of Canada from implementing this proposed legislation without Bill C-277. Implementing a national strategy does not involve an amendment to the Canada Health Act. In fact, the Minister of Health could, with a stroke of a pen, undertake developing this strategy in consultation with the provinces, territories, and Indigenous groups/stakeholders, right now. He doesn’t need the passing of Bill C-277 to make it happen. He needs the political will to serve the survivors of brain injury and their families in Canada.

Will Bill C-277 Succeed?

As the MP who criticized the presentation of Bill C-277 indicated, it likely will not get a second reading. That does not mean it won’t. PMB’s do get passed, but not without public support and political will of our government. As an example, check out the success of Elizabeth May’s PMB on Lyme Disease.

MP Alistair Macgregor did the heavy lifting of getting this PMB right. He listened to his constituents about the devastating impact of brain injury in this country. He committed to helping create change. What he needs now is public support and the political will of our government. And to obtain that political will, he and PMB C-277 need the public to put pressure on the government to respond to the brain injury crisis and develop a national strategy.

What is Your MP Going to Do?

After your send your letter, call up your MP and ask what they will do, or are doing, to support a National Strategy on Brain Injury. In Canada, there has been a Cancer Strategy since 2007, there has been a Heart Health Strategy since 2009, and yet for brain injury (whether brought on by a traumatic or medical event) the consequences reach far beyond the 165,000 Canadians who will suffer one per year, the 11,000 Canadians who will die per year, the 6,000 who will be permanently disabled per year, etc., there is no strategy. Educate them to know that these statistics are grossly understated given the thousands of brain injuries resulting from concussions, intimate partner violence, violence among the homeless, individuals incarcerated, combat injuries and those surviving an opioid/stimulant poisoning that are not diagnosed, treated, or tracked medically. Constituents, Canada-wide, are struggling to navigate a siloed system, preventing access to the services and supports they need.

The consequences of brain injury disrupt our vital systems.

The MP who dismissed our supporter closed with:

“I look forward to supporting FUTURE initiatives to create a national strategy on brain injuries.”

Support FUTURE initiatives! We don’t need future initiatives, ask your MP to support this initiative that is happening right now. And if they won’t support Bill C-277, what is their plan to create a better life for survivors of brain injury in this country? We want to know!

Sign e-Petition #4266 and write your MP today. Ask them to be your voice and support Bill C-277.

Calling Upon all Canadians to support Bill C-277 to Establish a National Strategy on Brain Injury

We need 500 signatures – Be one of them!

It’s estimated more than 165,000 new cases of traumatic brain injury annually occur in Canada, and an estimated national prevalence of over 1.5 million cases (Brain Injury Canada, n.d.). These statistics are grossly understated given the thousands of brain injuries resulting from concussions, intimate partner violence, violence among the homeless, individuals incarcerated, combat injuries and those surviving an opioid/stimulant poisoning that are not diagnosed, treated, or tracked medically. Constituents, Canada-wide, are struggling to navigate a siloed system, preventing access the services and supports they need.

NDP MP Alistair MacGregor of the Cowichan-Malahat-Langford riding put forth Bill C-277, a Private Member’s Bill on June 2, 2022, as part of Brain Injury Awareness month. He needs our support now by way of submitting a minimum of 500 signatures on this e-Petition. Once 500 signatures are received the e-Petition is certified by the Clerk of Petitions and it is presented to the House of Commons. This last step will be the tabling of the e-Petition for a government response. We can have thousands of signatures, and that’s our hope, but a minimum of 500 is required to move further.

e-Petition #4266

Who can sign the e-Petition?

  • You must be a citizen or resident of Canada. You will be asked to provide the province / postal code you reside in or the country you are currently residing in.
  • There is no minimum age to sign the e-Petition.
  • You must have your own email to sign the petition as only one signature per email address can be submitted. This means multiple family members (any age) may sign, but each person requires their own email address.
  • You must provide a telephone number.

What happens after you sign the e-Petition?

  • You will receive an automated email which prompts you to confirm your signature. This confirmation must be provided for your signature to be counted. PLEASE DO NOT MISS THIS STEP.
  • You may only sign an e-petition once.
  • The Clerk of Petitions has the right to reject any signature of which the validity is in doubt.

If you have questions about the e-petition process or encounter technical problems, please visit the petitions website or contact the Clerk of Petitions at [email protected].

In addition, MP MacGregor requires the support of your local Member of Parliament. You can submit a letter here, which goes to your MP based on  your postal code, the Prime Minister, Health Minister, and other appropriate decision-makers.

Bill C-277 is an initiative of the CGB Centre for Traumatic Life Losses and has been developed in consultation with Brain Injury Canada, BC Brain Injury Association, and Cowichan Brain Injury Society.

One final ask…

Please ask at least one person (family member, friend, support worker, service provider, your local MLA, MP, Mayor, and Council) to support this initiative by signing the e-Petition and submitting a letter of support.

Brain injury happens to anyone, anywhere, anytime and all levels of government need to be involved. Their voters are impacted by brain injury.

As a Canadian citizen, and your (federal, provincial, or municipal) government representative, they have a responsibility to take a stand and support Bill C-277. They are your voice at the level of government they represent. Ask them to use it.

We can grow this initiative exponentially together.

If everyone who signs the e-Petition and submits a letter asks one person to do the same, we double our efforts.

If you ask one person and they ask one person, and so on… the numbers will grow exponentially in the favor of survivors of brain injury.

Help us make a difference for survivors of brain injury, their families, and our communities.

We can do this!

Important Information:

The e-Petition for Bill C-277 and letter writing campaign are open from February 1, 2023 – April 30, 2023 (90 days only).

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