On Wednesday, June 20, 2012 in Ottawa, Elizabeth May is planning to introduce a private member’s bill relating to Lyme disease. Look for a press conference that day and the reading of the bill by May to our federally elected MP’s later the same day.
Nicole and I saw a rough draft of the bill last week. It is still being worked on by May and her team, including legal advisers in order to make sure there aren’t any loop holes to be picked apart when it comes time to vote sometime between September 2012 – March 2013. Upon the passing of the bill, a conference will be convened to develop a National Lyme Disease Strategy with patient group representatives, medical and provincial health ministers in attendance. The conference would address the challenges of recognition, timely diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease.
The bill is multi-faceted, with detailed timelines that require adherence by the Federal Minister of Health at various stages, including when the conference must be convened, when the health minister would report back to MP’s, timeline for posting new national strategy on the official government website, and many other critical details ensuring the job is done right.
In our meeting, Elizabeth May asked what other suggestions we would like to see. We stated if only the IDSA archaic guidelines were listed, the bill would not serve a purpose, unless it reflected the ‘two standards of care,’ ILADS and IDSA. Canlyme has been consulted at length by May to make sure patients’ interests will be heard.
We also expressed the need for protection for doctors who wished to treat patients with Lyme disease using the standard of care they felt best benefited the patient.
Elizabeth May is allowed to introduce one private member’s bill in her four year term. She has chosen to help Canadians with Lyme disease get their right to health care back.
How can each one of us help May pass this bill?
We all need to do the following and ask for friends and family wherever they live in Canada to do the same to support you and get this National Lyme Strategy Bill passed.
1. Find out who your federal MP is. (Randall Garrison NDP)
2. Contact your federal MP and if at all humanly possible set up a face-to-face meeting.
• Tell them your story as briefly as possible.
• Tell them you know others across Canada in the same predicament.
• Tell them you are being denied your right to health care.
• Ask if you can count on their support to get this bill passed.
• Make sure your MP knows this is not just a ‘Green’ party bill, it is a bill that could affect every single Canadian including themselves, or their loved ones.
Remind your MP to vote with their conscience as this is a private member’s bill; no party vote needed.
3. Respond back to Chris Powell (Nicole Bottles’ mom) with name of your MP after you have contacted them and if you feel you have their support or not. Either leave a comment here or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many thanks everyone for doing your part in getting this legislation passed. I believe it is possible with the vast lyme network across Canada. Elizabeth May has started the ball rolling. It’s up to us to keep it rolling!
“Nicole has decided that between now and October she is going to knock on every federal MP’s door and ask for their support for a ‘yes’ vote. This bill could affect every Canadian,” said Powell via email.
Contact friends, family, acquaintances, and people in your local communities. Let them know how important support is. Ask them to contact their MP.