Mr. Ron Cannan (Kelowna—Lake Country, CPC)
Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to my hon. colleague from St. Catharines and appreciate his words on this important bill before us today.
I come from Kelowna—Lake Country, the home of Firestorm 2003, the national disaster. The fires of August and September 2003 saw 30,000-plus people evacuated from their homes safely. There were no fatalities. At that time, we fortunately had a regional plan, a provincial emergency plan, albeit with some flaws, but we learned a lot from it.
Of course, Mr. Filmon had a national name and there was a presence to his report, which helped solidify things with our B.C. fire chiefs. In that recommendation was the need for a coordinated approach. Specifically during the fire, our fire chief, Gerry Zimmerman, was the credible, trusted voice during that national emergency. That is definitely something we need during a national crisis.
I have a question for my hon. colleague. While professional leadership and integrity are required during a national health crisis, will this legislation allow the Chief Public Health Officer to be the top go-to person during such a health crisis?
Subtopic: Public Health Agency of Canada Act