Paul YEWCHUK

YEWCHUK, Paul, M.D.

Personal Data

Party
Progressive Conservative
Constituency
Athabaska (Alberta)
Birth Date
July 10, 1937
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Yewchuk
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=22fc9587-155c-4a94-bbbf-5938153a44db&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
physician, surgeon

Parliamentary Career

June 25, 1968 - September 1, 1972
PC
  Athabaska (Alberta)
October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
PC
  Athabaska (Alberta)
July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
PC
  Athabaska (Alberta)
May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
PC
  Athabaska (Alberta)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 304)


March 13, 1979

Mr. Paul Yewchuk (Athabasca):

Mr. Speaker, I am not in

any way reflecting on your decision, but I want to point out that I have a copy of the blues as they originally appeared and they do differ from the statement which is reported in yesterday's Hansard. I think the difference is one of some significance. The original blues read, "Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is of the medical profession. Naturally he is asked by his friends to be a lobbyist," as opposed to the report in Hansard which says "he may be naturally asked by his friends to be a lobbyist".

We should consider that in conjunction with article 324 on page 114 of Beauchesne's fifth edition, which states that, in order to decide whether there is a question of privilege or not, much depends on the tone and the manner and the intention of the person speaking. It seems that the changes which were made are significant because they appear to be designed to soften up the intent of what she had originally said.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
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March 12, 1979

Mr. Paul Yewchuk (Athabasca):

Mr. Speaker, you may recall that late last fall, around Christmas time and early in January, there was an outcry from the Indian people because the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Miss Begin) had decided to withdraw certain health services from those people. The guidelines which she imposed at that time were based on a broad accusation that Indian people were abusing certain of the health services, particularly ambulance services, dental services, optometric services, and the use of prescription drugs. She made this broad accusation but to this date I have not heard from her one specific example of such abuse.

March 12, 1979

It seems to me that the minister, who poses or attempts to pose before the public as a humane lady, chose on this occasion to attack the poor and the weak-as we all know, the Indians in this country are, by and large, poor and certainly economically speaking, weak. As to their physical state, when we examine the statistics we see that the mortality rate for Indian children is much higher than the rate for the rest of the population; the life expectancy generally is much lower, and in many aspects of life the Indians are falling behind the rest of society. Thus it seems to me that it was a callous decision on the part of the minister to impose these guidelines which make it more difficult, if not impossible, for sick Indian people to get ambulance drives to hospital or to obtain the drugs they require, sometimes on an emergency basis. But she acted on the basis of a broad accusation that people were abusing the system.

As a result of representations from members of my party, the National Indian Brotherhood and other Indian organizations, she did, however, agree to suspend these guidelines for a six-month period. She explained she was doing so in order to have more time in which to consult with Indian people. Mr. Speaker, the fact is that so far she refuses even to talk with them. She has refused to set in motion any mechanism for the consultation process in which she told us she wanted to engage.

In support of this statement, I should like to read a telex which was sent to the minister by the National Indian Brotherhood. I may say I had a conversation with the president of the National Indian Brotherhood and the president of the Alberta Indian Association just this afternoon, so the information I have is very current. The telex reads:

It is unfortunate that you feel it is not applicable at this time to discuss the issue of health services and in particular the consultation mechanism established on January 24. You have my letter of January 28 outlining our concerns with the consultation mechanism. We have had no reply. My staff has been in contact with your office no less than eight times since January 24 attempting to set up a meeting with you to clarify the ongoing issue of health services to Indian people. The consultation process appears to be actually negating discussion and we have an executive council meeting and I am sorry I have to report that once again you have refused to meet to discuss and clarify the ongoing health issue.

It appears that the minister is stonewalling. It appears that her promise to negotiate was nothing more than a political ploy to take this issue out of public discussion until the election is over. It is quite clear that she has no intention whatsoever to carry out her promise to negotiate.

Another aspect concerns me very much insofar as her attitude is concerned. At the meeting of January 24 a representative of the National Indian Brotherhood presented the minister with a blanket as a token of esteem. It was a new Hudson Bay blanket. It was a very expensive and very good blanket. I am sure, Mr. Speaker, if you think back, you will realize that it was a very nice gift for the National Indian Brotherhood to offer the minister.

The minister took the blanket, but the next day she had the gall to telephone the president of the National Indian Brotherhood to inquire whether the blanket carried disease or whether there was a curse on it to harm her in any way. The response

Adjournment Debate

the National Indian Brotherhood gave the minister was that it was given to her with only the best intentions and that the minister could send it to her own laboratories to determine whether it carried any disease. I am astonished by the attitude of the minister. It seems quite clear that she has either been badly advised or has committed herself with less than the best of intentions as far as negotiations are concerned. If it was her intention to get past the election with this ploy and if the universe unfolds as it should, my party will pick up the pieces, the consultation process will indeed continue when the election is over, and a humane way will be found to solve this very serious problem.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   HEALTH AND WELFARE-HEALTH CARE OF NATIVE PEOPLES
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March 12, 1979

Mr. Paul Yewchuk (Athabasca):

Mr. Speaker, I also rise on a question of privilege. My question of privilege arises from a response which the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Miss Begin) gave me in answer to a question I had put to her. I think her attitude was rather despicable in that she accused me, or seemed to impute motives in my question. She suggested I was here as a lobbyist for the medical profession. In my view, that was a rather cheap shot on her part. It was not up to her to attack my integrity as a member of this House by suggesting that because I am a member of the medical profes-

March 12, 1979

sion 1 am in some way in a conflict of interest situation each time I ask a question in the health field, and particularly when my question relates to the medical profession itself.

It has been a long established practice in this House that medical doctors who are members of parliament are interested in the health field and they ask questions on all aspects of the health care delivery system. If the minister is allowed to get away with this, I do not see how any doctor in this House can get up freely as a member to speak on health issues. If he does imputations will be made in the same way.

To carry this one step further, if a medical doctor cannot speak on health subjects, how can a veteran who is Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. MacDonald), or how can a farmer who is Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Whelan), or how can a lawyer who is Minister of Justice (Mr. Lalonde), not be accused of being in a conflict of interest situation since they speak in areas in which they either have had direct connections or still do have direct connections? I can also mention the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles), who is a old age pensioner and frequently raises questions dealing with pensions; yet for some strange reason that seems to be quite all right.

I would say that if the minister is allowed to get away with this imputation of motives we are going to be left with a situation where only members who have no medical background will be allowed to ask questions concerning the health field and those knowledgeable in the health field will not be speaking in this House.

I ask that a ruling be made on this matter. I have been faced with this problem on a number of occasions in the past. As Your Honour will recall, a similar question of privilege was raised on behalf of members of the press gallery.

In my opinion, the minister should withdraw that imputation of motives. With all due respect to you, sir, if she does not 1 would suggest that we take at least a day to review the blues to make sure that this question is properly settled once and for all, so that I will feel free to perform my duties in this place as every other member is entitled to do.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   MR. YEWCHUK-RESPONSE OF MINISTER OF NATIONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE DURING QUESTION PERIOD
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March 12, 1979

Mr. Paul Yewchuk (Athabasca):

Mr. Speaker, my question is supplementary to the one asked by a member of the New Democratic Party concerning the medicare scheme.

I should like to ask the Minister of National Health and Welfare whether she is aware of the fact the average income of a doctor in Canada is substantially less than that in the United States, and whether the minister has been able to determine if this has been a factor in 800 well established Canadian graduate physicians having left this country for the United States in the past year?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   HEALTH AND WELFARE
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March 12, 1979

Mr. Yewchuk:

Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact the inflation rate last year in Canada was somewhere in the range of 9 per cent or 10 per cent, and that the increase per visit for the family doctor was from $7.20 to $7.35, for a grand total of 15

March 12, 1979

cents, can the minister indicate whether she thinks this is an outrageous increase and it is fair for the medical profession?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   HEALTH AND WELFARE
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