OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada will be in the spotlight Friday as it deals with the latest in series of divisive issues that is rooted in B.C. social policy battles. Canada’s highest court is set to rule on whether the criminal prohibition against anyone who assists a suicide — vigorously defended by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives — violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. One of the issues being argued is whether Parliament, or appointed judges, should decide such complex issues. A handful of B.C. MPs surveyed on that question Wednesday were naturally split along party lines.
Links to news articles written by or about Libby Davies.
New Democrats are asking the federal government to be more transparent about the steps being taken to prevent an Ebola outbreak in Canada and to produce a vaccine for the deadly virus. NDP health critic Libby Davies has written Health Minister Rona Ambrose, arguing that Canadians need to be kept well-informed in order to maintain confidence in the Public Health Agency's ability to handle the crisis. Canadians, she writes, should "feel certain that we are well-equipped to deal with the scope of the crisis in West Africa and the potential of an outbreak here in Canada." Davies specifically asks Ambrose to answer some specific questions, such as who is responsible for ensuring quarantine and treatment protocols in hospitals and who is responsible for ensuring health workers have the appropriate equipment.
Vancouver East NDP MP Libby Davies calls it the "NDP gay agenda". In an interview with the Georgia Straight from Ottawa, the veteran parliamentarian said that her party has brought forward six measures to advance equal rights for the LGBTQ community. "What we're saying with these initiatives is that although Canada has had many victories and many milestones, it's not over yet and there's still work to be done," Davies said. "We want to draw attention to that." The NDP held a news conference today in Ottawa to announce these measures, which comes just two days before the start of the WorldPride 2014 Toronto festival.
VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Vancouver’s safe injection site is waiting on Ottawa to renew their exemption from the Controlled Drug and Substances Act once again, but the Federal NDP health critic is concerned politics will get in the way of keeping the doors open. Even though the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2011 Ottawa must allow the safe injection site to continue operating, Vancouver-East Member of Parliament Libby Davies says recent political moves have her worried. “I guess I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the tremendous support that insite has is enough to be able to convince the Federal Government if they try to close down Insite they will have massive opposition on their hands.” Davies believes the Conservative Government isn’t even aware of how many lives have been saved by having nurses supervise injectable drug use on the Downtown East Side. Libby Davies says the proposed Respect for Communities Act introduced in October, along with the Conservative’s online petition coined “Keep heroin out of our backyards,” have her worried.“ The Conservatives have really politicized this issue. This is basically a health service to stop people from dying from overdoses, and help people get the treatment and the help they need. It’s that basic, it’s that straightforward,” says Davies.
Health Canada scientists are so concerned about losing access to their research library that they're finding workarounds, with one squirrelling away journals and books in his basement for colleagues to consult, says a report obtained by CBC News.The draft report from a consultant hired by the department warned it not to close its library, but the report was rejected as flawed and the advice went unheeded...Davies said Health Minister Rona Ambrose should ask her department what the situation is like today at Health Canada. "I think the minister should dig deeper and follow this up and find out what's really gone on and review why this report was just shelved," Davies said.
TORONTO - The federal Conservatives have betrayed Canada's most populous province by breaking their promise over health-care funding, Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews charged Tuesday. The Harper Tories promised all provinces a six per cent increase in health transfers, but they're only giving Ontario 3.4 per cent in 2014-15, she said. That means Ontario is out $300 million, while Alberta is getting about $1 billion more — a 38 per cent increase, Matthews said...The federal New Democrats say Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is using the oldest trick in the book. "To download to the provinces and to take care of your own health at the expense of somebody else, and that's what they're doing," said NDP health critic Libby Davies. "But I don't think it works because what he's doing is betraying the trust of the premiers and it means his word doesn't count for anything."
VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – It’s a disease on the rise, and there are now calls nationally for more of a focus on dementia, coming only days after a North Vancouver senior’s death. The federal government is being urged to come up with a better plan. NDP MP Libby Davies says people are worried about what will happen to them as they get older. “It’s basically a time bomb waiting to go off in terms of how it’s going to impact the next generation, and we just don’t have a timeline, a strategy, a plan in Canada to deal with it.” Canada is attending a G8 Dementia Summit tomorrow, but Davies says our country is trailing others. “There are many other countries that have much better systems and resources to respond to Alzheimer’s and dementia. In Canada, we don’t have that yet,” she adds.
The dad was just one of 40,000 people across Canada who received letters from Health Canada that identified they were part of the medical marijuana program. Deputy Health Minister George Da Pont has apologized for the privacy breach, writing that the department deeply regrets the administrative error...A spokesperson for the privacy commissioner said Thursday an investigation was underway. As of Friday morning the privacy commissioner had received 40 formal complaints about the letters. NDP health critic Libby Davies said it was shocking the envelopes went out in the general mail with the program identified. “It is a terrible breach of people’s privacy. I’m shocked,” Davies said. Davies said she doesn’t blame people for being skeptical about the government’s explanation it was an administrative error. “I am certainly going to pursue it. I want to find out how it happened. This is sensitive information for a lot of people,” she said.
The NDP Thursday called for a national framework to improve the quality of end-of-life care in Canada. Libby Davies, the NDP’s health critic and MP for Vancouver East, introduced a private member’s bill in the House of Commons calling for a co-ordinated, national response to continuing care. The bill was seconded by Charlie Angus, ethics critic and MP for Timmins-James Bay, who added a motion to establish a national strategy on palliative care specifically. “We know that many, many Canadians are falling through the cracks, we know that there’s not enough home care, long-term care or palliative care to meet the current demand in Canada,” Davies said.
NDP deputy leader Libby Davies, Liberal public safety critic Wayne Easter and Green MP Elizabeth May all spoke out at the morning press conference, held to encourage federal safety minister Steven Blaney to sign the required paperwork for Emery’s transfer home...Davies, who has been involved in the case since the beginning, said she was also disturbed by the very “political” comments that reportedly came from the minister’s office. “This press conference is not about the war on drugs, it is about a Canadian, who has been cleared by U.S. to return home,” said Davies. “I think it is better for Mr. Emery and his family to be here.”
Aboriginal people are more likely to contract HIV, become infected younger, receive treatment later and die sooner than other British Columbians, says the B.C. Ministry of Health. Aboriginal communities often struggle with problems that make both prevention of HIV infections and accessing treatment difficult, said Dr. Dee Hoyano, Vancouver Island Health Authority medical health officer. “We know aboriginal people are disproportionately more affected by HIV,” she said. First Nations members on Vancouver Island make up 5.8 per cent of the population, but account for 11 per cent of HIV cases...First Nations are Canada’s most vulnerable citizens and their HIV plight is complicated by the fact that responsibility for their health care is shared by federal and provincial governments, said Libby Davies, an NDP MP from Vancouver, who is federal Opposition health critic. “HIV/AIDS in the aboriginal community is a very serious issue, but this is something the federal government has direct responsibility for in terms of aboriginal people on reserves,” she said.
TORONTO -- Health Canada should regulate all entities that mix drugs outside a licensed pharmacy, said an expert who investigated why more than 1,200 cancer patients in two provinces received diluted chemotherapy drugs. Ottawa should step in because it's a "cross-border issue," Dr. Jake Thiessen said Wednesday after releasing his report commissioned by the Ontario government. "I believe in the safe and best interests of the nation of Canada, we need an agency that has national authority to actually regulate all of this," he said... "The federal government has to step up to the plate, they have to be proactive, they have to fill this loophole," said NDP health critic Libby Davies. "The issue of drug safety and Canadians' health is at risk here, as it has been."
B.C. leads the country in tackling HIV, but experts worry the lack of a nationwide strategy puts all Canadians at a higher risk of contracting the infection. If HIV were avian flu, Ottawa would mandate a national strategy to fight it, said Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. Instead, he said, “the federal government has continuously refused to get involved in the fight against HIV and AIDS. They feel that this is somebody else’s problem.” Experts credit that success to the province’s efforts to make early diagnosis and treatment a key part of its strategy to decrease transmission, illness and death...The B.C. approach to circumventing HIV and AIDS is “a tremendous success story,” and B.C. is unquestionably the national leader in fighting the infection, said Libby Davies, an NDP MP from Vancouver and the federal Opposition health critic. But Davies called the federal government both short-sighted and “incredibly irresponsible” in failing to create a national HIV policy based on Montaner’s progress. The all-party Standing Committee on Health’s recent study on health innovations failed to even mention HIV, said Davies, vice-chairwoman of the Conservative-dominated committee. That was despite Montaner testifying to the commitee about the need for federal leadership.
NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ont. -- Canada's provincial and territorial leaders vowed Thursday to fight Ottawa's controversial plan to fund jobs training for workers, saying the new scheme would require them to come up with more than half a billion dollars in extra cash..."It's clear the Harper government, who spent a great deal of money on ads extolling the virtues of a program that doesn't yet exist, is trying to pit some provinces against the others, said NDP critic Libby Davies. "One can only surmise that this is a calculated decision to divide the provinces, and to play one off against the other, and to give some information, and others no information," she said. "That creates a very unstable situation, makes it more difficult for the provinces themselves to work together."
I can’t say I was surprised when the Conservative government used its majority in the House of Commons in May to defeat a private member’s bill that would have required food manufacturers to lower sodium levels in their products or to alert consumers if they have not done so. After all, following their creed, they would see this as an unwarranted intrusion on business. And in regard to regulating the amount of sodium that can go into a food product, they believe in a voluntary approach. That would be nice if it would actually happen, but pardon me for being dubious.I believe that left on their own food manufacturers will provide the government and the food-buying public with nothing more than lip service. The bill, C-460, was sponsored by Libby Davies, MP Vancouver East, who is the NDP Spokesperson for Health. Beyond seeking a limit on sodium content, it also wanted to ensure that consumers had access to objective, clearly understandable and non-misleading information to facilitate healthy food choices. I found it hard to quarrel with the bill’s intent, as did all the opposition parties, many health organizations and the Canadian Association of Retired Persons.
OTTAWA – The federal government has introduced tough new rules for supervised drug injection sites in a move some see as an effort to stamp out such facilities. The government says it’s a response to a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that ordered the Conservatives to keep a Vancouver clinic open against their will. But NDP health critic Libby Davies said the government is effectively blocking any chance of setting up a new clinic. The proposed legislation would require advocates of new clinics to meet two dozen specific criteria before they can apply. Among other things, they’d have to canvass community opinion and gain the support of provincial and municipal authorities.
Supporters of Canada's only supervised injection site said Thursday they're confident Vancouver's Insite facility will survive a new legislative and political campaign launched by the Harper government against drug "harm reduction" programs. But they also said Ottawa's latest volley appears destined to succeed in preventing the opening of new centres offering clean needles and nursing supervision to addicts elsewhere in B.C. and Canada...Libby Davies, the New Democratic Party deputy leader and MP for the Vancouver East riding where Insite is located, slammed the Harper government's political approach to the bill..."The Conservatives shouldn't play political games with such an important issue of public health. The courts have been clear that the Conservatives need to base decisions on evidence and public health, not on their own rhetoric and ideology."
OTTAWA - The government will roll out legislation Thursday which would significantly raise the bar for groups wanting to set up injection sites where illegal drugs can be used with medical oversight, clean equipment and without legal consequence. NDP health critic Libby Davies said Wednesday Insite is an "important program" that "has saved people's' lives." "It's much better for people to be in a medically supervised facility when they're injecting and not dying from needless and preventable overdoses," she said.
A charitable organization that studies Canada's democracy wants to get tongues wagging on the Hill by talking about, well, talking. In honour of the summer reading season, Samara studied how much MPs and parties spoke in the House of Commons in 2012 and matched some members up with notable works of Canadian literature...The NDP, with 33 per cent of the MPs, spoke the most of any party at 44 per cent. Five of the top ten spots of most talkative members were New Democrats...Top ten most-talkative MPs: 1. Peter Julian, Burnaby—New Westminster (NDP) = 226,027 words 5. Jack Harris, St. John's East (NDP) = 113,819 words 8. Libby Davies, Vancouver East (NDP) = 85,689 words 9. Don Davies, Vancouver Kingsway (NDP) = 85,360 words 10. Jinny Sims, Newton—North Delta (NDP) = 82,770 words
Canadian premiers are being reminded that if a sodium-reduction bill dies in the House of Commons next month, the provinces will suffer the consequences of a salty food supply with higher health care costs. The Ottawa-based Centre for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is calling on provincial leaders to urge the prime minister and federal health minister to back Bill C-460, which is scheduled to be voted on May 8. If passed, the bill would require the federal government to introduce regulations concerning nutrition labeling on prepackaged foods, menu labeling at chain restaurants and advertising to children.