Group urges passage of MPís dementia bill

We are a group of people living with dementia in Ontario. Our group was formed in the fall of 2014 with the purpose of influencing policies, practices, and people to ensure that we, people living with dementia, are included in every decision that affects our lives.

Our vision is for people living with dementia in Ontario to be directly involved as experts and at the center of our own care.  Our first of three goals is to be involved in the development and implementation of public policy that will affect people living with dementia across Ontario.

We believe that dementia bills and motions are non-partisan.  Therefore, we were shocked when your government, on March 13, announced it would oppose Bill C-356, the National Strategy for Dementia Act, and instead introduce its own motion, put forward by MP Ben Lobb. This is a cop-out as a motion is NOT legally binding. We demand our politicians vote for a law and not a motion.

When you have dementia, you worry about the time. How much time do you have before you: get worse, are moved into a long-term care facility; are unable to participate in committees; you die. Yes, research is important. But so is our current living ability.  We need an integrated national strategy, which will help drive our provincial strategy.

This memberís bill has been years in the making. And yet you oppose it only weeks before the vote. Does this really give an appropriate amount of time for Canadians to hear and understand what the difference is between a law and a motion?

It goes without saying that the issue of dementia should be non-partisan. We plead with you to vote with your conscience and do what you know is right and vote in favour of MP Claude Gravelleís bill on May 6.

Bill Heibein
Ontario Dementia Advisory Group (ODAG)
Kakabeka Falls