THUNDER BAY, ON --- May 6, 2015 --- Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett renewed the push for answers on Lyme disease in front of a Queen’s Park gallery crowded with those afflicted by the disease.
May is recognized as Lyme Awareness Month. Barrett attended an awareness rally in Caledonia last weekend, met with representatives of those afflicted at Queen’s Park and asked the Premier for an update during Question Period today.
Dunnville Lyme disease victim Well Yelland and 150 Lyme awareness supporters attended the Legislature on Wednesday.
“The treatment of Lyme disease is fraught with conflicting, unresolved medical, scientific and political dimensions,” Barrett said during Question Period. “Premier, what will you tell people, like Will Yelland up in the gallery, and so many others that are here today and across the province of Ontario?”
Following an answer from the Minister of Health, Barrett followed up, “We have government for a reason: for province-wide surveillance and education. We need guidelines for prevention, identification and management of this disease. All members of this Legislature have agreed, voting for a private member’s bill and voting for a motion. Again, Premier, you have a majority; you have the power. What can your administration tell these people today?”
The Health Minister’s response indicated work is underway on an action plan to address Lyme, and responding to questions regarding Michael Mantha’s motion on Lyme, committed to more action.
Barrett’s Private Member’s Bill An Act to Require a Provincial Framework and Action Plan Concerning Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases Act, 2014, also deals with other zoonotic disease such as West Nile and Ebola.
“I took a neutral, objective, science-based, research-based approach to crafting this legislation, calling for a provincial framework and action plan,” Barrett said. He believes this is the best approach as it will pull health experts together to come up with the action steps. Part of Barrett’s bill also directs the Minister to consult with other affected ministries, as well as the federal government and the public with respect to emerging infectious diseases.