For parents, the birth of their child is a wonderful, exciting moment. Despite the stresses often characteristic of raising children, watching our kids grow up is a special blessing many of us know well. Yet sometimes, this beautiful picture is not the reality for many Canadian families.
Sadly, some Canadian parents experience the tragic loss of their infant child only a short time after his or her birth. Here in Canada, between 15% and 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage and over 1,000 pregnancies end in stillbirth every year. Furthermore, almost 2,000 infants die before the age of one every year.
As any who have experienced the grief of loss know, such loss isn’t easy. Now imagine that in the midst of this grieving, the government cuts off your parental benefits and calls to inform you that you must pay back the money you received in the days following the death of your infant child. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happens to Canadian families living through these difficult circumstances.
We all understand the importance of responding with compassion to those facing difficult circumstances so we should expect the same from our government. My colleague, Conservative MP Blake Richards, introduced Motion 110 to take the first step in helping to improve the compassion shown for families in these situations. This motion instructs a parliamentary committee to study the impact on parents who have suffered the loss of an infant child, and to make recommendations to help improve the level of support for grieving parents. It seeks to ensure parents no longer suffer any undue financial or emotional hardship as a result of the design of government programming. I was pleased to extend my support for this motion as a joint-seconder.
When M-110 was first debated in the House of Commons recently, Liberal MP Karen McCrimmon gave a speech on behalf of the Liberal government, making several excuses as to why the Liberals could not support this motion. In order to ensure grieving parents get the support and compassion they deserve, we need the support of the Liberal majority for this motion to pass. Even if Justin Trudeau won’t support M-110, he should at least allow his Liberal MPs to vote their conscience. Please consider sending him an email at PM@pm.gc.ca to urge him to allow for a free vote on M-110.
Please also consider contacting MP Karen McCrimmon (613-992-1119, Karen.McCrimmon@parl.gc.ca), MP Adam Vaughan (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister Families, Children and Social Development, 613-992-2352, Adam.Vaughan@parl.gc.ca), and MP Bryan May (Chair of Human Resources Committee, 613-996-1307, Bryan.May@parl.gc.ca) to call on them to support this compassionate motion. I’d appreciate if you copied my office on your emails at Ted.Falk.C1@parl.gc.ca. Together we can ensure grieving parents get the support and compassion they deserve.