'People are in despair': MP delivers farewell speech with plea for palliative care improvements
Published Tuesday, May 7, 2019 10:53PM EDT
Conservative MP Mark Warawa delivered a powerful farewell to the House of Commons on Tuesday, in which he called for the overhaul of the palliative care system.
Warawa, who has pancreatic cancer that has spread to his lungs, colon and lymph nodes, recently discovered the state of the system during a recent hospital stay in Vancouver.
“I asked for palliative care and I was there for 15 days and of the thousands of doctors, there (are) two palliative physicians at (the Vancouver General Hospital) and I never saw them,” he told his fellow MPs.
"Science has shown us that you can live longer and (have) a better quality of life, in some cases, if you're given palliative care. But that was not provided to me, those options. Why is that? The system's broken and needs to be fixed."
Warawa said between 70 and 84 per cent of Canadians do not have access to palliative care and hopes in the next election, the government makes it a priority to improve the system.
“People are left in despair, emotions are raw, the family support is not there, and they’re not given the opportunity for palliative care,” he said.
Warawa, a father of five and grandfather of 10, also urged his colleagues to spend some quality time with their loved ones while they still can.
“I encourage each of us to make sure that we’re taking time to take care of ourselves and spend time with our family because when you're gone, you're gone, and it's over,” he said. “So, make sure that's a priority in your life."
Warawa has represented the riding of Langley—Aldergrove since 2004 and was named parliamentary secretary to the Minister of the Environment in 2006.