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This year, I found myself faced with a fact that I would have preferred to avoid: the 10th anniversary of this campaign. A birthday for which there is nothing to celebrate, 

When I think about all of it, this situation is just incredible. Why is it that, after all this time, this law has not yet been amended? A single word can sum up the whole work: inaction. 

Ten years of government inaction. 3650 days. 87,600 hours. We must do it. Ten years of promises, beautiful words, consensus, all political parties, on the fact that this situation must change and that this law is outdated. But there ends the goodwill. 

While I was listening to Justin Trudeau making a long summary of the last four years at the official start up of the elections, I was able to my own summary, which is also yours, in less than 4 minutes. 

It was very simple and I did not need an actuary or strategist to do so. It can be summed up as follows: 4 years of inaction added to the previous 6 years of inaction – 10 years of total inaction. 

Selective deafness of our elected officials 

How can this man and the members of his party, who, I remind you, all voted in favour of Bill C-291 tabled at the time by Denis Coderre (which aimed to increase illness benefits from 15 to 50 weeks) have ignored this major issue all their time in power? 

They were questioned about this inaction, and I would point out the excellent interview conducted by Patrice Roy of the CBC, which reminded Minister Duclos of this commitment and had gotten the promise that in 2016 things would indeed be amended. A few months later, Justin made the same promise on the airwaves during a debate with the audience. 

And since then? Total inaction. Avoidance. I no longer count the times when Minister Duclos was asked about it by many opposition members, he never answered the question. Never. Oh, he did give an answer… which was merely intended to highlight other “achievements” of his government, in no way related to the question asked, selective deafness obliges. 

Is Justin Trudeau interested in the plight of sick Canadians?

Did you know that during his tenure, Justin amended all other types of special benefits (parents of sick children, caregivers, compassionate leave)? At the risk of repeating myself, all other special benefits, SAUF sickness benefits. Obviously, I am in favour of these amendments because they address real needs and societal issues, but that does not solve our problem. So, despite my 10 years of hard work, despite the 600,000 signatures from across Canada, despite the 7 bills introduced and many political promises…. Zit, niet. It is a sad observation that Justin Trudeau is not interested in the living conditions of sick Canadians. Sick citizens are left to their misery and have to deal with these meagre 15 weeks of unchanged benefits since 1971. But who are they? These Canadians are people like you and me, most of whom have worked very hard all their lives. They are parents, spouses, employees, friends, brothers, sisters. Most of them are in the middle class, they take care of their families and contribute to society at all levels. Everything is fine, until the day of the diagnosis. Until the day the word cancer is spoken. Until the day another diagnosis of serious illness is pronounced or another major health problem occurs. It’s a dark day. It implies that we have to go through the coming year, as well as these events and all our responsibilities with a big maximum of $6,000. For your information, I inform you that the poverty line for a “single” person is around $22,000… 

At a time when it is almost inevitable to cross paths with disease, how is it that an “evolved” country like Canada does not have the decency to offer a benefit program that allows its citizens to treat themselves with dignity and then to regain their place as active citizens in society? In an era when it is now more relevant and pertinent than ever to be able to die with dignity, why are many of the people of this country condemned to heal themselves and survive in mediocrity and poverty? 

It is clear that our elected officials suffer from chronic irresponsibility when it comes to taking action. All that remains is to discover the real causes of this inaction. 

What can I do in less than 10 seconds?

Go to the 15semaines.ca/en site and with one click, fill out the form that will automatically send an email to your MP, your Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, Family, Children and Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, and Canadian political party leaders. 

The goal of this web campaign, conducted simultaneously across Canada, is to create a real sense of urgency, outrage and, above all, collective mobilization among all Canadians. With the approach of the elections, it is imperative to hold our elected representatives accountable to the citizens who elected them and that this law be amended to reflect today’s reality of 2019. When cancer, or another disease, affects a person, the whole life of a family changes. When poverty affects a person, a family, children, the all of society is impoverished! 

Thank you for getting involved and spreading massively in your networks!


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