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Senators’ Statements — Pediatric Health Care

The Hon. Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of Julia Hanigsberg, President and Chief Executive Officer of Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, and Emily Gruenwoldt, President and Chief Executive Officer of Children’s Healthcare Canada. They are accompanied by other senior pediatric leaders from Canadian hospitals. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Moodie.

On behalf of all honourable senators, I welcome you to the Senate of Canada.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Hon. Rosemary Moodie: Honourable senators, a few months ago, our country was in the grip of an urgent pediatric crisis. It can be easy to forget now how bad things were then. Respiratory infections ran rampant, causing children, including infants, to be intubated at staggering rates. Parents waited for hours with sick children in waiting rooms, and some had to go home only to return to hospital much sicker. Kids who had to wait months for important surgeries saw these surgeries delayed even more as major hospitals recommitted resources to overburdened ICUs.

We were scared. We were angry. We were in a reality that should not be in this country of ours.

In the middle of it all, our health care workers kept us afloat. They demonstrated leadership, sacrifice and courage. They worked around the clock in extremely difficult circumstances, and because of their perseverance, we made it through the crisis.

Today, I rise to say thank you to the thousands of Canadians who stepped up to take care of our children in a moment of desperate need. There is no doubt you saved many, many lives. Kids cannot be an afterthought. They cannot be a lesser priority. We saw this past fall and winter what happens when they are second-class citizens.

As legislators, we can’t allow this trend to continue. The incoming injection of funds towards the pediatric system is a welcome step, but what we need is a sustained investment to grow the sector to the size it needs to be to take care of our kids. They deserve nothing less.

Thank you once more to our pediatric health care workers. I hope you find in Parliament the support that you have earned.

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