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Ontario Hansard - 14-April2014

MEMBERS' STATEMENTS

SICKLE CELL AND
THALASSEMIC DISORDERS


Mr. Rod Jackson: I recently had the opportunity to meet with representatives from the Sickle Cell Awareness Group of Ontario and the Thalassemia Foundation of Canada. Thanks to these representatives, I learned more about sickle cell disease and thalassemia, two diseases that attack red blood cells.

Healthy red blood cells are essential to health, as these are the cells that provide oxygen to the body. When red blood cells aren't healthy due to sickle cell disease and thalassemia, it can lead to everything from pain to infection, diabetes, heart failure or even organ damage. Thankfully, with regular blood transfusions and proper treatment, most people suffering from these diseases can be treated effectively and with relatively little cost.

Yet there are severe gaps in our health care system which act as barriers to care for people suffering from these diseases, meaning that many people who suffer end up in emergency rooms across the province due to complications from their illness. Even worse, often when they arrive in emergency rooms they have to be transported to hospitals with teams who know how to deal with complications arising from these diseases, and this is costly to patients and to the province.

The problem is that Ontario lacks a coordinated, comprehensive health care strategy for people with these diseases. The need for a provincial strategy is made even more urgent given that sickle cell disease and thalassemia are the most common genetic conditions in the world and are emerging as significant problems right here in Ontario. This is why I urge my colleagues from all sides of the House to support the creation of a provincial strategy for sickle cell disease and thalassemia. Together, we can ensure that Ontario's health care system is one that we can be proud of, one in which every Ontario citizen can receive the care they need and deserve.

GURU STUDIO


Mr. Rosario Marchese: Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting Guru Studio in my riding of Trinity-Spadina. Guru produces some of the best children's television programming and interactive media in the world. It employs over 200 people from its location on Spadina Avenue in Toronto's former garment district.

Earlier this year, Justin Time, Guru's hit show for preschoolers, was nominated for three Annie Awards for animated programming and won the Canadian Screen Award for best preschool program.

Trinity-Spadina needs employers like Guru Studio. Their success demonstrates to talented young animators and game designers that they don't have to pack up and go to California to build their careers; they can produce world-class work right here in Toronto.

We need to continue investing in this growing sector of our economy. Ontario's supports for employers like Guru have paid huge dividends. We need to nurture their relationships with colleges and universities, and we need to ensure that employers like Guru are not squeezed out from ridings like Trinity-Spadina. Our cities need to have the power to plan for and preserve employment lands.

I would like to thank Guru for their gracious hospitality, and I look forward to their many future successes.

SIKH HERITAGE


Mr. Vic Dhillon: Vaisakhi is the holiest day in the Sikh calendar. It commemorates the founding of the Khalsa Sikh community in 1699 by Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

The founding father of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, gave the people a roadmap to live a peaceful and productive life. His main teachings are practised in three ways: vand chakkō, which means sharing with others, helping those less fortunate; kirat karō, which means earning and making a living honestly without exploitation or fraud; and naam japna, meditation on God's name to control your evils to eliminate suffering and contribute overall to a happy life for all.

Mr. Speaker, Sikh Canadians have contributed immensely to Ontario and Canada. Their participation in business and community life has added to the success of our province. For all Canadians, Vaisakhi provides an excellent opportunity to reflect on the tremendous contributions that Sikhs have made to this country's rich and diverse heritage.

We're also celebrating Sikh Heritage Month in Ontario. I would like to welcome all members of the Canadian Sikh Association who are here today in the House. I know there are a few, and we have one member. Welcome to Queen's Park.

I would like to invite all members of the chamber to join us in the legislative dining room between 5 and 7 this evening to enjoy some South Asian delicacies.

Once again, happy Vaisakhi. Vaisakhi di lakh lakh Vadhai. Thank you very much.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): A point of order from the member for Leeds-Grenville.

ORAL HEALTH


Mr. Steve Clark: Before I do my statement, I just want to recognize, seated in the west members' gallery-I know I introduced them this morning, but they are actually right here looking at me, so I want to make sure I recognize them-Dr. Raffy Chouljian, who is on the board of directors of the Ontario Dental Association. I'd like to welcome ODA representatives Frank Bevilacqua and Maggie Head. I also want to make a special introduction to Jennifer Boyd, representing Brush-a-mania. Welcome to Queen's Park.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Don't worry, that's not your statement. Go ahead.

Mr. Steve Clark: Thank you, Speaker. This past Friday, I had the opportunity to be part of an Oral Health Month event called Brush-a-mania in my riding at Benson Public School in Cardinal. Dr. Kim Hansen, who is on the ODA's board of directors, and Dr. Lance McIntosh, president of the Brockville Dental Association, had a captive audience as they interacted with the Benson students about the importance of brushing, flossing and a nutritious diet. I was charged with the giant toothbrush, and demonstrated how to brush all sides of the teeth-front, back and top-which also garnered, I have to say, a few giggles from the students. The three-minute brush-off, where students demonstrate their proper brushing habits, was a real hit. A special guest appearance by Timmy the Tooth was definitely a highlight of the brush-off and kept students engaged.

Being a part of this event was a healthy reminder of how important oral health is and its foundation in our overall health. It's important that we protect the smiles of our youth and give them the tools they need to be as healthy as possible and in future. I want to encourage all members of the Legislature to connect with a member of the ODA, and I encourage them to have a Brush-a-mania event in their own riding.

April is Oral Health Month in the province of Ontario, and I was happy to recognize the great work done by dentists across the province, both by participating in Brush-a-mania and in showing my support by adorning the Oral Health Month pin today in the House.

The ODA's message for this year's Oral Health Month is that dentists are the oral health care experts and the best resource patients have for information on achieving excellent oral health, including a healthy smile. I think this is an important message, especially as I see dentists reaching out to our students and building relationships with them from a young age.

Speaker, I'm happy to participate in Brush-a-mania and happy that ODA representatives are here.

RUN FOR ROCKY


Mr. Taras Natyshak: It was my extreme pleasure and I was proud this weekend to participate in the second annual Run for Rocky in support of gay-straight alliances in our local Essex county school system. The Run for Rocky was established in honour of Rocky Campana, who tragically took his own life at the age of 23. Rocky was a vibrant, talented and loving young man. Rocky was also gay. He experienced hardships and discrimination as he struggled to fit into a society that was not always welcoming and understanding. Although his family were supportive and loving of who Rocky was, they could not ease the pain that he felt.

Upon Rocky's death, the Campana family were subject to one final act of discrimination when Rocky's organs were excluded from being donated because Rocky was a gay man. In an amazing display of strength and love, Rocky's family have made it their mission to raise awareness about this discriminatory practice and also to raise funds for local gay-straight alliances.

Although the tally has not been finalized, based on the $68,000 they raised in the first year, and the increased support of numbers of corporate sponsors and participants this year, I have no doubt that this year's event was incredibly successful.

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I want to thank Rob and Nancy Campana and Rocky's siblings, Kirsten and Connor, and their extended family for an amazing event and for inspiring people to run for Rocky in support of those in our communities who require that support, and gay-straight alliances in our school system.

ORAL HEALTH


Mr. Bas Balkissoon: Mr. Speaker, April is Oral Health Month, and to recognize this, dentists embark on public awareness campaigns across Canada. Here in Ontario, Brush-a-mania was designed to promote oral health awareness among young children. Every April, local dentists and Rotarians visit schools across Ontario to teach children and youth about the importance of brushing, flossing and a nutritious diet.

On April 4, I attended Brush-a-mania, sponsored by the Don Mills Rotary Club, held at Silver Springs Public School, with my good friends Dr. Raffy Chouljian and Jennifer Boyd. Dr. Raffy is the chair of Brush-a-mania and sits on the Ontario Dental Association board of directors, and led the oral health education portion with the students at the school.

I've been attending Brush-a-mania for over 10 years, as I am a strong believer in this program. I know how important it is to reach and educate children at a young age on the significance of maintaining good oral health.

Students also participate in the Brush-a-mania challenge contest, which encourages them to track their brushing progress for 30 days.

Brush-a-mania has already reached over 400,000 students since it first began in 2001, and the plan is to continue to partner with dental associations and governments across Canada and internationally to promote April as Oral Health Month.

I want to acknowledge Dr. Raffy, the ODA dentists, Rotarians, teachers and parents who come together to support this wonderful initiative.

PASSOVER


Mrs. Gila Martow: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Ontario PC caucus, I would like to extend my warmest wishes to all of those who will be celebrating Passover in Ontario, Canada and all around the world.

As Jewish families sit down for the Passover Seder, they will retell the story of the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt after hundreds of years of slavery.

In addition, for the next eight days, they will eat matzo-unleavened bread that looks and tastes like a cracker-to remind them that when they fled Egypt, they did not even have time to bake their bread properly. So we can make one less pizza at the cafeteria next door.

A celebration of freedom and hope, Passover serves as a reminder that the freedoms we, in Ontario, cherish must never be taken for granted.

From our PC family to yours, I want to wish everyone celebrating a Chag Pesach Kasher v'Sameach.

FABIO BELLI


Mr. Rick Bartolucci: Unfortunately, I stand today to inform the House of the sudden passing of one of Sudbury's civic leaders. Fabio Belli, ward 8 councillor, was only 37 years old when he shockingly and suddenly passed away this weekend. He is survived by his wife, Susan, an elementary school teacher, and his two young, beautiful daughters, Emma and Brianna.

Fabio was a bright star in the city of Greater Sudbury's political universe, being elected in 2010. A successful businessman, he brought a business sense to council. He was a hard worker, always advocating for causes important to the people of Sudbury. He understood that development creates jobs. He understood that an active community network made for a better neighbourhood. He understood that our mighty Sudbury Wolves need a new arena to play in.

Aside from the political influences in his life, he most loved his wife, his children and his family. His family was his life.

He will be greatly missed, but his star will still shine brightly, and we will continue to be inspired by the person known as Fabio Belli.

Our sympathies go out to his family, his friends, our community and city council.

Rest in peace, my friend.

AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE


Mr. Rob E. Milligan: I want to just say, Mr. Speaker, that my statement is on the Kemptville closure, the satellite campus of Guelph University.

After a tremendous outcry from the residents of Northumberland-Quinte West via email, phone calls and also personal visits, I quickly reacted and immediately organized a meeting at the Codrington Community Centre to listen to the compassion and the need of the alumni in my riding of Northumberland-Quinte West. I have to thank the member from Leeds-Grenville, who came down that busy Saturday, along with the alumni from Kemptville college, to express a deep concern that they have with the closure of Kemptville college by the University of Guelph and this government.

We need to remember that there are close to 700 students who go to Kemptville college and are trained in the expertise of running agri-business and working family farms. For those individuals who are not aware, agriculture is the second-largest employer in the province of Ontario, with upwards of 160,000 people working in that sector who put food on our table every day.

The Kemptville college campus is very important to the people of Northumberland-Quinte West, and I want to thank again the member from Leeds-Grenville, and the hard work that Tim Hudak and the PC caucus are doing for them.


The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I thank all members for their comments.

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