Rafferty Re-Introduces Bill to Establish National FASD Strategy
OTTAWA – Member of Parliament John Rafferty (Thunder Bay – Rainy River) rose in the House of Commons today to re-introduce a Private Members’ Bill that calls for the development and implementation of a national strategy to combat Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
Rafferty formally tabled Bill C-227 (An Act respecting the establishment of a National Strategy for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) which would commit the federal government to developing a national strategy for the treatment and prevention of FASD. “FASD is a serious, but entirely preventable, public health issue and a national strategy is long overdue,” Rafferty said.
Rafferty said he has taken up the FASD issue in parliament because he has been asked to do so for several years by a number of constituents and local groups in Northwestern Ontario. ”I’ve always been concerned about FASD, and continue to have meetings with constituents who have worked to educate me and further my knowledge about the issue,” Rafferty said. “They’ve shown me the way forward and asked for my help, so I am more than happy to contribute to their efforts in any way that I can in Ottawa.”
While C-227 will not be debated before the next election, Rafferty said he views the tabling of bills to be part of the agenda setting function of parliament and an important part of his job as an MP and member of the Official Opposition. “The Harper majority government has a mandate to do what it pleases when it comes to tabling and passing new legislation, but I think as the Official Opposition it is incumbent upon my New Democrat colleagues and I to propose policies and legislation to offer Canadians and the Harper government an alternate way forward. I hope they will look at C-227 and implement a national FASD strategy for the benefit of all Canadians.”