Breakfast event: 3 December 2009


Canadian parliamentary breakfast briefing

Sen. Keon, MP Bonsant, Dr Shaw, MP Rae, MP Wasylycia-Leis
Sen. Keon, MP Bonsant, Dr Shaw, MP Rae, MP Wasylycia-Leis

Organizer: PMNCH, SOGC
Event dates: 3 December 2009
Venue: Ottawa

3 December 2009 \ Ottawa – Canadian Parliamentarians and Senators are promising to urge the Canadian government to make maternal, newborn and child (MNC) survival a priority at the G8 and G20 meetings to be hosted by Canada in June 2010. The action came at a special briefing breakfast co-hosted by PMNCH and the FIGO/Society of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians of Canada (SOGC) on Canada’s Parliament Hill, sponsored by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Canada Group, and held in conjunction with the PMNCH Board meeting, 3-4 December.

The breakfast meeting brought together some of the world’s top experts on MNC health from the PMNCH Board with Canadian parliamentarians. The briefing was moderated by Dr Dorothy Shaw of the University of British Columbia, and was hosted by Parliamentarians from each of Canada's four major parties:

  • Hon. Senator Wilbert Keon (Conservative)
  • Bob Rae, Member of Parliament (Liberal)
  • France Bonsant, Member of Parliament (Bloc Quebecois)
  • Judy Wasylycia-Leis, Member of Parliament (New Democratic Party)

Four representatives of The Partnership presented at the Breakfast:

  • SOGC Executive Vice-President, Dr André Lalonde, presented the plight of maternal, newborn and child health, noting that progress is possible, but that the achievement of the maternal goal lags behind all others.
  • The Hon. Minister of Health of Nigeria, Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, spoke of Nigeria’s commitment to investing in health systems and MNCH health and in maternal empowerment. He called for Canada and other countries and development partners to make maternal health a No 1 priority – even above the environment.
  • PMNCH Director Dr Flavia Bustreo urged Canadian Parliamentarians to take a leadership role at the G8 and G20 on MNCH, and highlighted the value of working together with the IPU internationally.
  • UNFPA Deputy Director, Dr Purnima Mane praised Canada for unveiling a Child and Youth Strategy, and pointed to the need to work together with a human rights and gender perspective, calling for governments to ensure that the declarations they have signed are enacted.

The four chairs and representatives from parties acknowledged their willingness to make maternal, newborn and child health a priority. The MP Bob Rae proposed to create an all-party committee to continue to bring the issue forward. Senator Sharon Carstairs announced her Motion 105 to the Canadian Senate to make the issue of maternal and child health a priority topic at the 2010 spring G8/G20 meetings. Please find in the LINK SECTION on your right, the full text of speeches and presentations of PMNCH in the Document Section, and several 'Quotes of Note' from the Canadian Parliamentarians.

Following the meeting, a motion was proposed in the Canadian Senate to focus attention on MNCH at the next G8-G20 meeting, to be hosted by Canada in June 2010. The motion, proposed by Senator Sharon Carstairs, follows the adoption of an all-party resolution in Canada's House of Commons in June 2009 to re-commit to reducing maternal and newborn mortality by 2015. The motion is due for debate in early 2010. On your right, please find the link to the full text of Senator Carstairs’ Motion and speech to the Senate on 3 December 2009.

Parliamentarians present at the Breakfast briefing included: MP France Bonsant, MP Blaine Calkins, MP Kirsty Duncan, MP Cathy McLeod, MP Keith Martin, MP Bernard Patry, MP Bob Rae, MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis and Senators Sharon Carstairs, Joan Fraser, Wilbert Keon and Lucie Pépin. Also present was former First Lady and White Ribbon Alliance representative, Maureen McTeer.