Ernie Zivny was a victim when he suffered a workplace accident and became a victim once again when he required a blood transfusion to save his life.
Unfortunately, the blood he was given was not safe. Now, my friend Ernie - like too many others - suffer from chronic Hepatitis C. It has turned their lives upside down. A nightmare most of us could not imagine. It drains your energy and destroys your life.
Ernie has lost much over the past 28 years. He is unable to work, and he and his family have suffered greatly, financially, socially, and emotionally. He is a proud man who once owned his own home and two apartment buildings. He was able to support his family and contribute to our community as an active volunteer and employee. He has nothing much left now but to wait for this disease to destroy his liver and end his life.
The federal government continues to victimize him, failing to provide the compensation they know he deserves.
The federal government saw fit to compensate victims who received tainted blood between 1986 and 1990. For some time now, the government has recognized that tainted blood was also given to patients prior to 1986 and post-1990.
Ernie was among the pre-1986 group.
As a result, a Parliamentary committee has voted unanimously to provide compensation to all identified victims. Yet the Liberal government continues to drag its feet on the issue. To delay compensation by stating that lawyers are working on the issue is both cold and callous.
Our MPs Diane Marleau and Ray Bonin have done nothing to assist proper compensation of all remaining Hep C victims. But then, Liberal governments have only acted when forced to by law and embarrassment.
It's long past time that people like Ernie receive the money they so rightly deserve, rather than allowing government lawyers and class action lawyers to reap the benefits. It's long past time that our government start working for people.