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Canadian Anaphylaxis Initiative Update

Cindy Paskey, Chris George, Debbie Bruce, Mindi Ferkul have updated us on the Canadian Anaphylaxis Initiative....

There has been much activity supporting Anaphylaxis Motion 546* over the summer/fall months. Following the Anaphylaxis Canada e-blast that informed Registrants of this Canadian campaign, we are receiving expressions of interest, questions, and increased support from people across Canada. Thank you!

Expertise with Advocacy and Political Campaigns

This Canadian Campaign has the advantage of expert guidance and years of successful experience. The work of our Team is being led by NASK member Chris George. Chris is the President of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS, a public relations firm specializing in advocacy campaigns, issue management and wordsmith services. Chris’s focus of work includes strategic communications counsel and campaign management, corporate positioning, and media and government relations.

Background

Motion 546 is intentionally vague. There's quite a process to go through, during which parliamentary Motions are researched and approved by government officials. Motion 546 was first introduced in 2007 by MP Rick Dykstra. At that time, considerable attention and research were devoted to creating a Motion that was acceptable for introduction. In 2007 there was no coordinated effort to move the Motion forward.

Earlier this year, some NASK and Mississauga Anaphylaxis Group members met with MP’s to discuss the CTA ruling and Air Canada’s response. Rather than a one-issue focus, the discussion evolved into re-introducing the 2007 Motion. MP Rick Dkystra, because of his current appointments, was precluded from re-introducing the Motion. His colleague, MP Dean Allison, agreed to do so. Rick and Dean are working together.

Strategically, the 'umbrella' Motion lets you personalize your reason for writing and meeting with your MP. You can describe challenges you and your family face, ask for support and personalize the impact this Motion will have on the lives of people you love. First hand knowledge, personal faces and stories of their constituents gained by MP's allows them to speak to the issues with recollection and understanding during discussions 'on the hill'.

Support

Every MP has received a letter from NASK, outlining the Campaign and asking for a response.

Constituents, also, contacted their MP’s – though, more MP contact is required.

Many MP’s have responded. Those that have indicated unwavering support will be actively engaged in future discussions.

We truly appreciate support received to date. Allergic Living included a notice in their Fall 2010 issue, p. 53, and on their Facebook page. AAIA and several other websites and bloggers have brought attention to this federal initiative. Anaphylaxis Canada sent an e-blast informing Registrants of the Motion. Thanks to personal efforts of various people, the City of Vaughan and the Regional Municipality of Niagara have passed Motions and written letters of support to the Prime Minister and other MP’s. Deputations are being made to other municipal governments.

Where the Campaign is Headed

Specific 'asks' are being formulated, in consultation with MP's who have expressed commitment.

First and foremost, this initiative is a national drive to raise awareness and achieve greater attention from decision makers in Ottawa.

Ideally, there will be federal coordination of programs and services responding to anaphylaxis, rather than isolated reactions on topical issues. Strategic central planning will include targeted and general public information initiatives. For example, educating the general public and food service providers on how to recognize and respond to an anaphylaxis emergency (much like the defibrillator initiative). Imagine the ripple effect if all first aid training providers had up-to-date, accurate anaphylaxis information in their training material (which I know from first-hand experience they do NOT).

We also seek a commitment to research, better and standardized food labelling (such as standardized cautionary/'may contain' statements), and transportation regulations that more fully address the legitimate concerns of allergic passengers.

How You Can Help

The single most important thing you can do is contact your MP.

Why? Your personal stories and views matter to people you elect, and they will recall your personal stories, voices and faces during discussions with Federal colleagues.

MP’s across Canada must hear, directly, from their constituents – by meeting with them, via phone calls, emails and letters. Please contact your MP, and encourage others to do the same. MP’s must hear the personal stories and know that this initiative will make an important difference to the lives of families in their community.

Truly, we can’t emphasize personal contact with your MP enough. Signing petitions, posting Facebook messages and exchanging emails will help, but they will not substitute.

What to Expect

Not every MP will be enthusiastic in her/his response. Some will quickly identify barriers.

Other MP’s will readily see and support the positive impact increased awareness and coordinated response will bring to families living with the challenges of life threatening allergies. You know what those challenges are! Tell your MP!

We are focused on success. We will work with those allies who express support.

Please Join

We certainly hope you will join our efforts!

Here is a link to every Canadian MP

Please keep us posted of responses you receive, as we are tallying results. Responses and messages can be sent to nask.niagara@gmail.com

We are happy to answer any other questions you might have.

We will provide updated info via www.nask.ca as time permits, and through this newsletter. Watch for our Facebook page ... coming soon!

*Motion 546 reads:

That in the opinion of the House, anaphylaxis is a serious concern for an increasing number of Canadians and the government should take the appropriate measures necessary to ensure these Canadians are able to maintain a high quality of life.

Best regards,

Cindy Paskey, Chris George, Debbie Bruce, Mindi Ferkul

Please feel free to contact:

Cindy Paskey, NASK President -- 905 934-0681 / nask.niagara@gmail.com
Debbie Bruce, Mississauga Anaphylaxis Group & NASK -- 905 828-1954 / debbiebruce-allergies@rogers.com
Mindi Ferkul, NASK 905 938-9100 / mindif@cogeco.ca

Don Tulloch, Legislative Assistant, M.P. Dean Allison -- 613 995-2772 / allisd0@parl.gc.ca

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