'Nobody is listening to them:' Saskatoon MP demands Ottawa consult with those who say they have Lyme disease
Kevin Waugh says constituents first raised the issue with him last summer
Saskatoon-Grasswood MP Kevin Waugh believes that some of his constituents' and other Canadians' concerns about Lyme disease are falling on "deaf ears" with the Canadian government.
The Conservative politician said issues around the disease — mainly how it's diagnosed — were first raised by residents while door-knocking last summer.
He's since met with others who say they suffer from the disease and encounter roadblocks when it comes to getting tested.
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"You feel for these people because their life has been put on hold for months and in some, cases for years," he said Sunday.
Waugh said he's voiced concerns about the disease in the House of Commons and to Health Minister Jane Philpott.
"So far it's kind of fallen on deaf ears."
Where will $4M go?
Waugh is criticizing the recently announced plan by the federal Liberals to spend $4 million towards Lyme research, saying it's unclear how exactly that money will be spent.
The government has pledged it will be put towards improving treatment and diagnosis.
"They've thrown $4 million towards it, where is it going, how are you going to diagnose it, there's a lot of questions with it."
He believes Ottawa first needs to listen to those who say the have the disease.
"Nobody is listening to them. How would you like to be in their shoes today?"
It's a view shared by Jim Wilson, founder of the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation, which provides advice to people who believe they have contracted the illness and also advocates for better awareness.
"If we're going to spend more money doing computer modelling or just analyzing ticks and failing to look inside the human body and actually look for this disease, create better diagnostics, then we're going to waste another decade," Wilson said.
Calls for better testing
Overhauling the diagnostic framework and providing better training for medical professionals are steps Waugh wants to see taken.
He underlined the urgency of the issue by pointing to the thousands of dollars people can spend in out-of-country labs to get a diagnosis and believes the Ministry of Health should be doing more.