Green candidate – Mark Vercouteren – Chatham-Kent—Leamington

The Green Party believes prevention is the best option. Delaying makes the situation worse, especially for conditions that need immediate attention and treatment such as for cancers.

My wife and I both have lost several family members to cancer. I currently have a family member going through cancer treatment who was diagnosed during COVID. It was found, and treated quickly, but we know many more aren’t so lucky. My dad also died in Dec, 2020 of an undetectable cancer that spread, found too late. We have a few other people we know who currently have cancer, and had cancer screenings delayed due to COVID. It was most worrisome for my wife as she is susceptible to uterine cancer due to PCOS.

Question 1: Cancer Can’t Wait: COVID-19 disruption of cancer care in Canada

A. Provide transfer payments to the provinces to be used to deal with the backlog of tests, procedures, and surgeries?

Yes. I would also like to add that we reevaluate the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) so that rural communities are being covered with an equitable amount of funding to meet the needs of the community. It is also our goal to use telemedicine, or virtual care to supplement where possible, especially in rural areas. Universal pharmacare.

B. Encourage the governments of provinces and territories to include the continuation of essential cancer care in planning for future crises and pandemics?

Yes. We want to order a public inquiry that evaluates the joint response between all levels of government with the purpose of examining what went well, and what could have been done better. Also create an intergovernmental rapid response task force, which can be activated immediately when facing an emergency. Prepare for future pandemics by investing in, and restructuring our health care, and long-term care systems.

C. Ensure that the Public Health Agency of Canada takes cancer patients’ need for dependable access to medical care into account in their plans and recommendations for future pandemics?

Yes. It is also our goal to ensure that Canada has a robust capacity for pharmaceutical manufacturing. Ensure that Canada has a sufficient PPE stockpile by increasing domestic production.Dedicate specific funding to strengthening the integration of public health with community-based primary care as the first access point of the health care system. Provide the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) with long-term funding to protect public health, and to be ready with surge capacity in the event of a crisis.

Question 2: Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits

A. Recognize that there is a need for a new process that acknowledges that some patients, including cancer patients, experience extended periods of treatment and recovery, and hold open consultations with Canadians about how this process will be developed and implemented?


B. Use the results of these consultations to lengthen sickness benefits for Canadians undergoing treatment for cancer as well as other serious illnesses that require long periods of treatment or recovery so that Canadians who are ill are not penalized by the current limit of 15 weeks of sickness benefits?


C. Cancel the two-week waiting period for EI Sickness Benefits so that sick Canadians are not penalized?


The Green Party also has the goal to implement a Guaranteed Livable Income program. It would serve as a supplement for, and complement to existing public services, and unlike provincial welfare regulations, would not discourage work. It would also replace other government programs such as disability, welfare, EI.

The Guaranteed Livable Income program would cover everyone, with a benefit amount gradually decreasing as other income increases. Seniors’ and children’s benefits would remain in place. We also want to improve, and strengthen parental leave.  Make parental leave more inclusive so it covers leave to care for elderly family members, leave following miscarriages, and more,and more flexible, and better paid. Universal child care. Also change the Home Renovation Tax Credit from $10,000 per household to $10,000 per person for more people to age in place, which may be needed if the cancer leads to a disability.

Question 3: Breast Cancer Screening

A. Place a moratorium on the use of the 2018 guidelines and create a new Task Force which incorporates relevant expert opinion?


B. Ensure that the flawed process and lack of accountability of the Task Force be reviewed and revised to align with international guidelines and methodology standards?


C. Ensure that future guideline panels include content experts and patients?


D. Create a new Task Force which accurately incorporates relevant expert opinion?


It is also our policy to encourage the most people to get the vaccine would reduce the number of COVID patients taking up valuable beds.

I also came across an article regarding the mRNA technology where they are in trials to hopefully find a cure for cancer.

Additional information on Green Party policies to reduce cancer risks:

  • Pass legislation to give Canadians the right to a healthy environment, promoting greater transparency
  • Set targets for reducing the use of pesticides in agriculture through programs to assist farmers in moving to organic, and regenerative farming.
  • Strengthen the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) to limit the approval, and use of toxic chemicals that affect our health, and environment.
  • Invoke the precautionary principle in making decisions about approvals of products, substances, projects, and processes where there is the potential for irreversible harm. If there is no scientific proof of safety, then approval will be withheld.
  • Revive, and expand the National Pesticides Monitoring, and Surveillance Network.
  • Create an adverse effects reporting database for doctors, and emergency rooms to keep track of health impacts of pesticides, and other chemicals.
  • Ban neonicotinoid pesticides, which kill bees, and other pollinators, and support farmers in shifting to alternatives.
  • Ban all forestry, and cosmetic uses of glyphosate-based herbicides as well as their use as a pre-harvest desiccant.
  • Ban all toxic ingredients in personal care products.
  • Develop a national water strategy to ensure safe drinking water for all Canadians.

Thank you for speaking out on this issue.


Mark Vercouteren
Green Party Candidate for Chatham-Kent—Leamington