Hockey Night in Canada personality makes plea to Ontario Premier McGuinty
Hockey Night in Canada commentator Don Cherry is calling on Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty to pass the Defibrillator Access Act, which would require automated external defibrillators to be installed in public buildings around the province.
Cherry made the plea Tuesday during an unveiling of an AED at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the death of Chase McEachern. The youngster, who advocated for AED’s in public places, died from complications due to cardiac arrest at age 11.
Cherry said he spoke to the premier about Bill 41 at an NHL game about three years ago.
“He promised that it would be passed,” Cherry said. “Let’s get it going.”
The Ontario government says Bill 41, if enacted, would be the first legislation of its kind in Canada. The bill is currently in its third reading.
McGuinty told reporters in Brampton, Ont., that Bill 41 is a private member’s bill and it would be up to the legislature to decide its fate.
“We’ll have to see how it’s received by the legislature as a whole,” he said.
The premier said his father passed away in the family’s backyard so he realizes having access to “the right equipment at the right time, it can make a difference.”
Similar legislation exists in at least 17 U.S. states, with an eye to schools, health clubs and sporting facilities.
The machines are widely viewed as lifesavers and cost about $2,000. About 40,000 Canadians experience cardiac arrest every year.
Cherry said while AED’s are now more common, he’d eventually like to see them in every arena in Canada.
According to the Heart & Stroke Foundation, when defibrillation is applied with CPR in the first few minutes, it can improve the victim’s chance of survival by 75 per cent.