Hon. Michèle Audette: Honourable senators, it is February, the love month. More importantly, it is heart month, and I rise to speak to you with an open heart. I was heartbroken when I learned that research on heart disease and stroke in women is 14 years behind — that’s my son’s age — and that two thirds of clinical studies focus on our sons, our brothers, our fathers, that is, on men. Also heartbreaking is the fact that heart disease and strokes are the leading cause of premature death in women in Canada.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, heart disease and stroke claimed the lives of 32,271 women in Canada in 2019 alone. That is one woman dying every 16 minutes. I’m sure you can understand why that resonates so strongly with me.
Colleagues, women don’t always suffer a Hollywood-style heart attack like we see on TV or in the movies. A common symptom is severe chest pain. The signs and symptoms of a heart attack often go unnoticed by half of these women.
My dear family of female senators, my dear women friends, my heart’s desire is to touch your hearts and ensure that all these women finally get the right protection. It’s their turn. I won’t get into the details of the pains and symptoms, but it can happen to us.
Don’t lose heart, because Heart and Stroke is working hard every day to close those gaps and fight heart disease and stroke to keep us healthy. We deserve it too.
I hope this heart-to-heart has meant as much to you as it did to me. Take care of your heart. I’m trying to take care of mine.
In closing, I’d like to mention a warm-hearted Innu man who was just appointed to the Heart and Stroke board: Francis Verrault-Paul. I admire this young man so much. Tshinashkumitin for getting involved.
Remember, anything is possible when your heart is in the right place.