The following is an email response from the New Democratic Party of Canada to SOHC’s concerns about the loss of our National Health Accord, received March 28th:
From Thomas Mulcair, Leader of the NDP:
Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns about the Conservatives’ failure to negotiate a new health accord with the provinces and territories.
With the clock running out on the 2004 Health Accord, New Democrats are urging the Harper government to work out a deal to ensure that every Canadian has access to physician and hospital care when they need it—regardless of the where they live, their economic or social status. This was the vision of Tommy Douglas who believed that “health services ought not to have a price-tag on them, and that people should be able to get whatever health services they required irrespective of their individual capacity to pay.”
We know that there is an important leadership role for the federal government in health care delivery—the federal government should be providing a stable funding formula for the Canada Health Transfer, ensuring that all provinces and territories can provide a high standard of care and honour the Canada Health Act.
But, instead of providing leadership and properly funding our health care system, the Conservatives are slowly strangling it. They’re changing the way they divide federal health transfers, leaving some provinces worse off. They unilaterally imposed 36 billion dollars in cuts to health care funding and continue to refuse to negotiate with the provinces and territories on the health accords.
The result of all these Conservative cuts and inaction? Canadians will face a diminished health care system: even longer wait times, unequal standards of care across provinces and territories, reduced front-line services, continued inflation in drug costs and reduced access to home care and long-term care.
That is why Libby Davies, NDP Health Critic went to the people: she held dozens of public forums with concerned Canadians, health care workers, patients and researchers. She travelled the country listening to your concerns about our health care system. And, what she heard was loud and clear: Canadians care deeply about our public health care system and want to preserve and improve it. They expect to have access to high-quality care regardless of the community in which they live or their ability to pay. Libby took what she heard from Canadians and put together a document called: Health Care: Now is the time. A message from Canadians. A copy is attached for your information or you can download it here: http://xfer.ndp.ca/transfer/HealthCareMessage-EN-PRINT.zip http://xfer.ndp.ca/transfer/HealthCareMessage-FR-PRINT.zip
The NDP has a vision of a modern, well-funded public health care system that puts patients first. We have a practical plan to strengthen your public health care—not cut it. Because your family deserves the best quality care—wherever you live, whatever your income.
We are pushing for:
more affordable prescription drugs
access to care that’s closer to home
timely access to health professionals
new preventive health strategies
Rest assured that your access to quality health care is a top priority for the NDP. And, we’ll continue to stand firm in calling for the Conservatives to take this seriously and negotiate the 2014 Health Accords. We’ll continue doing everything we can to ensure equal, quality health care delivery to all Canadians.
Thank you for expressing your interest in this important matter.
All the best,
Tom Mulcair, M.P. (Outremont)
Leader of the Official Opposition
New Democratic Party of Canada