Speech by Lynn Wells, SOHC Director

Thank you for joining us today. I am a Director of the Princeton Support Our Health Care group, and a resident of Hedley. Some Hedley residents come to Princeton for their medical services, some go to Keremeos, and some to Penticton. It is important to us to have adequate health care in all these locations.


I want to relate a conversation I had recently. A group in Hedley invited Dan Albas, Conservative MP and the Conservative candidate in the upcoming federal election, to talk to us. It is a chill wind here today and what Mr. Albas had to say was equally chilling. I expressed the concern of many people in this area about the expiry of the Canada Health Accord, and our concern that Prime Minister Harper appears to be opposed to signing a new Accord.

Mr. Albas informed us that – the role of the Federal government has been that of a tax collector. The Federal government collects income taxes, and then it passes that money on to the Provinces who are responsible for administering health care. Since it is the mandate of the Provinces to provide health care, so it would make more sense for the Provinces to collect the taxes they need, instead of the Federal

If that is the position of the Conservatives, what does this mean?
* If the Provinces and Territories have to start collecting income tax to pay for their own health systems, this means that the have-not provinces and territories, or any province or territory that has a small population and a small tax base, will collect less. The Yukon, for example, with a population of around 35,000 people, cannot possibly collect enough taxes to fund an adequate health care system for its residents.
* Without Federal government oversight, there is no guarantee that health care will be consistent and accessible across Canada.
* The result of inadequate health care will be the depopulation of remote and rural areas because people cannot continue to live in areas with inadequate or no health care and home care services.

My Canada used to be like the Three Musketeers: All for one and one for all. No longer. My Canada is disappearing before my eyes, being dismantled piece by piece. Harper, shortly after he took office, said that Canadians would no longer recognize their country after he was finished. I am afraid that is true.

What has the Harper government done so far?

Harper has reduced personal income tax for high income earners.
Harper has eliminated equalized transfer payments to the Provinces.
Harper is cutting the budget of the CBC – our only national network that serves Canadians from coast to coast to coast
BUT has he made cuts to the pensions of Federal politicians? OF COURSE NOT!!

Somehow, Harper can find money to send Canadian troops to Syria but cannot find money to adequately fund Canada’s health system.

The security of having a social safety net is no longer there. Universal health
Care used to be one of the benefits of being a Canadian citizen, which we all paid for, through our income taxes. We all paid for a health care system, which looked after us all. It was all for one and one for all.

Before you vote in the next Federal election, ask your candidates what their position is on the Canada Health Accord, and having a healthy health care system. Then, vote for the candidate that supports a healthy health care system for us all.

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