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S'enregistrer au Flux RSS Le Sénat du Canada
Blog > Women > Conservatives threathen Canadian healthcare
Apr 27

Conservatives threathen Canadian healthcare

Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette: My question for the leader was about Canada in particular, but we have also seen that the government’s commitment to women’s health outside the country has limits and that a Conservative rather than a Liberal approach is being taken to women’s health.

The Prime Minister has always talked about open federalism. We are wondering what has happened to this openness because, after the conference of health ministers, he announced the new formula without undertaking any consultations. When will the Prime Minister hold a real federal-provincial health conference, focussed on health and especially on developing best practices for the health sector, instead of making threats every week about reduced accessibility and tolerating private sector involvement in the public sector, knowing that the number of health workers is limited and that, together with the provinces, we must devise new models that will be accessible to all Canadians?

When will the Prime Minister of Canada and the provincial ministers of health meet to discuss healthcare?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): The government did announce that the Women’s Health Contribution Program will terminate in March 2013. This particular function does not and never did deliver front-line health services. We will continue to invest significant funds through CIHR to women’s health, and of course since 2006 we have invested $300 million in one program alone — the HPV prevention program.

I dispute the claim of the honourable senator that there are diminishing services. However, it is well known that our government has provided stable funding to the provinces and territories, which are ultimately responsible for the delivery of health, and this is the commitment the government has made far beyond the previous mandate. The provinces now have secure, stable funding. We have great evidence that provinces are working now on best practices as to how to deliver their health services in a timely, cognizant way. In the case of Ontario, even though they have been given a 6 per cent increase per year, they are actually spending only 3 per cent a year increasing their health care services. I would think that with stable funding the provinces and territories are well equipped now to make their own decisions with regard to their own health needs.

Senator Hervieux-Payette: I was not questioning the amount of money that was agreed to but rather the planning done by the federal and provincial governments that are involved, those paying a good part of it, because the provinces too are paying a lot of it. We have to examine the costs. We have to look at the aging population. We have to see what the best mechanisms are to keep people healthy and also to provide the services that are affordable and to ensure there is money left for education.

When will the governments meet, sit down and ensure we have a new model that will ensure that Canadians have good health services but also that the federal government, who is sending a cheque, is responsible for this amount of money?

Senator LeBreton: I suppose the honourable senator does not follow the activities of Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq very closely, but that is exactly what she does. She is the federal Minister of Health. There are regular federal-provincial meetings on health care, and so to suggest that somehow or other the federal government, now that we have provided stable funding, has taken a hands-off approach is of course incorrect.

Having said that, this government believes that the provinces and the territories are the primary deliverers of health services, and stable funding is what they require, and we actually trust the provinces. We do not believe there has to be a big brother overseeing every step of the way. We think they are perfectly capable of delivering their own health care services.

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