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[CUPE healthcare list] Senate Review of the Accord on Health Care Renewal: Tories shirking responsibility: NDP
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- Subject: [CUPE healthcare list] Senate Review of the Accord on Health Care Renewal: Tories shirking responsibility: NDP
- From: Jennifer Whiteside <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Wed, 9 Mar 2011 15:44:27 -0500
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Tories shirking responsibility: NDP
The Kingston Whig-Standard
OTTAWA -- New Democrats are calling on the feds to have MPs -- not unelected senators -- review the Canada Health Accord.
The agreement, signed in 2004 by then-prime minister Paul Martin to provide guaranteed federal funding to the provinces for health care, expires in 2014.
Earlier this year, the government asked the Senate -- instead of Parliament's health committee -- to undertake the mandatory review of the accord.
Canada's public health-care system costs about $192 billion annually, and consumes about half of all provincial budgets.
NDP health critic Megan Leslie said Monday the federal government has dropped the ball on health care and is shirking its responsibility to provide leadership in the upcoming negotiations with the provinces and territories.
"With 2014 just around the corner, we really need to start thinking about the accord under the Canada Health Act, because in 2014 it comes up for renegotiation," Leslie said. "We have a huge question in front of us. In 2014, are we going to have the status quo? In 2014, will medicare be fighting for its life, or in 2014, will we re-imagine and re-envision health care as we know it?
"We have seen a profound lack of leadership when it comes to health care in Canada," she added. "Now, they've asked an unaccountable and unelected Senate to review the Canada Health Accord, instead of the democratically elected representatives of the House."
Government House leader John Baird recently defended the government's decision to get the Senate involved.
"The House health committee of elected representatives is certainly free to look into any matter it wishes. We have a minority on that committee," Baird said, hinting the Conservatives can't force the committee to do anything.
"One of the things that is important with respect to health care is that this government, instead of cutting health care by $25 billion like the previous government did, has increased health-care spending by 30%.
"That is a great accomplishment of the federal government."
Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq has also repeatedly said the government is committed to Canada's universal and public health-care system.
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