Yesterday was the first meeting of the Commons Standing Committee on Health to study how Canada might create a national pharmacare program. First recommended in a the1964 Royal Commission on Health Services, Canada remains, “the only country in the world with a medicare system that excludes prescription drugs as if they are not part of the health-care system.”
Michael Butler's blog
This week Council of Canadians representatives joined over 140 health care advocates from across Canada meeting with MPs new and old. Incredibly, over 130 MPs on parliament hill we met with during the lobby to protect, strengthen and expand our universal public health care.
Last week the federal health minister met with her provincial counterparts to discuss the future of medicare. The Council of Canadians joined other health allies at the meeting and shared our priorities with the ministers at the meeting.
On behalf of the Council of Canadians, please allow me to congratulate you on your appointment as Canada’s new Minister of Health. We look forward to working with you to strengthen our public health care system and to take advantage of this important opportunity to build a more equitable medicare system in Canada.
The news yesterday that the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations have concluded is one that should worry Canadians, especially in regards to the relationship between intellectual property rights (IP) and pharmaceuticals (the text of the TPP includes 29 chapters, only five of which are about trade).
Last week, the Council of Canadians and CUPE Saskatchewan conducted a five city tour to raise awareness about the increasing privatization of public health care in the province. Sadly, we are seeing, “increased creeping privatization" in the heartland of medicare. Brad Wall has been behind backdoor cuts and policy and legislative changes. The founding principle of medicare – need and universality– is being eroded.
The 2015 election campaign is well underway and the airwaves are fully saturated with political messages. Yet, of particular concern there seems to be a conspicuous absence of any talk regarding Canadian health care and the devastation caused to the system over the past 9 years of Conservative rule. In the only debate so far with all the national leaders, healthcare was given a passing mention only 3 times. At the same time, a recent poll highlighted that 73% of Canadian voters feel ‘fixing healthcare’ is an absolutely crucial policy plank for parties to address to win their vote.
It’s a sad day for health care in British Columbia as Doctor Profit (Brian Day) was elected president of the Doctors of B.C. When the ballots were counted up, Dr Day won by a single vote (Dr. Alan Ruddiman, a rural family physician in Oliver, garnered just one vote less — 945 — and Dr. Lloyd Oppel, an emergency medicine physician at the University of BC Hospital, got 285 votes).
“We must send the message to all political parties that our health is not for sale. Too many people have fought too hard and too long to end up being left with so very little. Unlike this government, the people of Ontario think access to quality health care in their community is right and not a privilege. These hospital cuts are about two different sets of values, ours and theirs.” — Michael Butler, Health Care Campaigner, Council of Canadians
On March 31 come join the National Day of Action for a New Health Accord and attend one of the over 50 rallies across Canada. It is time to let the federal government know that you #stand4medicare, demand a new Health Accord, and will be voting health in 2015.