Council of Canadians vice-chairperson Leo Broderick, Conservative staffer Steven Outhouse, Conservative MP Gail Shea
Council of Canadians vice-chairperson Leo Broderick — along with representatives from the PEI Health Coalition, the PEI Seniors’ Secretariat, the National Pensioners Federation, Unifor and the Canadian Health Coalition, as well as a community health worker — recently wrote to Conservative MP Gail Shea, the Harper government’s regional minister for PEI.
In their open letter to her, published in The Guardian newspaper, they write that they were in Ottawa in November and had “wanted to share information that we thought you would find important about the status of health care from the point of view of people living and working in your community, one of whom is a health care worker. Unfortunately you were unable to meet with us again this year and in your stead, you sent Steven Outhouse, an unelected staffer who has been criticized in the past for his ‘indignant, trashing comments’…”
Their letter notes, “We were taken aback by the lack of respect and the aggressive response we received from Mr. Outhouse. As concerned citizens, health care workers, a recipient of the Order of Canada, and those engaged in our communities we expected a polite conversation where we could exchanged concerns and ideas.”
They then highlight, “We’re asking your government to return some of the funding you’re cutting from the Canada Health Transfer. In December 2011, then Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty announced a cut to the CHT that will take the once 50 per cent cost sharing arrangement of the federal government for health care to a shockingly low 18 per cent. This means provinces like PEI will have to fund 82 per cent of health care costs on our own. With a smaller GDP than larger provinces and a rapidly aging population, we cannot guarantee the same access to services.”
And they conclude, “Ms. Shea, Canada can and should do better. Islanders deserve the same access to treatment as obtained by the residents of other provinces and territories. We hope you will reconsider meeting with us in the future and if you should be unavailable to meet with us, we hope you will send someone that is willing to listen and be respectful.”
For more about their visit to Parliament Hill last November, please see Council of Canadians participates in 2014 National Medicare Week lobby on Parliament Hill. For more about our campaign to defend and expand public health care, please click here.