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Council and allies mark end of 2004 Canada Health Accord


Adrienne Silnicki at the rally in Halifax. Clip from Global News.

Photo: Adrienne Silnicki at the rally in Halifax. Clip from Global News.

Council of Canadians activists across the country mobilized yesterday to mark the end of the 2004 Canada Health Accord. The Canadian Press reported, “The left-leaning Council of Canadians said at least 19 of its chapters planned to stage events in various locations.”

The Canadian Medical Association Journal reports, “The federal government is balancing its budget ‘on the backs of the provinces’, said Adrienne Silnicki, the health care campaigner for the Council of Canadians, a social justice advocacy group. ‘It’s forcing them to de-list needed services and invite in more private health care providers.’ …’Every study has borne out that the most cost-efficient way to deliver health care is through a single-payer system.’ A greater provincial responsibility for funding can’t encourage efficiencies, she said, especially when the federal government has just downloaded much of its health care responsibilities for refugees, the RCMP and veterans to the provinces. ‘This is like asking a drowning person to drown more efficiently while [the federal government] stands on shore holding the lifesaver’, she said.”

Ken Kavanagh mailing requests to federal leaders to take action. Photo by Rhonda Hayward/ The Telegram.NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR
The Telegram reports, “Ken Kavanagh, representative on the Newfoundland and Labrador and the Council of Canadians, and Mary Clarke, co-chair of Health Coalition of Newfoundland and Labrador, mail signed requests Monday for the three federeral leaders to stand up for a publicly funded and publicly administered medicare system and to support the signing of a new health accord.” The VOCM adds, “Spokesperson Ken Kavanagh says former premier Kathy Dunderdale joined with other Alt antic Canadian Premiers in 2011 voicing her concern over what will happen next, but since then he says the provincial government has fallen silent. He says Premier Marshall needs to speak up about negotiating a new 10 year accord.”


Photo: Ken Kavanagh mailing requests to federal leaders to take action. Photo by Rhonda Hayward/ The Telegram.

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

The Guardian
reports, “Mary Boyd with the P.E.I. Health Coalition speaks at a rally for a new health accord held at the Murphy Centre in Charlottetown on Monday as Carl Percy president of the P.E.I. Federation of Labour, Lori MacKay, CUPE, and Leo Broderick, Council of Canadians, look on.”


Leo Broderick at media conference in Charlottetown. Photo by Heather Taweel/ The Guardian.

Photo: Leo Broderick at media conference in Charlottetown. Photo by Heather Taweel/ The Guardian.

NOVA SCOTIA

Global News
reports, “‘Poorer provinces like Nova Scotia we’re going to lose our equalization payments so we’re not going to be able to afford some of the services that richer provinces will be able to afford’, said Adrienne Silnicki, National Health Care Campaigner with the Council of Canadians.”

The Chronicle Herald reports, “‘(This) really opens the door to privatization’, said Mary Wright of the South Shore chapter of the Council of Canadians and one of about 24 people protesting at South Shore-St. Margaret’s MP Gerald Keddy’s office Monday. …Wright stood under her umbrella in the rain to honks of support from passing motorists because she’s worried about what will happen without the Health Accord in place. ‘It means that there’s nobody to enforce the Canada Health Act and keep medicare working.’ She said, ‘There are all kinds of things the public are not aware of yet as to how it will affect them’, including a lack of direction for public policy and national standards for how the money should be spent and the absence of a national Pharmacare program.”

ONTARIO

The Brampton Guardian reports, “The Council of Canadians, Peel Regional Labour Council and Ontario Health Coalition were among the groups behind today’s protest. …’It’s the last day there will be a health accord ensuring national health care standards across the country’, said Pat McGrail, with the Peel Region chapter of advocacy group Council of Canadians. ‘(We) are deeply concerned that failing to renegotiate the health accord greatly diminishes any leverage the federal government has to ensure provinces are complying with the Canada Health Act.'”

SASKATCHEWAN

paNOW.com reports, “More than 50 Prince Albert people marched through downtown Prince Albert on Monday to draw attention to major changes looming in the health care system. …The Council of Canadians and Canadian Union of Public Employees are ‘the two main groups that pulled people together’, said Rick Sawa with the Prince Albert chapter of the Council of Canadians. …’We’re raising the alarm. We’re saying, ‘woah folks, we got to do something here. These guys have gone too far’,’ Sawa said. …Sawa is not only concerned about a reduction in quality of healthcare, but that privatization will result from this decreased funding. …’The reason why this is the best attended event we’ve ever had is this is a very, very serious issue. And we’ve got to stand up to the federal government and say we’ve had enough of this, get us an accord. Sit down with the provinces, talk about how we can improve health care, not make it worse by privatizing’, Sawa said.”

BRITISH COLUMBIA

The Campbell River chapter tells us they rallied at Conservative MP John Duncan’s office in Campbell River. Chapter activist Rich Hagensen says, “People got quite creative with Public Health Care/Health Accord signs, tape and red umbrellas being worn and decorating the parking lot in front of Duncan’s office. Council of Canadians members at a Council of Canadians/ B.C. Health Coalition table gave out tons of pamphlets, buttons and information sheets on the Health Accord.”


Photo: Comox Valley chapter

Photo: Campbell River chapter

CFJC-TV reports Kamloops residents marched to Conservative MP Cathy McLeod’s office to demand a new health accord from the federal government. ‎Some believe the absence of a new accord will result in a shift to a more private health care model. Council of Canadians activist Anita Strong says, “That”s the direction we’re being pushed into by private corporate interests who see there’s billions and billions of dollars to be made here. We don’t want to get into the morass they have in the U.S.”


Kamloops Council of Canadians activist Anita Strong

Photo: Kamloops Council of Canadians activist Anita Strong

More to come.