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Dear MP Duncan, Vancouver Island North wants a 2014 Health Accord

I am on my way home from completing another exciting campaign on the 2014 Health Accord. This time Govind Rao (CUPE), myself, HEU, and many local community organizers and Council activists (thank you so much!) worked together to campaign in the ridings of Vancouver Island North and Kamloops, BC.

We held four townhalls in Courtenay, Campbell River, Kamloops, and Port Hardy. We had conversations in hospitals, at door steps and throughout the cities with members of the public and health professionals. For people already informed on the Accord and for local activists we held two-hour workshops where we shared information on the Accord and how it will impact the local community.

At the doorstep Council, union and community activists handed out pamphlets showing what a $36 billion loss in the Canada Health Transfer (CHT)1. Those same changes to the CHT will mean $5 billion less for BC by 2024 and $135 million less for the riding of Vancouver Island North.

These past two weeks in BC have offered me a better sense of why we need national standards for health care. British Columbia has mass privatization with both private clinics and public-private-partnerships (P3s). Local community groups are fighting for better services, for health professionals to stay in their community, and for services to be there for them as they age. National standards and benchmarks on services that are tied to federal funding would ensure that each province was offering comparable services within a similar amount of time. It would stop Canada from creating what Roy Romanow refers to as a “patchwork quilt” of health care services (some provinces offering some services and others offering different ones).

Before starting the campaign the Council, CUPE and HEU polled the community on their knowledge of the Accord and the role of the federal government. With over 90 per cent of Canadians being in favour of public health care we know the public is on our side. Through this campaign we’re hoping to show politicians that their community supports public health care and that they want their elected officials to also support it.

The campaign in Vancouver Island North went well. We have over 100 people in workshops, we knocked and/or dropped literature at over a thousand doorsteps and we held three well-attended townhalls.

I would like to thank the amazing and dedicated work of all Council activists and members in the Courtenay, Comox, Campbell River and Port Hardy ridings. Your dedication is inspiring and we couldn’t have completed this campaign without you. Many thanks to our union brothers and sisters as well for all of their assistance and support.

We hope to bring this campaign to more communities in the fall of 2014. Stay tuned or contact me (asilnicki@canadians.org) for more information on how you and your community can get involved!



1This loss is a result of changes to the Canada Health Transfer. To see the calculation of how we arrived at $36 billion please refer to: The Council of the Federation working group on fiscal arrangement’s report from July 2012 http://www.councilofthefederation.ca/phocadownload/publications/cof_working_group_on_fiscal_arrangements_report_and_appendices_july.pdf