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Sawa calls for health accord actions on March 31

March 31 National Day of Action

Prince Albert-based Council of Canadians Board member Rick Sawa writes in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix, “The Canada Health Accord, an agreement between the federal, provincial and territorial governments that sets federal funding for health care and ensures all Canadians can access good quality services regardless of where they live, expires this month. The Harper government has refused to meet with premiers to negotiate a new accord. Instead, it has made unilateral changes that mean $36 billion less for the provinces and territories over 10 years and has walked away from its responsibilities to ensure equal access to all Canadians.”

He cautions, “That loss of $36 billion will put an end to national standards. It will lead to the fragmentation of services across the country. Increasingly, access to care will depend on where you live. Failing to renegotiate the health accord eliminates any leverage the federal government has to ensure that provinces comply with the Canada Health Act. Without the accord, federal funds are given with no strings attached, and that means provincial and territorial governments can spend the money however they like, possibly resulting in your part of the country having less coverage of services than others.”

Sawa concludes, “On March 31, speak out about these cuts and to demand that the Harper government negotiate a new health accord.”

The Council of Canadians and its allies are asking people to organize actions in their community on March 31 to speak out against these cuts and to demand that the Harper government negotiate a new health accord. Any action, big or small, is important! You could hold a rally, distribute pamphlets or organize a public forum. See if your community is on the list or organize your own event.

So far, there will be actions in 23 communities across this country.

Be sure to let us know about your National Day of Action activities so we can highlight them on our website. Fill out this form or e-mail your event details to webmaster@canadians.org. Don’t forget to check out our resources and publications that you can use to help inform people and raise awareness. Send an e-mail to inquiries@canadians.org if you would like to order materials for your event.

Beyond the March 31 day of action, please also note that the Council of Canadians in partnership with the Canadian Union of Public Employees will be intervening in eight federal ridings – starting April 1 – to raise awareness about the loss of a health accord and the abdication of the federal government from health care. 

The campaign will focus on door-to-door canvassing in Conservative-held ridings in an effort to force the Harper government to host a national conversation on the future of health care and to meet with the first ministers to strengthen public health care for everyone. Those eight ridings are: Vancouver Island North, BC; Regina-Palliser, SK; Elmswood-Transcona, MB; North Bay-Nipissing, ON; Oshawa, ON; Moncton- Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe, NB; South Shore-St. Margaret’s, NS; and Egmont- PEI.

For more on our campaign to defend and expand public health care, please see our campaign web-page.