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UPDATE: Council activists listen to Romanow in advance of health care lobby day

The Toronto Star reports this evening, “Creeping privatization and individualism in Canadian politics could destroy the country’s public health-care system, warns former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow. In a speech Wednesday evening to the Canadian Health Coalition in Ottawa, Romanow decried a ‘palpable momentum toward individualism, decentralization and privatization’ in Canada. …Citing a Nanos poll released last week, Romanow said a record 94 per cent of Canadians support public health care — and called on Canadians to continue their demand for a universal, public insurance model.”

“In his speech, Romanow listed a number of issues he said remain central to the Canadian health-care reform debate — universal, public health care, a focus on total health-care costs, decreasing wait times for care, and preventing illness and disease among them. …He (also) called for increased federal funding for community health centres across the country and a national home-care strategy so that more Canadians can be treated at home. ”

Council of Canadians health care campaigner Adrienne Silnicki notes in an e-mail this hour, “Chapter activists, Board members and I are at the Chateau Laurier listening to Roy Romanow, Marc-Andre Gagnon, Natalie Mehra, Diana Gibson, Michael Rachlis, Allan Maslove, Saideh Khadir, John Abbot, and Andre Picard. Amazing panel talks, standing room only crowd.” In a recent blog, Silnicki wrote, “On Thursday, December 1st the Council will join the Canadian Health Coalition and other pro-Medicare groups to lobby 100+ Members of Parliment on Parliament Hill. We will be asking MPs to voice their support to protect and stregthen Medicare.”

Postmedia News adds, “Romanow’s appearance at the symposium comes a week after the federal government and officials from the provinces and territories began talks (in Halifax) on changes to the 2004 Health Accord, which is set to expire in 2014. He said there are ‘two fundamentally competing visions’ for how the future of health care in Canada will look. He said one view — that of a private system — sees health care as a ‘commodity’, while insisting the public system is ‘grounded on the Canadian values of fairness, equity, compassion and collective action’.” To read about the Council of Canadians intervention at that federal-provincial conference in Halifax, please see http://canadians.org/blog/?p=11868 and http://canadians.org/blog/?p=12212.