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National Day of Action Draws Attention to 2014 Health Accord

Canadians from coast to coast called for the federal government to get back in the game on a 2014 Health Accord today, as the Council of Canadians, Canadian Doctors for Medicare, nurses unions, and provincial health and citizens’ coalitions held a National Day of Action.

The Day of Action drew attention to the upcoming Council of the Federation meeting in Halifax, NS, and let the premiers know that Canadians are paying attention and want them to call Prime Minister Harper back to the 2014 Health Accord negotiating table.

In December 2011, the federal government announced that it would cut $31 billion from public health care in 2017-2024, effectively downloading much of the cost of health care onto the provinces and territories. After that announcement, the federal government walked away from the 2014 Health Accord negotiating table, missing a critical opportunity to provide leadership in transforming our health care system, and abandoning a commitment to ensuring that Canadians have comparable levels and quality of health care from province to province.

“We are beginning to see the death of a dream for universal health care,” said Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “Divisions between have and have-not provinces are growing in terms of access to prescription drugs, number of hospital beds, home and community care availability, and wait times and costs for long-term care.”

“It is essential that all levels of government work together to protect and strengthen Medicare,” said Dr. Danielle Martin, chairperson of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. “Without strong leadership and commitment to a 2014 Heath Accord from the federal government, national standards will be a thing of the past.”

The Council of Federation meeting, which will be held in Halifax, NS, on July 25th-27th, will bring together all Canadian premiers to discuss what their next step will be for the 2014 Health Accord.

Several actions took place from coast to coast today, including exercise flash mobs in Halifax, NS; human sculptures with red Medicare umbrellas in Toronto, ON; public rallies in British Columbia including one large rally in Vancouver; and a public rally tomorrow in Charlottetown, PEI.

Activities from the National Day of Action for a 2014 Health Accord communicate Canadians’ support for public health care and also demand that Harper return to the negotiating table to work with the premiers to find a solution that strengthens our publicly funded system.