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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Layton's 2014 Canada Health Accord negotiations letter to Harper

Layton's letter to Harper

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON KiA OA6
Dear Prime Minister,
Re: Preparations for the 2014 Canada Health Accord negotiations
It was with great interest that we read this week that your government has begun talking about the future of health care in Canada, in preparation for the 2014 federal-provincial renegotiations of the Canada Health Accord. We believe a national conversation on this issue is vital and are writing today to ask what your plan is with respect to consulting Canadians on these incredibly important next steps.
Universal health care is held dear by Canadians, not only because it is the single most important element of social and economic justice in this country, but also because it is a symbol of Canadian values, the very tool with which we care for our families and each other. Canadians must be given the central role in these discussions so that a patient-based care structure forms the framework of our long-term goals and strategies for health care.
In addition to encouraging you to invite pan-Canadian voices into this discussion, we would like to offer you the expertise of the New Democratic Party on the health care file. Since the inception of universal health care by the father of the New Democratic Party, Tommy Douglas, we have maintained an information sharing network with frontline medical professionals, health researchers and economists. We talk every day with Canadians about this issue and we have a history of championing practical solutions to the problems in the system, solutions we would be happy share with you, your advisors and your cabinet colleagues.
The sustainability of our public system will likely be a topic that arises during any national discussion of health care. We would like to be very clear on this point: the notion that publicly funded health care will not be a viable system in the future is false. While there are challenges ahead, there are many options to ensure that health care in Canada remains publicly funded and universal. With ingenuity and innovation, many of the rising costs can be curbed. A national prescription drug strategy that would save Canadians billions is just one of these options. Solutions like pharmacare give your government the opportunity to bring provincial and territorial governments to the table with a tangible, cost-savings plan.
Further, the federal government has a significant role to play in protecting the health of Canadians and maintaining the quality of our health care system, because it has the ability to bring parties to the table, to share best-practices, and find joint-solutions to better the lives of all Canadians.
New Democrats are ready for a dialogue on the sustainability of health care and other important issues key to the future of our health system. We look forward to receiving the details of your preparation for the Canada Health Accord Negotiations. 2014 is quickly approaching, and all Canadians deserve to have a voice in creating an innovative vision for the future of health care in Canada.
Jack Layton, P.C., M.P.
Leader, Canada’s New Democrats
Megan Leslie, M.P.
New Democrat Critic for Health
cc The Hon. Leona Aglukkaq, P.C., M.P.

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