Future of healthcare should be huge election issue

Where is the meaningful political discourse around our treasured universal healthcare system?

Where is the meaningful political discourse around our treasured universal healthcare system? I have yet to hear that any political party is willing to fully reinstate the 2004 Heath Accord between the federal and provincial governments, which expired last year.

The present Conservative government failed to renew the Health Accord in 2014 and has no intention of doing so in the future. In fact, Stephen Harper has met with the provinces once in the last 10 years and over the course of 2014-2027 they intend to cut $52.6 billion dollars from federal health care funding.

These cuts will leave more seniors without residential care, community patients struggling on their own and sick people lined up in the hallways of our already overburdened hospitals. The practice conditions for nurses, already stretched to say the least, will further erode and these same nurses will continue to struggle in providing the quality health care that Canadians have received for generations.

It does not have to be this way. There are other policy choices available if the electorate votes for the candidates who commit to better funding and a political will to work with the provinces to strengthen the public health care system now in place.

Although not perfect, our universal healthcare system is the envy of much of the world and to lose it would put an additional increased financial strain on the Canadian middle class family, who is already contending with record debt levels.

I will be asking the federal candidates in my riding how will your party strengthen medicare and oppose healthcare privatization?

Will your party support a national drug plan?

What are your party’s plans to improve seniors care? How will you improve mental health services?

As a Canadian citizen and a nurse, I realize we live in a global environment with many important issues that need solutions, financial and otherwise; however, I also believe that public healthcare in Canada is at the core of who we are as Canadians and an integral part of our cultural foundation.

When you vote on Oct. 19, please carefully consider how you want to access our healthcare system now and in the future.

 

Ted Gamble

Cowichan Lake