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Harper Conservatives’ Dictatorial Federalism Threatens Healthcare Negotiations

Harper Conservatives’ Dictatorial Federalism Threatens Healthcare Negotiations

Posted on December 20, 2011

VANCOUVER– Liberal Health critic Dr. Hedy Fry made the following statement today on the Conservative government’s healthcare funding plan:

“This unilateral decision by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to reduce transfer payments is an affront to the provinces and the very spirit and intent of the 2004 Health Accord. The 2004 Accord was about the federal and provincial governments working together towards transformative change to make our healthcare system sustainable.

The Conservatives have walked away from the spirit of the Accord and reneged on their agreement to take a leadership role on specific measures, including pharmacare, home care, and health human resources. The Health Council of Canada has cited lack of federal leadership as one of the key reasons why real transformative change has not been realized in our healthcare system.

The unilateral decision to reduce transfers diminishes the provinces’ ability to make transformative change that would sustain the healthcare system. This has always been Stephen Harper’s intent going back to his 2001 Open Letter to Ralph Klein where Mr. Harper states that provinces ‘should resume provincial responsibility for healthcare policy…[E]ach province should raise its own revenue for health.’

It has been clear since day one that this Conservative government had little interest in playing a cooperative role in the new Health Accord negotiations with the provinces and territories.

Canadians expect the federal government to fight to protect our public healthcare system. This abdication of responsibility by the Harper Conservatives is irresponsible.”

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