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Just the Facts: Liberals vs. Conservatives on Canada Health Day

Posted on May 12, 2010
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Today is Canada Health Day, when we celebrate over 100 years of public health advances in Canada. Major advances in life expectancy, overall health, and quality of life have occurred in the twentieth century as a result of public health initiatives – like producing vaccines, clean water, pasteurization and better living conditions.

Liberals have a strong history of defending public health in Canada and have put forth ideas to make it stronger. The Harper Conservatives, on the other hand, have failed to make advances, even abandoning many public health initiatives altogether.  Consider:

Food Safety
Liberals:
•    Have committed to investing $50 million in improving food inspections and ensuring imported foods meet our tough domestic standards. We are also committed to implementing all of the Weatherill Report recommendations resulting from the investigation into the listeriosis outbreak of 2008.

Conservatives:
•    Despite their promise to implement the 57 recommendations stated in the Weatherill Report, we are still waiting for action from the Conservatives.

Health promotion and disease prevention
Liberals:
•    The Liberal National Food Policy committed to a $40-million Healthy Start program to help 250,000 low-income children access healthy foods, will introduce progressive health labelling and tough standards on trans fats, and will launch a Healthy Choices program to help Canadians make informed eating decisions.

Conservatives:
•    In 2007, the federal Health Minister gave the food industry two years to reduce the amount of trans fats in their foods. He also promised that he would introduce regulations to virtually eliminate processed trans fats if progress was unsatisfactory. Three years later, the results have been unsatisfactory, yet the promised regulations have never been announced.

Broadband for telemedicine applications
Liberals:
•    Announced that a future Liberal government will achieve the goal of 100 percent high-speed internet connectivity within three years of being elected, to reach 800,000 Canadians in rural and remote communities who currently have no high-speed internet access, allowing more Canadians to benefit from telemedicine applications.

Conservatives:
•    Cancelled the Liberals’ 2005 commitment of $100 million for rural broadband, and following the Liberal broadband announcement, committed to providing internet coverage to only 169,000 Canadians – leaving 670,000 Canadians without access.

Caring for our aging loved ones
Liberals:
•    Committed to provide financial support for family caregivers, which will ease the burden on those caring for aging loved ones and help reduce costs in our health care system.

Conservatives:
•    Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have chosen to borrow from future generations to lower taxes for profitable corporations instead of helping Canadians care for their aging parents.
 
Doctors and nurses in rural areas
Liberals:
•    Committed to attract more doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners to underserved rural communities by forgiving up to $20,000 of their student debt. This initiative would help to attract and retain more than 1,500 new health professionals each year.

Conservatives:
•    Following the Liberal announcement, out of the blue the Conservatives promised a $7-million investment to bring 15 more doctors to rural Canada.

Nuclear medicine
Liberals:
•    Committed to remain active in producing the medical isotopes our cancer and cardiac patients need, while restoring Canadian leadership in nuclear medicine.

Conservatives:
•    Mismanaged Canadian leadership in the production of medical isotopes and abandoned nuclear medicine altogether by deciding to sell AECL.

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