I was deeply dismayed yesterday to learn of the Conservative government’s decision to disband the Health Council of Canada. For the past decade this group has monitored the progress of the 2004 Accords, and has undertaken the valuable work of reporting on the federal government’s actions to fulfill its Accord commitments.
The Conservative government’s decision to cut the Health Council of Canada’s funding is clearly related to their abysmal performance in following through on the Health Accords. The Health Council’s reports have shown the Conservative government’s lack of leadership and initiative on key Health Accord issues, such as expanding home care, reforming primary care, enhancing service for Aboriginal Canadians, and improving prescription drug coverage.
This decision indicates this government’s willingness to walk away from the Health Accords renewal in 2014. It demonstrates their lack of concern for our public health care system and the promise made in the 2004 Health Accords, that all Canadians have the right to access high-quality and timely public health care. This government is passing off health care to the provinces, first by cutting the health care transfers by $36 billion and now they are eliminating the body that provided oversight to federal action on health care.
While the Conservative government turns their back on our public health care system, the NDP continues to work to renew and expand public health care. It’s more important than ever that the Conservative government be held to account on the Health Accords and the need to uphold the Canada Health Act. The NDP will be vigilant and strenous in this task.