I'm really excited about my new role as Health critic in the Official Opposition, as announced by Jack Layton. I also remain as Deputy Leader of the NDP.
This new challenge comes at a time when the Canada Health Accord is looming on the horizon for renewal, and Medicare is under scrutiny and attack by the powerful lobbies for for-profit and privatized health care, which grows ever more threatening, despite overwhelming support by Canadians for a public health care system that works (see press release below).
Right now I'm learning all I can, to deeply immerse myself in the facts, issues, and recent developments in the health care arena. I really appreciate all the folks who have written and contacted me already, offering information and support. There's much to learn! Fortunately Canada has great expertise in these issues, and many expert advocates who are passionate about upholding the Canada Health Act and its five principles of universality, public administration, portability, comprehensiveness and accessibility.
There are many substantive issues to work on, that's for sure!
Even on day one of my new critic role, there were major issues emerging concerning changes made by the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR), who changed their policy that required public disclosure of drug trails in detail to preclude withholding of information about side effects. (It’s not forgotten that an executive of Pharma giant, Pfizer, was appointed to the CIHR Board, last year).
I also commented on the Canada Health Council report on progress made (and lack of) stemming from the 2004 Health Accord (see our press release).
Working with many great advocates and organizations who support our public health care system and who want to see the second phase of medicare come into being, is something I am looking forward to. The Conservative government may have different plans, but Federal New Democrats, as so well articulated by Leader Jack Layton, are here to uphold this dearest of Canadian values and social justice.
I'll be busy in Parliament on this file for sure, but much of my energy (and I got lots!) will be focused on helping to build stronger alliances, and campaigns for a universal public health care system, that works for our modern day needs.
If you'd like to get regular updates on these and related issues - please let me know!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 31, 2011
HARPER NOT SHOWING LEADERSHIP ON HEALTH CARE: REPORT
New report highlights the government’s neglect on critical health care issues: NDP
OTTAWA –The Harper Government has failed to provide national leadership on tacking the critical issues facing Canada’s health care system, says New Democrat Health Critic Libby Davies. Davies was reacting to conclusions outlined in today’s Canada Health Council’s report.
“Canadians are concerned about the future of their health care system. Simply throwing more money at it will not solve the current challenges, you need better leadership,” said Davies.
The report confirms the Conservative government has failed to provide leadership on health care, including on important initiatives like a national pharmaceutical strategy, hiring more frontline health care professionals, expanded home care supports, shortened wait times, and an electronic health records system.
““Prescription drugs are one of the most expensive components of our healthcare system,” Davies said. “The 2004 accord was supposed to implement a pharmaceutical strategy to reduce prescription drug costs. But because of the lack of federal leadership, this has not happened.”
Today’s report also brings into question whether the Conservative’s can properly negotiate the 2014 Health Care Accords.
“While health care delivery is under provincial jurisdiction, the federal government still has an important role to play. The federal government must bring together the provinces and territories and set measureable targets and outcomes. Only by doing this can the government ensure that every Canadian, no matter where he or she lives, can have access to high quality and timely health care services,” concluded Davies.