Libby challenges the Conservative government on their health care cuts

House of Commons

HANSARD

March 26, 2012

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, we know that Conservative inaction has meant mounting job losses, not gains.

The Conservatives promised to protect health care funding but they turned their backs on Canadians, short-changing provinces by $31 billion.  That is $31 billion less for doctors, nurses, and front-line health services that we all depend on.

Will the Conservatives finally work with the provinces to protect our public health care system? Will they live up to their campaign promise on health care transfers?

Hon. Leona Aglukkaq (Minister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, our government is committed to a universal, publicly funded health care system. Unlike the previous Liberal government, which gutted our health care transfers, we have actually increased funding to a record level. We have announced a long-term, stable funding arrangement with the provinces and the territories that would see transfers reach an historic level of $40 billion by the end of the decade.

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, that is not what they campaigned on. The Prime Minister made a single health care promise in the last election and he is intent on breaking it.

Without consultation, the Conservatives are wreaking havoc on provincial budgets. They have short-changed the provinces and now they are short-changing families who rely on these health care services. It is no wonder the provinces feel abandoned.

Why did the Conservatives not tell Canadians their real plan for health care cuts? Why were they hiding it?

Hon. Leona Aglukkaq (Minister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, even the former adviser to the interim leader of the Liberal Party and NDP strategist agreed that this is the best offer the provinces and the territories could get from the federal government.

I think it is an extraordinarily generous offer. It is more generous than the provinces had any right to expect.  If I were the provinces, I would stop griping and take the money and get to work reforming the system.

As indicated by recent Canadian Institute for Health Information data, the federal transfers are projected to grow faster than average provincial spending on health care. I will work with my provincial—

This Question Period Transcript was posted on March 26, 2012
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