Conservatives fail on health care accountability

Cover Date: 
December 20, 2011

OTTAWA – A day after Finance Minister Jim Flaherty shocked provinces by unilaterally declaring a new formula for health care funding, New Democrats blasted the government for turning their backs on much needed health care accountability.

“It’s the federal government’s job to ensure Canadian families have access to universal, quality health care services—no matter where they live.” said New Democrat Leader Nycole Turmel. “Instead of working with the provinces to improve frontline services, the Conservatives have simply cut and run.”

Turmel said it wasn’t enough for Minister Flaherty to drop a new funding formula in the laps of his provincial counterparts. She said the government needs to work with the provinces to deliver on the priorities of Canadians.

“This government likes to talk about accountability, but where’s its plan?” Turmel said. “How will it ensure federal funding leads to more doctors and nurses, better home care and more affordable prescription drugs? The Conservatives have no more cards to play to ensure accountability.”

New Democrats have long called for the federal government to play a leadership role in helping provinces hire more doctors and nurses, while reducing wait times and ensuring access to affordable prescription drugs and home care with dignity. After yesterday’s meeting, provincial finance ministers made it clear that this won’t happen.

“Provinces know that federal inaction will mean reduced services and longer wait times,” said New Democrat Health Critic Libby Davies (Vancouver East). “The Conservatives have failed to show any leadership and families are going to pay the price.”

“The Conservatives have abandoned their promise for stable funding and accountability. They are turning their backs on the millions of families still without a family doctor.”