Conservative government must meet Canadians’ health needs


House of Commons


December 3, 2013

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, the Health Council of Canada has panned the Conservatives for their lack of leadership. It has pointed to their repeated failures to meet clear commitments on the health accords.

Last month, the College of Family Physicians released an equally damning report.

The minister has had months to review these important reports by leading experts.

Does the minister agree that improvements are urgently needed and what will she do, today, to uphold our public health care system to meet the needs of Canadians?

Hon. Rona Ambrose (Minister of Health, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, I have met with a number of those groups and, of course, many of those reports also say positive things.  The reality is all of those stakeholders in the health care field that I met with work very hard.  There are challenges.  However, from the federal level, we are taking leadership to address many of these difficult challenges and working in partnership with provinces and territories.  Of course, the funding issue has been settled with a record funding commitment which would reach $40 billion per year by the end of the decade and provide stability and predictability to the system – something that the provinces and territories, and all health stakeholders need.

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, a new poll shows that Canadians are concerned that their health care system will not be there for them in their old age.

By 2036, the number of Canadian seniors will have doubled. We need a health care system that would include home care, long-term care, palliative care, and affordable drug coverage that is accessible to seniors.

Why is the minister lagging so far behind on a national strategy to address seniors’ health?

Hon. Rona Ambrose (Minister of Health, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to address that.  First, I would like to give kudos to my colleague, the Minister of State (Seniors), who is working diligently, in very targeted ways, on the issue of seniors. The Minister of Economic Development is also working on a great deal of measures related to housing.  However, when it comes to seniors’ health, I can tell members that not only do we take it very seriously, we have met with the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Nurses Association, and frankly, all Canadian health care stakeholders that concern themselves with seniors and, most important, of course, the provinces and territories, to which we are transferring a record amount of funding to deal with these very difficult challenges.