Libby asks the government to reduce health care wait times


House of Commons


December 3, 2012

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are failing yet again to show leadership in health care, and Canadians are paying the price.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information reported that Canada has the highest percentage of people waiting more than four hours in emergency rooms, and more than half of Canadians say they cannot get appointments with their family doctors when they need them.

Why is the Minister of Health cutting billions of dollars from health transfers rather than working with the provinces to reduce wait times, which is a significant issue in this country?

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

Mr. Speaker, our government is absolutely playing a leadership role when it comes to health care. I appreciate the hon. member’s question because it gives me an opportunity to talk about all the great investments our government is making. Transfers to the provinces and territories are at record levels and will increase to approximately $40 billion per year by the end of the decade—We are also funding more than 10,000 health research projects across the country. We have introduced debt forgiveness programs for doctors and nurses who work in rural and remote areas. The opposition talks a good game, but our government is taking concrete actions.