Libby urges the Conservative government to take leadership and reduce health care wait times


House of Commons


June 20, 2012

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, six years ago the Conservatives promised to reduce health care wait times, but this promise, like so many others, has been broken.

The Wait Time Alliance’s report shows that wait times are now on the rise. This comes on top of the Conservatives’ unilaterally imposed a funding formula, which short-changes provinces and territories by over $30 billion.

Can the minister explain why the Conservatives have broken their promises and failed Canadians so miserably on health care?

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

Mr. Speaker, we have made progress working with the provinces and the territories on wait times, but there is obviously still room for improvement in the health care system.  To help the provinces and territories make even more improvements, we are increasing the federal health transfer funding to record levels, reaching $40 billion by the end of the decade.  More than that, we are investing significantly in health research and innovation that we hope will help people avoid the hospital altogether.

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, the minister knows that our health system is in need of reforms to provide services such as home care and long-term care and to provide cheaper and more accessible medication, all things that her government committed to in the health accords.

Can the minister tell us what she plans on doing now about rising health care wait times, or are her government’s commitments made in the health accords not worth the paper they are written on?