Libby urges the Conservative government to take leadership on health care




House of Commons

March 6, 2012

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are balancing the books on the backs of provinces. Without any consultation, the Conservatives unilaterally rewrote the formula for federal health transfers. Their plan means higher costs to provincial budgets and fewer front-line health services for families.

Provinces deserve to have a say. Why will the Conservatives not get back to the negotiating table and why are they playing hardball with the provinces on health care?

Mrs. Shelly Glover (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to a publicly-funded, universally accessible health care system. We all use the health care system. Our families use it and our friends use it. We want to see a strong, sustainable health care system in Canada, and that is when we need it most. Let us be clear. Under our government, health care transfers are at record levels, from $20 billion when we formed government to $27 billion this year. Unlike the old Liberal government, we have not and will not slash funding to provinces for health care.

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, why did the Conservatives make unilateral decisions? The fact is that health care costs will be higher for the provinces because of their decision.

On another important health care issue, there have been warnings for the last year and a half about severe drug shortages, which many critically ill patients are now facing

What did the minister do in response? She created a website. That is cold comfort for those who need those prescriptions.

Will the minister now concede that this plan was completely ineffective and will she explain what the government will do to address these recent shortages?

Mr. Colin Carrie (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, our government is playing a leadership role when it comes to dealing with these drug shortages. We are doing our part to ensure that information about drug shortages is made available as quickly as possible.

For example, the minister asked industry to work together to establish a national one-stop drug shortages monitoring and reporting system. If some industry players do not meet the responsibilities in providing information in a timely manner, we will consider all options to address that.