Federal election: Party leaders address health care professionals
Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Conservative Party
My mother was my hero. When she graduated high school, she became one of the original nurses at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa. She worked hard, and even put the savings from her first job toward a renovation at her parents’ house.
She taught me about the tremendous role health care providers play in the lives of patients and their families, and their ability to touch so many through compassion and hard work. From her, I learned about the number of procedures, services, and treatments they perform, and the love, support, and care they provide for the people who come through the hospital doors each and every day.
I know that my mother’s determination and good will – her story – is like so many Canadians today. As we grow older, we watch our children become parents, and in turn, we become the caregivers for our mothers and fathers. We begin to interact with the health care system in new and different ways.
As a result, our perspective on health care changes. Before my mother passed, she received care from Canada’s health care system that our family wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford.
It is critical for Canadians to have confidence that these programs will be there for them when they need them. That is why I recently wrote to all of the premiers across Canada to tell them about this commitment, and I am now sharing it will all Canadians. I have signed a Health and Social Guarantee so that Canadians will be able to count on stable and predictable funding from a new Conservative government.
Under a Conservative government, both the Canadian Health Transfer and the Canada Social Transfer will continue to increase by at least three per cent every year. We will preserve Canada’s health care system over the long-term so it is there when Canadians need it.
“But we won’t stop there. According to a recent report by the Conference Board of Canada, Canada’s stock of MRI and CT machines is aging, supply is not keeping up with demand, and wait times for lifesaving diagnostic tests exceed the wait-time recommendation from the Canadian Association of Radiologists.
A Conservative government will cut wait times for these diagnostic tests by establishing a fund to help provinces purchase new MRI and CT equipment and replace aging equipment. This will bring Canada’s medical imaging equipment in line with international standards and help Canadians get the care they need quicker. In addition to improving wait times, this investment will also give provincial governments some additional spending flexibility, as the federal government would pick up the bill for replacing out-of-date imaging equipment that the provinces would likely have to replace.
As the election approaches, I expect my opponents to distort my position on health care funding. In fact, they already have.
What I’m focused on is highlighting my positive Conservative plan for Canadians across the country. That is why I want you to have my word – in writing – that I will maintain and increase funding for Canada’s health care system, ensuring Canadians have timely access to quality health services. This guarantee is my formal commitment to you.
The Hon. Andrew Scheer
Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party
Canada’s health care system is a source of pride, but we know we need to do more to strengthen it. No one should have to give up food and heat to be able to pay for health care, whether it’s insulin, inhalers, or mental health support. Liberals believe that every Canadian – no matter where you live, who you are or what you do – should receive the care they need to stay healthy.
That is why we took meaningful steps to improve our health care system over the past four years.
We successfully negotiated a new Health Accord with the provinces and territories to help reduce wait times and improve patient care – which included $11 billion in new federal investments in mental health and home care over the next decade.
We brought in the most significant changes to drug pricing in nearly 30 years. We are working to establish the Canada Drug Agency to make drug purchasing more effective and efficient, and implement a national formulary with partners to set prices. We are also bringing down the high cost of lifesaving drugs for Canadians through our new Rare Disease Drug Strategy. Combined, these measures will save Canadians approximately $13 billion over the next decade. To lay the groundwork for national pharmacare, we set up the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare in 2018, led by Dr. Eric Hoskins.
We know that there is more work to do. A re-elected Liberal government will close the gaps in the health care system, and make sure people can get the care they need – when they need it most. To do this, we will make a down payment of $6 billion to further invest in health care over the next four years, and to build on the work we have done towards universal, national pharmacare for all Canadians.
Moving forward, we will begin negotiations with the provinces and territories to establish clear national standards for access to mental health services. In the last four years, we’ve made investments to improve access to treatment and address the stigma of mental illness. We will continue this important work by strengthening the Canada Health Act, so that the full range of mental health services are available to every Canadian in every province and in every territory.
We will also work with the provinces and territories to ensure all Canadians have access to a family doctor or primary care team on a regular basis. We know that routine checkups can help prevent illness and mean less time spent in the ER, which in turn reduces wait times.
Finally, we will work with the provinces and territories to implement universal, national pharmacare so that all Canadians have the drug coverage they need at an affordable price. We know that the cost of drugs is a huge financial burden for many Canadians living with a chronic illness, a rare disease, or a complex condition – national pharmacare will lighten that load.
Canadians deserve a government who will support them, and that means supporting our public health system. Health care professionals know first-hand how cuts to public health programs and services harm the people who need it most. Unlike Conservative politicians like Doug Ford and Andrew Scheer – who think that you can cut your way to prosperity – we believe in investing in Canadians so that nobody has to choose between staying healthy and putting food on the table.
Our Liberal team will continue to move Canada forward, as we seek to improve quality of life for Canadians and build on the progress we have already made.
Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party
Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the New Democratic Party
Since the 1950s, New Democrats have stood up for the health care that Canadians need, in partnership with doctors, nurses, and other health care workers.
As the leader of the New Democratic Party, I have met with Canadians across the country who have shared their heartbreaking stories of being unable to pay for prescription drugs, or feeling
helpless because they could not afford to treat their depression.
Canada’s health care system is in crisis because back-to-back Liberal and Conservative governments have failed to make health care a priority. We’re seeing the consequences of their inaction with long wait times, overcrowded emergency departments, patients on gurneys waiting in hospital hallways, and high levels of burnout amongst health professionals.
As our aging population grows, our health care pressures will increase.
Canadians deserve more than the existing patchwork of inadequate health interventions and programs. They deserve a government that has the courage to prioritize their health care needs rather than make empty gestures while cutting health care funding.
New Democrats have a bold vision to expand our health care system by providing coverage from head-to-toe.
We will fix the gaps in our health care system, starting with the launch of a national pharmacare program in 2020. Our pharmacare plan means fewer unnecessary hospital visits because patients will get the medications they need, at no cost.
New Democrats also believe that we need more investments in preventative care.
For example, oral health should be part of essential health care services. Too many Canadians are ending up at the hospital seeking emergency care for problems with their teeth that could have been prevented if they could afford the dental care they need. That is why New Democrats will ensure that the Canada Health Act includes dental care.
From investing in mental health to eye check-ups to long-term care, New Democrats are making health our top priority. And we plan to achieve these goals together with doctors, nurses, and health administrators who work hard to keep our hospitals and care centres running as smooth as possible.
New Democrats believe that we must invest in the people that take care of us.
Ongoing staffing shortages make for poor quality care and leave health care workers at risk of experiencing workplace violence. It’s time to work with the provinces and territories to take a new approach to addressing the complex health care needs of our aging population. It’s time for a government on the side of aging Canadians, their families, and frontline health care workers.
We will work with provinces and territories to address our country’s health labour challenges, and create a plan to recruit and retain health care professionals.
We are committed to helping Canadians live healthier lives and building healthier communities.
We can best achieve this by expanding our publicly funded health care system so that it reflects
the needs of Canadians today.
I believe that Canadians should have a government that’s in it for you.
Leader, Canada’s New Democrats