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Tory Silence on Medicare Pledge “Deafening”

Health Care Pledge supported by All Parties, But One


For Immediate Release
April 29, 2011


TORONTO- Stephen Harper’s decision to refuse even the most basic commitment to Medicare has caused surprise and concern among Canadians who care about our health care system. Hundreds of local candidates representing the Liberal, New Democratic and Green Parties, and all three of their National Leaders, have given their support to the Health Care Protection Pledge, a commitment to sustain Medicare past the 2014 Health Accord negotiations. Stephen Harper is the only national leader who has chosen not to express support for our health care system, and all but two Conservative candidates have followed his lead, almost universally refusing to make a commitment to Medicare.  

The Health Care Protection Pledge, put forward by the physicians’ group Canadian Doctors for Medicare, asked candidates to make a simple promise: enforce the current health care laws and sustain at least some health care transfer payment to provinces. “We deliberately set the bar low, seeking only the most basic assurances about our health care system” said Dr. Danielle Martin, Chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. “We are very disappointed to see the Conservatives decline even this minimal commitment.”  

The Pledge was circulated to all campaign offices and Party Headquarters earlier in the election period. Staff at Canadian Doctors for Medicare reached out to the candidates and their leaders to confirm commitments. Canadian Doctors for Medicare contacted Conservative Campaign Headquarters repeatedly, speaking with staff about the Pledge, responding to their requests for additional information and continuing to seek a commitment. Every Conservative campaign office, from coast to coast to coast, was also contacted, repeatedly, by phone and email, pursuing support for our health care system. Sadly, only two Conservative candidates in Canada chose to make the Pledge and no commitment could be obtained from Stephen Harper. In contrast, candidates from other parties were eager to express support, faxing and emailing Pledges from across the country, working around power outages and internet failures to make sure their Pledges were received.  

“It’s been invigorating to see the enthusiasm for our health care system from the candidates and their leaders”, Dr. Martin added, “But we’re sorry to see our hopes for universal commitment to our heath care system won’t be achieved in this election.”  

Canadian Doctors for Medicare is a national, membership-based organization that provides a voice for Canadian doctors who want to strengthen and improve Canada's universal health care system in a way that benefits all Canadians.  

Canadian Doctors for Medicare’s sister organization, Medecins Quebecquois pour le Regime Public, continues to seek commitments from parties and candidates in Quebec. Please see their website www.mqrp.qc.ca for details.  


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For more information, please contact CDM Executive Director Sean Meagher at 416-820-7889

 

For more information on the Health Care Protection Pledge and MP Candidate responses, click HERE