March 17, 2000 (36th Parliament, 2nd Session)

LIB

Allan Rock

Liberal

Hon. Allan Rock

Madam Speaker, I would be delighted to table the document which is publicly available from the Canadian Institute of Health Information.
I want to make one other point on funding before I leave it. The platform of the Conservative Party in the last federal election was that all transfers to the provinces by Ottawa should be by tax points without cash. That is its policy. If we were to do such a thing we would remove entirely the influence of the Government of Canada and its ability to enforce the principles of the Canada Health Act. It would be ruinous for the future of a national health care system in the country.
This motion is wrong because its premise is fundamentally flawed. The government is already doing what it said it would do and what it was called upon today to do which is to develop a plan in partnership with the provinces and commit to long term financing for our health care system. We have called upon our provincial partners to work with us to fix the single most important feature of Canadian life, which is our medicare system, and to marshal and mobilize a national will to achieve that purpose.
If the status quo is not acceptable, neither is the prospect of private-for-profit health care. The American style system is not acceptable in this country, and so we reject the position of the Reform Party. We say that is not the answer to the problems we confront.
There is a third option. The third option is to work constructively with partners toward solutions that will work, solutions that will improve access and quality of care. If we are to succeed in that we must put aside partisan politics and work in common cause on an issue that is bigger and more important than any one of us.
The Prime Minister has now written to the first ministers. He has suggested a meeting among first ministers late this year. He has asked health ministers to develop an interim plan by June.
The Prime Minister has given us a timetable. Canadians have given us a mandate. The provinces have shown that innovation can work. It is now up to us to get behind that innovation, to turn it into a long term plan to assure long term financing and to fix this cherished national asset.
Let me close by saying that this is something we can do. The answers are available to us. We need the political will. We need the focus. We need the commitment that is necessary. A nation that had the wit to invent it can find the will and the ways to save it.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Supply
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