Mr. Yvon Charbonneau (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health, Lib.)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for Winnipeg North Centre for the opportunity to emphasize just how firm the government's resolve is to assure Canadians that they will have access to the health care they need, when and where they need it.
On September 11 the first ministers gave their unanimous agreement to a landmark health action plan. This represents a comprehensive commitment to strengthen and renew Canada's publicly funded health system. With this action plan, all governments recognize that home and community care is a priority, particularly in light of the growing demands of an aging population and a shift toward more community based care.
The federal government is prepared to reinforce its contribution by working actively with the provinces and territories in order to meet future home care needs.
Another priority agreed to by first ministers is pharmaceutical management. Drug costs are the fastest growing component of provincial health care budgets. It is essential that more be done to ensure that Canadians continue to have equitable and affordable access to new, appropriate and cost effective drugs.
The Government of Canada also recognizes the need for additional resources in support of its priorities.
Over the next five years, the government will contribute an additional $23 billion to help the provinces and territories implement this action plan. This is on top of the extra $14 billion already made available to them in the past two years.
Canadians can rest assured that the federal government will be a strong and active partner in renewing and strengthening Canada's public health care system.
Subtopic: Emergency Service Volunteers