22 Apr Letter to the Editor: Health Council demise a sign

Published in The Chronicle Herald
April 21, 2013

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to cut the Health Council of Canada should clear any lingering doubts: the federal government has abandoned all responsibility for health care and is turning its back on the provinces as they struggle to pick up the pieces.

The council provided accountability and promoted consistent quality of care, nationwide. The Harper government’s rationale for axing the council is that with next year’s expiry of the intergovernmental health agreements, “there is no longer a need” for it to monitor progress. But why does Harper not intend to renew national health care agreements?

Instead of creating a new health accord, federal funds for health care will be tied to each province’s GDP. This is a familiar story: Alberta will benefit while the Maritimes bleed.

Nova Scotia stands to lose $154 million in funding per year, starting in 2016-2017. That’s the equivalent of losing three rural hospitals. The cornerstone of Canadian identity is the belief that everyone should have equal, accessible and comprehensive health care.

This federal government has betrayed those principles and abandoned Nova Scotians. It’s time for all the premiers and territorial leaders to stand up to the Harper government and send a clear message: we won’t let you bleed us dry.

James Hutt, co-ordinator, Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network, Halifax