25 Jul Open Letter to Premier Dexter: Stand up for Public Health Care

Published July 25, 2013 in The Chronicle Herald

Premier Darrell Dexter

Province of Nova Scotia

P.O. Box 726

Halifax, N.S.  B3J 2T3


Dear Premier Dexter,

We, the undersigned organizations, made up of doctors, nurses, health care workers and providers; health committees, community organizations, patient groups, civil society, and organized labour, are deeply concerned about the expiration of the 2004 Canada Health Accord.

In 2014, the current Health Care Accord – the deal that sets funding and health care service delivery agreements between the federal, provincial and territorial governments – expires and must be renegotiated. Past accords set valuable benchmarks for progress. In the immediate years following their signing, we saw wait times significantly decrease in key areas.

However, as you know, the federal government has thus far refused to negotiate a new health accord.

Without a new accord in 2014, the federal government will determine funding for health care according to each province’s economic growth. This means that Nova Scotia will lose more than $900 million in funding over the next decade. With Nova Scotia’s aging population, these cuts will be disastrous for our seniors and families.

After talks with Nova Scotia’s Minister of Health, we know that the provincial government is frustrated with the federal government’s offloading of services on to the provinces and territories with no additional support or resources. In the health care field this has included long-term care beds for veterans, health care for refugees and RCMP health care benefits. This is leaving provinces across the country struggling to meet the needs of their residents.

By refusing to negotiate a new accord, the federal government is abdicating from its responsibility in health care and turning its back on the provinces as they struggle to pick up the pieces. Canadians need national leadership on health care. The 2014 Health Care Accord negotiations should be used to strengthen and expand medicare, and recommit to the principles of the Canada Health Act.

At the Council of the Federation on July 24th, 25th, and 26th, the premiers are meeting for the last time before the expiration of the Canada Health Accord in 2014. This is the perfect and possibly last opportunity to come together to protect public health care.

We call on you to stand up for the future of our province’s health care. We urge you to raise the health accord as a formal agenda item at the Council of the Federation and to join with the premiers and collectively demand that Harper commit to a new accord.

We, and the thousands of members and patients we represent, call on you to protect public health care for all Nova Scotians.



Lee Seymour, Chairperson

The Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network


Joan Jessome, President

Nova Scotia Government and General Employees’ Union


Danny Cavanaugh, President,

Canadian Union of Public Employees Nova Scotia


Les Holloway, Atlantic Area Director,

Canadian Auto Workers Atlantic


Janet Hazelton, President,

Nova Scotia Nurses Union


Angela Giles, Atlantic Regional Organizer,

Council of Canadians


Kathy Blois, Chair,

The Federation of Community Health Clinics of Nova Scotia


Gillian Zubizarreta, Settlement Coordinator,

The Halifax Refugee Clinic


Pamela Harrison, Coordinator,

Transition House Association of Nova Scotia


Timothy Bood, M.D.


Monika Dutt, M.D., Board Chair

Canadian Doctors for Medicare


David LeBlanc, Business Agent,

Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, Local 446


Lisa Buchanan, Chair, Board of Directors

Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project


Nick Stark, National Executive Representative

Canadian Federation of Students


Loretta Melanson, Branch President NS

Service Employees International Union Local 2


Carolyn Whiteway, Executive Director (acting)

Atlantic Council for International Cooperation


Michael Bradfield,

The Face of Poverty Consultation


Charlene Gagnon,

Stepping Stone


Margaret Casey, M.D., Chair

North End Community Health Clinic