28 Aug Release: “Stand up to Harper” Health Advocates tell Premiers
“Stand Up to Harper” Health Advocates tell Premiers
Charlottetown, P.E.I. – As Canada’s 13 premiers gathered for their annual meeting on Thursday, they were met by public health care advocates calling on them to discuss a new health accord and to stand up to Harper’s funding cuts. Organized by the Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network, public health supporters rallied in front of Province House, greeting the premiers and journalists with placards, a ‘King Harper’ puppet, and a banner that read, “Premiers, Stand Up to Harper’s Health Cuts”
“Harper has refused to negotiate a new health accord and is about to cut $36 billion from health care” said James Hutt, Provincial Coordinator of the Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network. “These are cruel and drastic cuts that will fragment Medicare into 14 unequal systems and open our system up to privatization.”
The health accord is an agreement between the federal and provincial and territorial governments that determines federal health funding. The 2004 Health Accord expired last March, and in its wake Harper announced a 36 billion dollar cut to federal health transfers, and an additional 16.5 billion dollar cut to health care equalization payments.
For ‘have-not’ provinces this means a huge loss of funding. Nova Scotia, for example, is poised to lose $902 million over the ten year period – equivalent to 10% of the entire nursing jobs in the province.
“Harper is bent on destroying public health care, so it’s up to the Premiers to not only protect public health care, but to strengthen and expand it” said Hutt. “For example, Canada’s is the only OCED country with a public health system that doesn’t cover medicines. A universal pharmacare program would save $11 billion annually.”
The protest was part of a number of civil society events coinciding with the Council of the Federation meetings Thursday and Friday in Charlottetown, PEI. The Council marks the 55th annual meeting of Canada’s provincial and territorial Premiers. The Premiers invited Harper, who declined to attend.
“We know that Harper won’t stop until we have a 2 tiered system” said Hutt. “We’re calling on the premiers to stand together and ensure we have a health care system that treats everyone based on their need, not their ability to pay.”
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For more information please contact:
Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network
Cell – (902) 222-1186
James at nshealthcoalition.ca