THUNDER BAY – Politics 2.0 – Healthcare is always an important issue in federal politics. Dr. Sandy Buchman, President of the Canadian Medical Association states, “With nearly five million Canadians who don’t have access to a health care provider, and provinces and territories struggling to fund rising health costs, voters are looking to the next federal government for a clear plan forward.
“Unfortunately, as we approach the midway point in this election campaign, the political discourse has done little to address Canadians’ questions. We have serious challenges to deal with and we need serious commitments to address them,” adds Buchman. “Canadians have been consistent and clear: health care is their top concern and they want to hear about real solutions to help them find a family physician, afford the drugs they need, get mental health supports for the young people in their life, and care for aging family members.”
Asking the candidates across Northwestern Ontario for their comments:
Kenora Liberal candidate Bob Nault says, “Healthcare is a top of mind concern among people of all ages, and particularly for the residents living in Northern Ontario.
“Canada’s public healthcare system today is still one of the best in the world. We need to work together at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels and work together as Canadians to the benefit of all Canadians.
“To start, we made a commitment to invest $6 billion as a down payment to improve health care for all Canadians. This specific investment will go towards ensuring that everyone has access to a family doctor, improved mental- health services and palliative care, as well as ensuring every Canadian has access to the medicine they need, through a National Pharmacare Plan.
“However, while this is a good start, here in the Kenora Riding and throughout Rural Canada, it’s clear that when you compare urban health care services to what rural Canadians have, we need to work with all levels of governments, and invest much more towards healthcare services in rural and remote parts of Canada.
“That’s why recently, I put forward a motion in the House of Commons to have the Health Committee determine factors that contribute to the significant disparities in the healthcare services of rural Canadians, compared to those in urban centres. That way we can come up with real healthcare solutions for Canadians for the long-term. We also need to look at a number of solutions, which include improved access to addictions and mental healthcare services.
“Healthcare is a top priority for Rural Canadians and it’s a top priority for Northerners. As Canadians, we are fortunate to have a public healthcare system, and we can and will make it even better.”
Amanda Moddejonge, running for the Green Party in Thunder Bay-Rainy River responds, “As a disabled military veteran I know all too well how difficult it can be to obtain meaningful care. There are many contributing factors to the current issues we are facing in health care, not least of all are the health funding transfers from Ottawa that have not kept pace with the rapidly changing demographics and emerging crises of mental illness and addiction. The Green Party supports reassessing these transfers, while at the same time expanding the Canada Health Act to include prescription drugs dispensed outside of a hospital, and we will create a bulk drug purchasing agency in order to secure better medication costs.
Doctor Marcus Powlowski, the Liberal candidate, Thunder Bay-Rainy River says, “As an emergency department doctor, I know first-hand how important health care is to Canadians. I know that gaps exist. So does the Liberal Party. That’s why, for example, we’ve committed to doing more for those with mental health issues. In Thunder Bay-Rainy River I want to see more done to fight addictions and to get after drug gangs whose products wreak havoc in our community and on our health care system.”
Thunder Bay-Superior North Green Party candidate Bruce Hyer comments, “The Green Party 2019 Platform is 90 pages of thoughtful details, has been fully costed by the Parliamentary Budget Officer. I urge voters who are serious about wise choices in this election to read it! I helped to write much of it!”
Stay tuned… more comments coming.