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Public Health Care advocates rally at Victoria Park

by Robert Devet

Signing the petition.  Photo Robert Devet
Photo Robert Devet
"I am sad that we are here today," Adrienne Silnicki.  Photo Robert Devet
"Services are being downloaded onto Nova Scotia," Daniel Boudreau
"Not having that one billion dollar will have a dramatic impact on wait times, on not having new medical equipment, on drugs and diagnostic services," Maureen MacDonald
Photo Robert Devet

K'JIPUKTUK (Halifax) -  Daniel Boudreau is a Halifax emergency physician and spokesperson for Canadian Doctors for Medicare.

Boudreau worries that today's expiry of the 2004 Health Accord and the refusal of the Federal Government to negotiate a new agreement does not bode well for the future of medical care in Canada.

"Today if you come into an Emergency Department and you need acute care you can get it, and you don't have to worry about being charged for that part of your hospitalization. I am not sure that in a few years I am going to be able to say that," Boudreau told a crowd who gathered at Victoria Park in Halifax.

"And that scares me," said Boudreau. "We are losing something that we've had for a long time, and we have no idea how this is going to shape up and how we are going to end up."

The 2004 Health Accord, now expired, was an agreement between the Federal Government and the Provinces. It defined federal funding levels tied to national standards, ensuring that Canadians get similar care anywhere in Canada.

The Federal Government is not interested in negotiating a new agreement and it is reducing its contributions dramatically.

Provinces and Territories will see federal contributions over the next ten years reduced by $36 billion.

"For provinces like Nova Scotia, we stand to lose close to one billion dollars over the next ten years," said Maureen MacDonald, leader of the provincial NDP.

"And let me tell you, not having that one billion dollar will have a dramatic impact on wait times, on not having new medical equipment, on drugs and diagnostic services."

And that's not all.

"Services are being downloaded onto Nova Scotia," Boudreau told the crowd. "We've seen cuts to refugee health care, they've done the same for veterans long-term care."

And there is little to stop provincial governments from looking at privatization when pressed for money.

"Every province will start to cover different services, and we will see more and more services downloaded and sold to private corporations," Boudreau predicted.

"The Health Accord ensures that Canadians get the same level of care, a similar quality of care and in a similar amount of time across the country," said Adrienne Silnicki, an organizer with the Council of Canadians.

"I am sad that we are here today," Silnicki said.

The rally was one of many held across the country today. The Halifax event was organized by the Canadian Health Coalition and its Nova Scotia affiliate the Nova Scotia Citizens' Health Care Network.

 

The NS Health Network and the Canadian Health Coalition will follow up the day of action with a national Medicare Tour, starting with two events in Halifax on April 3rd, one at noon, and another one at 6 PM in the evening.

 

Follow Robert Devet on Twitter @DevetRobert

 

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Topics: Health
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