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Friday, October 13, 2006

What about health care?

Cerberus asks a legitimate question, although he mistakenly claims that none of the frontrunning leadership candidates have distinguished themselves on this issue.

In fact, Bob Rae has been talking substantively about health care for months. In early September, with the support and endorsement of former federal Health Ministers Monique Begin, Diane Marleau and Ujjal Dosanjh, Bob Rae delivered a major health care policy statement. In it, he committed to six specific goals:
  • Establish a national catastrophic drug plan (the Maple Leaf Drug Plan) that ensures that no Canadian has to choose between their health and their personal finances;
  • Establish an accountability principle in the Canada Health Act;
  • Provide investments in new health care solutions, such as electronic-health initiatives, to reduce wait times across the country;
  • Increase federal funding for health care professionals programs in colleges and universities, to help alleviate the shortage of doctors, nurses, lab technicians, physiotherapists and other professionals;
  • As recommended by the Health Council of Canada, provide funding for a Population Health Strategy to stimulate progress in healthy living. Particular focus would be placed on improving the health of aboriginals and children;
  • As recommended by Dr. Carolyn Bennett, make Canada an international leader in health research by increasing the funding to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and put CIHR funding on a predictable basis.

So there you have it. A candidate talking seriously about one of the most pressing issues facing our country today.

I understand Ted's dilemma, though. Sometimes, we get so caught up in our own candidate's spin (or in Iggy's case, damage control) that we forget to look at/talk about what the others are proposing. I'll admit, I've been guilty of that before. For example, Scott Brison's broad review of the Canadian tax system (particularly his tax cut proposal for young workers) makes a lot of sense to me. I should have said so much earlier.

Moving forward, I think we should all endeavour to listen a bit more to what the others are saying. That'll be the first step to bridging the leadership divides after December 3rd.