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CHC Action Alert 2005 with Shirley D.  (in pdf format)

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Let candidates know when they knock on your door, that health care means a lot to your household.


English Signs(in pdf format) French Signs(in pdf format)

Anyone wanting signs sent to them, please contact

Debbie Kelly  (902) 455-9164 

Election Candidates questions and answers/committments will be posted as they arrive

Macdermott Finance Report 2004  (in pdf format)


Questions for Federal Candidates 2006

1. Wait Times

Preamble: "Based on the communique of December 12, 2005, in which the territory and provincial health ministers gave suggested acceptable waiting times for procedures, we in Nova Scotia, apart from the cardiovascular surgery listings have far greater wait time for all those procedures, and in the cases of joint replacements, our wait times are at least double and usually triple the acceptable waiting periods. We are angry because we die sooner and we live less well because of this."

Since health care practitioners can’t be in more than one place at the same time, creating a parallel private, for-profit system will simply take much-needed doctors, nurses and radiologists out of our public hospitals. Furthermore, since doctors earn more in the private sector, they will have what economists call a “perverse incentive” to keep public waiting lists long. Their incomes will be dependent upon the wait list and wait times “crises” (real or manufactured).

Q. 1 Part 1 - Do you believe that wait time problems should be solved in the public

system, or by creating a parallel, for-profit system?

Part 2 - In Nova Scotia we have had to close ORs and cancel surgeries because we have a lack of anaethetists. If the federal government is firmly committed to shortening wait times for the public, we need the government to explain to us how those same anaesthetists working two days per week in a private clinic will shorten the wait times for those in the public sector. Show us the math.

2. Privatization

Preamble: According to Dr. Arnold Relman, Professor Emeritus at Harvard University: “No one has ever shown in fair, accurate comparisons, that for-profit makes for greater efficiencies or better quality, and certainly have never shown that it serves the public interest any better. Never.” The Romanow Commission came to the same conclusion. In fact, all available peer-reviewed studies clearly conclude that for-profit medicine has higher death rates, provides lower quality care and cost more than non-profit models.

Q. 2 Do you support a federal plan to stop public funds from being diverted to for-profit health care delivery?

3. Canada Health Act

Preamble: The Auditor General of Canada found that the Minister of Health "is unable to tell Parliament the extent to which health care delivery in each province and territory complies with the criteria and conditions" of the Canada Health Act. The Federal Minister of Health’s Annual Report to Parliament on the Canada Health Act consistently fails to identify, let alone assess, significant privatization initiatives underway which threaten the integrity and sustainability of Medicare. Canadians own Medicare. We pay for it. We expect to know where and how our money is being spent.

Q. 3 Do you think the Minister of Health should perform his statutory duty to report, monitor, and enforce the Canada Health Act in all provinces and territories?

4. Home Care, Elder Care and Long-term care

Preamble: The health needs of the frail elderly and other vulnerable people are being neglected. Lack of attention to home care has lead to preventable hospitalizations and an increased need for nursing home beds. Increasingly, the most vulnerable people in our society, our elders and those with disabilities, are being placed in the hands of profit-seeking, investor-owned nursing homes. According to peer-reviewed studies, for-profit nursing homes clearly provide worse care and less nursing than not-for-profit facilities.

"In Nova Scotia we have private nursing home facilities, yet last fall Dartmouth General Hospital, one of our main hospitals reported that at any one time approximately 40 percent of their acute care beds (that's 40% of 97) are occupied by patients waiting for long term care beds. Obviously, the private sector is NOT meeting the needs of Nova Scotia's elderly."

Q. 4 Part 1 - Do you support national standards for home care, elder care, and long-term care as a stepping stone to a national continuing care program?

Part 2 - Do you support a federal plan to stop public funds from being used to subsidize investor-owned nursing home facilities?

5. Pharmacare

Preamble: Drug costs are out of control and are eating up more and more of scarce health care dollars every year. And there is no evidence that we are getting value for money. Some new drugs cost 100 times more than their traditional counterpart, yet provide no measurable improvement. Meanwhile many disadvantaged Canadians are denied access to life-saving medicine because they can’t afford to pay. A public Pharmacare plan, with a national formulary and using bulk purchasing, would reduce costs, and improve equity and drug effectiveness.

Q. 5 Do you support the creation of a national public Pharmacare plan?

6. Health Care Infrastructure Financing

Preamble: Across the country, provinces and territories are grappling with the need to upgrade and build new health care infrastructure. Several provinces are turning to private sector loan financing through so-called “P3s”(public-private ‘partnerships’). These P3s will not only cost taxpayers more in the long-term, they will entrench a powerful group of for-profit corporations with an interest in two-tier healthcare as a potential revenue stream. Historically, the federal government played a critical role in creating health care infrastructure through the National Health Grants program. This model was created by then Health Minister Paul Martin, Sr., in 1948 and continued until 1971.

Q. 6 Do you support re-establishing a federal role in health care infrastructure financing?

7. Keep People Healthy

Preamble: Tommy Douglas use to say “it’s a lot cheaper to keep people healthy, rather than patching them up after they’re sick”, and that “Only through the practice of preventive medicine will we keep the costs from becoming so excessive that the public will decide that Medicare is not in the best interests of the people of the country” The greatest determinants of health in Canada are income and economic security.

Q. 7 Part 1 - Do you support a federal plan to strengthen the social determinants of health, including housing and poverty reduction strategies?

Part 2 - Do you support the dismantling of health and environmental protections in favour of economic growth as outlined in the Government of Canada’s ‘Smart Regulation’ plan?

8. " What are your opinions on Public-Private- Partnerships? Would you support
the creation of more P3's? Do you consider P3's a form of privatization?"

The above Questions 2006 (in pdf format)

debbie-photo2.jpg (496759 bytes) (Center)
Shirley Douglas

Kyle Buott, NS Citizen's Network Youth Chairperson


January 18, 2006

Open letter to Stephen Harper and Paul Martin on wait time ‘guarantees’



Dear Mr. Harper and Mr. Martin:

We are deeply concerned that your focus in this election on wait time ‘guarantees’ as the solution to problems in Canada’s public health care system is, in fact, a guarantee that our public health care system will be further eroded.


You are setting up the public health care system for failure by promising Canadians reduced wait times, without promising to solve, within the public system, the ongoing issues that create wait times. Unsustainable wait time targets that can only be reached by compromising other aspects of the public system are a Trojan Horse for private, for-profit health care delivery.


The claim that for-profit clinics will help reduce wait times in the public system is simply false. Health care practitioners cannot be in more than one place at the same time. Creating a parallel private, for-profit system will take much-needed doctors, nurses, radiologists and other health care workers out of our public system. Given that we already have a shortage of health care workers, allowing for-profit health care to grow will only increase wait times in the public system.


What we need is planning, investment and innovation within the public system. 


The public system has already begun to respond to the issue of wait times.  In facilities as diverse as the Queensway Clinic in Toronto, the Pan-Am Clinic in Winnipeg and the Capital Health Authority in Edmonton, wait times have been substantially reduced.  These and other examples demonstrate that effective solutions to wait times can be found within the public system.


You have promised wait time guarantees. Will you guarantee publicly-funded, publicly-delivered health care for all Canadians?  That is the only guarantee that matters.




Canadian Health Coalition

Canadian Labour Congress

The Council of Canadians

Canadian Union of Public Employees

National Anti-Poverty Organization

Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada


For more information on wait times contact:

Mike McBane, National Coordinator, Canadian Health Coalition

(613) 277-6295