Federal government must stop privatization of health care in Alberta

VANCOUVER – NDP Health Critic Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway) is calling on the federal government to enforce the Canada Health Act and stand up to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney's plan to privatize orthopedic surgeries.

“Jason Kenney's privatization agenda will create a two-tiered health care system that violates our most basic principles of equal access and will hurt the quality of care," said Davies. "We are calling on federal Health Minister Hadju to make it clear that this will not be tolerated."

Decades of evidence show that privatized U.S.-style health care results in higher costs and worse health outcomes for patients.

"We must not stand by while our public health care system is undermined, especially in the midst of a pandemic in which our public system has so clearly proved its effectiveness," said Davies. "The federal Health Minister must take a strong stand against privatization, enforce the Canada Health Act and, if necessary, withhold transfer payments as prescribed by law."

Media reports recently revealed that a group of orthopedic surgeons, developers and lobbyists connected to Alberta's United Conservative Party government have been given quiet support to build a $200 million private surgical facility that would be the largest in the province's history. The plan comes after the government rammed Bill 30 – provincial legislation that paves the way for for-profit health care – through the Alberta legislature with less than an hour of debate.

"The Canada Health Act exists to guarantee universal and equal access to health care services for all Canadians," said Davies. "The Trudeau Liberals must show a commitment to public healthcare and enforce the law."