NDP calls for federal leadership to defend public health care ahead of premiers’ meeting

OTTAWA — As the nation’s premiers gather in Winnipeg, NDP Health Critic Don Davies is calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to defend Canada’s public health care system against an increasing number of Conservative premiers pushing private, for-profit delivery which would increase wait times, deepen staff shortages and force Canadians to pay out of pocket for care.

Davies warns the prime minister will be complicit in the erosion of Canadians’ health care if he doesn’t change his approach.

“Canadians across the country are rightly worried about the crisis in health care - and the crisis is real. Health care workers are overworked and burned out, ERs are understaffed, and people face excessive delays to get the surgeries they need,” said Davies. “No-one should have to wait in pain because there aren’t enough health-care workers or resources available to provide quality care. Yet that's the stark reality millions of patients are facing.

“The federal government could make things better by funding more health care workers in public hospitals and clinics. Instead, we have a prime minister who welcomed Doug Ford’s scheme for American-style, for-profit services—which would increase costs and poach doctors and nurses from our already under-resourced system—calling it ‘innovative.’ Liberals letting Conservative premiers funnel public funds to for-profit clinics not only won’t fix the problems we’re seeing—it will make things worse.”

Before the last round of negotiations between the federal and provincial governments, Davies and the NDP called on the prime minister to provide more health-care funding to the provinces and territories and with the condition that federal funding be used in the public health care system. But Pierre Poilievre and Justin Trudeau voted against this approach, letting Conservative premiers use federal funding with little accountability and the ability to divert public funds to private, for-profit operators.

“This is right out of the Conservative play book: starve a public service and use that as an excuse to hand it off to the private sector so corporations, shareholders and CEOs can make millions. While Justin Trudeau campaigned on stopping for-profit care, he is doing the opposite,” said Davies. “We’ve been very clear about what he can do, and it's high time he did it. People deserve a champion for public health care, not someone who ducks responsibility and lets Conservative premiers run our services through a chop shop.”

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