Monday, October 17, 2005
Hon. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister, who once again last week showed us that he cannot face up to a problem without posturing. How Ralph Klein is responsible for the trade wars that George Bush has launched against our country is completely beyond me.
The Prime Minister has picked a fight with Ralph Klein before; it was on protecting public medicare. In fact, the Prime Minister called it the fight of his life.
Let us see if he meant it. What new conditions are Premier Klein and the other premiers now having to face to stop the privatization of our health care system?
Hon. Ujjal Dosanjh (Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the fact is that the additional $41.3 billion that is going to the provinces over the next 10 years is going through the Canada Health Act.
Our differences are not with the NDP. The enemies of health care are across from us. Every one of their three leaders, including the current leader, has said they would gut the Canada Health Act and they would privatize health care.
Hon. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP): Mr. Speaker, that is an odd way to conduct a fight, have somebody else stand up when it is the fight of your life.
The Prime Minister promised. He said he would fix the wait times, that he would stop the privatization of health care, yet both are taking place at this very moment. In fact, he allowed the provinces to leave with $41 billion without a single string attached, without a single condition to stop the privatization of health care.
Will the minister now agree with the NDP that it is time for some new rules?
Hon. Ujjal Dosanjh (Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is wrong again. All of the conditions of the Canada Health Act apply to the $41.3 billion over the next 10 years.
What I really want to say is our difference is not with them. We share the same objective of actually strengthening the public health care system. The wait times are being reduced in every province across the country. That money is being utilized. We will have benchmarks by December 31, 2005.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Hon. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the NDP has repeatedly asked where the response to the Chaoulli decision is to be found from the government and repeatedly we have been told that no response is necessary, that we already had the response in the $41 billion and that no new rules are required to stop the growth of private health care in Canada.
The Prime Minister said that this was the fight of his life so let me ask a very simply question. Does the federal government need new rules to stop the growth of private health care in this country, yes or no?
Right Hon. Paul Martin (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the basis of the Chaoulli decision was that waiting times were too long and as a result the Supreme Court made the decision that it did.
We anticipated this in the election campaign and we anticipated it when we had the federal-provincial conference in which we put the $41 billion over the next 10 years precisely to deal, among other issues, with the issue of waiting times.
On the question of benchmarks, the Minister of Health has worked very hard across the country. We appointed Dr. Brian Postl to advise the Minister of Health on this particular issue and he is having a very important federal-provincial conference on that issue.
Hon. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the fact is that this so-called $41 billion solution has not worked for wait times and it has not stopped the privatization of our health care system.
The Prime Minister says that he is very concerned about this but is the reason that he will not agree to new rules and will not answer the question properly is that he knows he will go down in history as the Liberal Prime Minister who would not defend public health care in this country?
Hon. Ujjal Dosanjh (Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, that is absolute nonsense. The fact is that it was the Prime Minister who made wait times the issue. It was the Prime Minister who actually provided $41.3 billion. It was the Prime Minister who appointed Dr. Brian Postl. It is the Prime Minister who is going to see that we have benchmarks before the end of the year and that we strengthen the public health care system.
Our quarrel is not with the NDP. We share the objective with the NDP of strengthening public health care. It is those people opposite who actually have no commitment to public health care.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
[ 20 October 2005: Message edited by: leftcoastguy ]