Candidate Corner: Cowichan-Malahat-Langford hopefuls talk health care

Part four in a four-part discussion with local candidates

Black Press Media reached out to the candidates running in the 2019 federal election and we asked them for brief comments on four topics of interest to constituents here in the Cowichan-Malahat-Langford region. Those topics include environment and climate change, economic development, kids and families and health care. This is part four of a four-part series outlining their responses. Today’s topic is Health Care.

Blair Herbert – Liberal Party of Canada

Blair Herbert

Liberal candidate, Blair Herbert, is proud of Canada’s health care system, but believes many people still slip through the cracks. Nearly five million Canadians do not have regular access to a family physician, more than three million report unmet mental health care needs and nearly one million Canadians give up food and heat to afford medications upon which they depend, or they do not fill their prescription at all.

Over the past four years, the Liberal government has made some of the most needed, significant changes to our system in decades including the most comprehensive overhaul of drug pricing in 30 years, saving Canadians approximately $13 billion over the next decade. The Liberals have helped more people access home care and mental health care through new health agreements with all the provinces and territories, allocating $11 billion in new funding, and have invested $500 million annually towards a Rare Disease Drug Strategy.

Gaps still exist and the Liberal party is committed to continuing to close the gaps by:

• implementing Universal Pharmacare, so all Canadians have drug coverage at an affordable price;

• establishing the Canada Drug Agency to make drug purchasing more efficient, and implementing a national formulary with partners to set prices;

• bringing down the cost of lifesaving high-cost drugs;

• ensuring every Canadian can count on access to a family doctor or primary health care team;

• setting standards for access to mental health services so Canadians get the support they need when they need it most;

• continuing to make home care and palliative care more available to those who need it.

While it may sound like a cliché, Herbert knows that if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. As your MP, he will continue to work towards a health care system in which no one slips through the cracks.

Alana DeLong — Conservative Party of Canada

Alana DeLong

The mental and physical health of every Canadian is vitally important to our nation and a top priority for the Conservative Party of Canada.

A new Conservative government will implement the Health and Social Program Guarantee, which commits to increasing the Canadian Health Transfer and Canadian Social Transfer by at least three per cent per year. Canadians can count on Conservatives providing stable health and social program funding if elected.

We will invest $1.5 billion to replace and add new medical imaging equipment. This investment will be used to purchase new MRI and CT machines. Wait times will be reduced; allowing healthcare providers to quicker deliver quality services with the most up-to-date technology.

The previous Conservative government created the Mental Health Commission of Canada and provided $240 million worth of funding to address mental health issues. We also allocated $5.2 million to support research on depression and suicide prevention, a serious problem today. We will continue to make this a priority. Mental health is a serious problem that Conservatives are committed to. Conservatives will take strong action to promote positive mental health.

Today, Canadians are under pressure and worried about their future. Their dreams are getting further out of reach and they are looking for help. Justin Trudeau has proven he cannot be trusted to deliver it. If Trudeau is re-elected and given four more years, his endless deficits will force him to raise taxes even higher. His carbon tax will go up and make gasoline, groceries, and home heating even more expensive. And his debt will consume public services like education and healthcare.

This is why I am running to be your MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford; to lower taxes, make life more affordable, and to ensure that you have the care and services you need to succeed.

Alistair MacGregor – New Democrat Party

Alistair MacGregor

When our loved ones fall ill, we shouldn’t worry about whether they can afford to get the care they need.

I am proud to belong to the party that led the fight to establish universal public health care. We are committed to a future where health care covers us head-to-toe, so we can live longer, healthier, happier lives.

Decades of cuts and inaction have left us struggling. Too many Canadians can’t access health care, medication, mental health care, or home care that they need. I spoke to one senior who has paid over $25,000 for prescription medication following a surgery, and others who have to choose between taking their medication and paying their rent.

Canada is the only country with a universal health care system that does not include Pharmacare.

The NDP will invest in national, universal, public Pharmacare for all. Unlike the Liberals with their pretty words and broken promises, we won’t wait 22 years to do it. We will begin working with the provinces right away to target a 2020 start date, investing $10 billion annually. Our plan will also expand our health care system to include access to mental health, eye and hearing care, and visits to the dentist.

Too many families have tragically lost their parents, partners, siblings, and children to the opioid crisis. The NDP will declare a public health emergency and commit to ending the criminalization and stigma of drug addiction, so that people struggling with addiction can get the help they need. We’ll also launch an investigation into the role drug companies may have played in fueling the opioid crisis, to seek meaningful financial compensation for the public costs of this crisis.

On Oct. 21, please vote to send me back to Ottawa so I can work to ensure we all have access to health care when we need it.

Lydia Hwitsum – Green Party of Canada

Lydia Hwitsum

Although health care is within provincial jurisdiction, provinces depend on funding from Ottawa to deliver services. Federal health funding has not kept pace with rapidly changing demographics and the crises of mental health and addictions. The Green Party is committed to maintaining the principle of universal primary health care for all Canadians, and extending that model to other aspects of health care. We will work to ensure that every Canadian has a family doctor and that primary care is centred on the patient and is sensitive to issues of social justice, equity, and cultural appropriateness.

Green Members of Parliament will work to:

• Base health transfers on demographics and real health care needs in each province;

• Expand the Medicare model to include Pharmacare for everyone, as well as free dental care for low-income Canadians;

• Create a bulk drug purchasing agency and reduce drug patent protection periods;

• Prioritize expansion of mental health and rehabilitation services, reduction in wait times, access to safe abortion services, and access to gender-affirming health services;

• Uphold Jordan’s Principle in full, ensuring Indigenous people receive the health care they need without being delayed by bureaucratic disagreements over jurisdiction;

• Implement Calls to Action 18-24 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, improving health care for Indigenous peoples;

• Support First Nations, Métis and Inuit in (re)building traditional knowledge systems around healing and wellness; and

• Address the opioid crisis as a health-care issue, not a criminal issue, by declaring a national health emergency.

We also recognize that the climate crisis will be the greatest threat to human health in the 21st century. Climate-related illnesses are growing, and climate is exacerbating a number of child health issues. The Green Party has a comprehensive plan to address the climate crisis (Mission: Possible) and will ensure that the health impacts of climate change are not ignored.

Robin Morton Stanbridge – Christian Heritage Party of Canada

Robin Morton Stanbridge

The primary argument for taxation is healthcare, yet Medicare is predominantly oriented to addressing illnesses attributable to poor lifestyle. Where we subsidize reckless lifestyles, we waste money that could be spent on breakthrough treatments. Self-destructive lifestyles and medically unnecessary procedures should be the sole financial responsibility of the source of the demand for same.

Asserting for instance that women engage in copulation for reasons “unrelated to her priorities and aspirations”, Chief Justice Dickson legally empowered sexual exchange theory, enabling abortion at tax payers expense. This cheapened mate selection and thereby forced Medicare to recklessly subsidize the de facto transformation of public space into the sexually harassing and libidinous landscape many feminists now lament, and the flagrantly illiterate proposition that the resulting child is somehow the mother’s body.

By providing medically unnecessary procedures (abortion, euthanasia and gender reassignment — as is now repugnantly exposed to children via misopedist B.C. school curricula) we pioneer a world where future generations are sterilized, where medical research is stifled, where the unborn are carved to pieces in the womb, and from which good doctors flee. We must be stark raving mad to attribute “dying with dignity” to anything other than committing our bodies when terminally ill to advance the novel treatment of difficult diseases.

Every time a person elects to die rather than pursuing novel treatment(s), the corresponding market for treatment is decreased. Euthanasia doesn’t just kill the patient. Euthanasia kills medicine.

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