TORONTO, Jan. 17, 2006 – The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is deeply concerned about the future of Medicare and the potential for the federal election results to endanger Canada’s most cherished social program.
With just days remaining before the vote, the association released today its analysis of the health platforms of the four major national political parties. “We are asking nurses and urging the public to review and reflect on this comparison before casting their vote on January 23rd,” said Joan Lesmond, RNAO’s president.
“In poll after poll, Canadians, including nurses, consistently rank health care as their top priority. Yet, in this campaign, the political leaders have downplayed our health-care system challenges and the solutions they propose,” Lesmond added.
“This is alarming, especially in light of last summer’s Supreme Court ruling. Whichever party forms the next government will make critical decisions that will have a profound impact on the future of Medicare. Voting for a party committed to protecting and strengthening Medicare is akin to protecting Canadians and strengthening Canada,” Lesmond said.
All political parties say their policies will improve the health-care system. But, only one, the Conservative Party of Canada, will direct public funds toward a parallel, private health-care system to meet wait time promises. RNAO warns the public that further expansion of for-profit health-care delivery will weaken Medicare. “We reject the argument that for-profit delivery is the remedy that will cure what ails Medicare,” said RNAO executive director Doris Grinspun.
“Instead, we need to strengthen not-for-profit care in all areas – from community care, to hospital care and long-term care. It is more nurses, doctors and other health-care workers that will shorten wait times – not profits,” added Grinspun.
The association has called on party leaders to make a clear statement that they will act as guardians of Medicare. This means enforcing the Canada Health Act. RNAO urges nurses and the public to vote for a party that will explicitly attach firm conditions prohibiting physicians from working in both private and publicly insured systems.
The association invites the public to review its comparison of the four national parties’ platforms , and urges Canadians to make an informed decision on Jan. 23.
Protecting Universality of Medicare:
More Health-care Professionals:
The RNAO invites you to read our analysis. We believe it can help you make your choice on Jan. 23.
“This is the second time in a year and a half Canadians are going to the polls. Now more than ever, we need a dependable, sustainable health-care system that will care for Canadians now and for future generations,” said Lesmond.
“Let us cast our vote for the party committed to nurses and to a publicly-funded, not-for-profit health-care system,” added Lesmond.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario is the professional association representing registered nurses wherever they practise in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.-30-