September 19, 2008
Dear All National Party Leaders,
I am pleased to send you a copy of Putting Health First, the 2008 federal election platform of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO). The RNAO is the professional association for registered nurses who practise in all roles and sectors across Ontario.
Putting Health First sets out programs and actions that would build healthier communities, a clean environment, a stronger public health-care system and better access to health-care professionals for all Canadians. It is our mandate to work for a healthier society, recognizing the profound impact that poverty, pollution, lack of decent housing and lack of access to a good education have on long-term health and well-being.
We hope Putting Health First will provoke thoughtful debate on the crucial issue of improving health, an issue on which too little has been heard during the election to date.
On behalf of our 27,000 members I would ask you to take a few moments to answer the brief questionnaire below that is based on the RNAO positions outlined in our report.
We will post all responses on the RNAO website (RNAO.ca) for the consideration of our members and the public.
For your convenience, we have framed the questions so they can be answered Yes or No. However, we encourage you to use the space provided to give greater detail as you see appropriate.
We would ask you to send your completed RNAO election 2008 questionnaire by October 3, 2008 at the latest. Please direct it and any questions you may have to Rob Milling, RNAO Health & Nursing Policy Director at firstname.lastname@example.org  or Kayla Scott at email@example.com .
RNAO Putting Health First Election Questionnaire
Federal Election 2008-09-18
1. Will you and your Party commit to develop and implement a comprehensive anti-poverty strategy with the target of a 25 per cent reduction in the national child poverty rate over the next five years and a 50 per cent reduction over 10 years?
2. Will you and your Party commit to achieve deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 25 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020 and get Canada back on track to meeting its international obligations under the Kyoto Protocol?
3. Will you and your Party commit to safeguarding Canadians’ food supply by hiring 1,000 additional inspectors and veterinarians to improve compliance and by placing an immediate moratorium on industry self-regulation?
4. Will you and your Party commit to enforcing the Canada Health Act and stopping the growth of two-tier health-care by using the federal government’s power to withhold health transfers when violations occur?
5. Will you and your Party commit to introducing a national, publicly funded and publicly controlled pharmacare program covering essential drugs so Canadians can be protected from skyrocketing drug costs?
6. Will you and your Party commit to invest the $135 million per year required to expand nursing education and $250 million to create the 10,000 new full-time RN positions needed across Canada?
7. Will you and your Party commit to ensure all international and inter-provincial trade and investment agreements include strong protections for health care, environment, human rights, social programs and labour standards and do not restrict governments’ ability to regulate in the public interest?