As provincial and territorial health ministers convene in Vancouver today, preparing for tomorrow's meeting with federal Health Minister Jane Philpott, public health care advocates are sending an extensive wish list.
Under Stephen Harper’s government, Canada’s 10-year-old health accord expired in 2014. The lack of leadership under the Conservatives has left public health advocates with many demands for the new Liberal government. Provincial and territorial governments are keen to talk finances, as the costs of health care are expected to grow.
The BC Health Coalition has organized a participatory display outside of the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, where the ministers are gathered. People are writing messages for the ministers as part of a campaign to “put the heart back in health care.”
When asked what one big thing could come from the health meeting, Jennifer Kuhl, an organizer with the BC Health Coalition, said that the federal government could work with the provinces to monitor and regulate privatization. In B.C., she pointed out, there is great concern about privatization in regards to “one doctor in particular,” a reference to Brian Day, who was found to be overcharging for medical procedures and has since launched a court case that could open the door to further privatization in the country if found in his favour.
Besides the renewal of the health accord and an end to privatization, other major demands by public health advocates include national pharmacare, a strategy for seniors' care, and coverage for dental and vision care.
People have also taken to Twitter to send their messages to the health ministers, using the hashtag #healthmin16.