Lambton-Kent-Middlesex candidates talk health care

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Jim Johnston, Green Party

The federal government is shirking its responsibility to national health care according to Lambton-Kent-Middlesex Green Party candidate Jim Johnston.

Jim Johnston
Jim Johnston

“At one time health care was a 50/50 proposition between the federal government and the provinces,” he said. “We’re now at the point where Ottawa funds about one eighth of the cost. The Green Party would restore that funding.”

Johnston said a smoother relationship could result in a more coordinated service with savings to be found in bulk purchases such as drugs.

“Centralized purchasing would save millions,” he said. “There is one cholesterol reducing drug that costs $150 when the actual cost for the drug is $10. Drug firms are entitled to make a profit on their investment but that type of markup is obscene.”

Johnston said by taxing unhealthy foods, the government could help move Canadians into a healthier lifestyle, further reducing medical costs. We need to place prevention at the same level as treatment.”

Ken Filson, Liberal

It will take dialogue and commitment to traditional Canadian ideals to make the country’s universal health care system work as it should, says Lambton-Kent-Middlesex Liberal candidate Ken Filson.

Ken Filson
Ken Filson

“The major issue is that the federal share of health care was shrinking for years,” he said. “But before we even talk dollars and cents, we need to have a prime minister who will talk with the provinces. Stephen Harper hasn’t even signed the National Health Accord.”

Filson said Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is committed to meet with provinces to get feedback on not only the amount of money spent on health care, but the best ways to spend it.

“It’s a question of leadership style,” he said. “We have a Conservative leader who’s a little Napoleon who wants to dictate things versus a candidate in Justin Trudeau who wants dialogue and consensus.”

Rex Isaac, NDP

Canada needs a federal government who will take the lead in health care, says Lambton-Kent-Middlesex NDP candidate Rex Isaac.

Rex Isaac
Rex Isaac

“We have a Prime Minister who hasn’t signed the health accord which governs transfer payments to the provinces, who won’t meet with premiers and who wants to cut funding to health care by $36 billion if he gets re-elected. Does that sound like leadership to you?” he asked.

“For years we have had universal health care which is the envy of most of the world and yet the Conservatives want to tear it down and replace it with a two-tier private system,” he said. “All Canadians deserve access to health care and an NDP government will make funding it a priority.

People I speak with are afraid that they are going to lose options and end up with a U.S. style of healthcare which they don’t want.”

Bev Shipley, PC

Contrary to allegations made by its opponents, the federal government’s commitment to a strong health care system remains in place, says incumbent Conservative candidate for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex Bev Shipley.

bev shipley web“They say we’ve cut health care transfer payments but we’ve increased them every year,” he said. “In the last decade payments have increased by 60 per cent.”

Shipley said the governments’ plan is to reduce increases from six per cent to a minimum of three per cent and linking it to Gross Domestic Product beginning in 2017/18.

“We’re finding that the provinces are using transfer payments for things other than what were intended,” he said. “We’ve asked them to rein in their costs but to no avail. They have to learn to make changes and live within what we can all afford. It’s not sustainable to see costs just go up and up and look to Ottawa to make up the difference.”

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