BC Health Coalition

March 29, 2011 09:00 ET

British Columbians Looking for Clear Positions on Health Care from BC NDP Leadership Candidates

Provincial Leadership Candidates Hold Debate Against Backdrop of Federal Election and Poll Showing Health Care as Top Issue for Canadians

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - March 29, 2011) - British Columbians should follow the leadership debate today in Qualicum Beach to find out BC NDP candidates' positions on key health care issues, says the BC Health Coalition.

"Health care is a top-of-mind issue for British Columbians and we've called on these leadership hopefuls to demonstrate how they will strengthen and protect our valued public health care system,*" says Rachel Tutte, BC Health Coalition co-chair, who notes that a recent CTV/Globe/Nanos survey showed that Canadians identified health care as the number one issue of concern—11 points higher than jobs and the economy.

"B.C. is ground zero for health care privatization," says Tutte, "Canadians have witnessed an explosion of private for-profit health facilities and services across the country — with B.C. at the forefront," she says. "For-profit clinics cost more than public facilities, increase wait times by draining scarce human resources from the public system, and compromise patient safety."

Tutte notes that our publicly funded health care system requires the shared commitment and cooperation of Ottawa and the provinces, but is troubled by the ruling Conservatives' hints of cuts to federal health care transfer payments on the eve of negotiations for renewal of the Federal-Provincial Health Accord in 2014.

"Health care is the top issue as the federal election begins, and British Columbians need assurances that our provincial government will demand Ottawa's continued commitment to a health care system that works for everyone."

*Download the NDP leadership candidates' responses to the BCHC health care survey: http://tiny.cc/rd0n1

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