As Canadian premiers met in Victoria to talk about the future of health care this week, residents on the left of the political spectrum also gathered at a forum of their own.
Maude Barlow, chair of the Council of Canadians, said the set of threats to health care today haven’t existed in decades.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a man determined to kill public health care, she told a full house at the Da Vinci Centre Monday night.
His strategy to let provinces spend health-care dollars as they see fit is “brilliant,” she said. “He doesn’t have to do the deed himself; he can just turn it over to the provinces to do his dirty work.”
Some will enter into a private system immediately and others will take more time, she said. “What we’re going to end up with is a patchwork of services.”
Diana Gibson, of the Parkland Institute, also spoke.
She leveled her criticism against Harper’s plan to tie health-care funding to the country’s gross domestic product.
“If we tie health-care spending to economic growth, it’s going to look awful,” she said, pointing to the volatility of the boom-bust cycle. “It’s not a practical way to plan long-term spending for critical social programs.”
The two-day Council of the Federation of premiers wrapped up Tuesday. B.C. Premier Christy Clark called the federal government’s refusal to negotiate “unprecedented and unacceptable.”