by Brooke Oliver
Concerned citizens rallied together in Victoria Park on Monday as part of Stand for Medicare – National Day of Action.
The Harper government has refused to renegotiate Canada’s National Health Accord after it expires on March 31. The accord provides funding and sets standards for public healthcare across the country. Refusal to renegotiate means the end of federal involvement in healthcare, and $36 billion in cuts by 2024.
Federal cuts would affect Nova Scotia with a loss of $902 million.
James Hutt, assistant co-ordinator of Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network, says he believes the government is “turning its back on the provinces and walking away from responsibility.”
“[The Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care network is] calling for stable standards and national funding to make sure we get the same quality from coast to coast,” said Hutt.
This prompted the Nova Scotia Citizens’ Healthcare Network to create a petition that could be signed at the rally.
Lucia Dutton was among those who came together, and signed the petition.
“Harper would like to bring us back to where the United States is now and we don’t want to go there. We don’t want to privatize health care,” she said. “It means a lot of people just won’t get cared for, especially those who are low on money.”
Dutton also explained her personal reasons for supporting Medicare.
“About three years ago I became very sick, and I figured if I lived in the United States I’d be dead now,” said Dutton.
Hutt says that these cuts would mean slashing services and denying care to those who need it most.
“Over 25,000 Nova Scotians are waiting to get into long-term care homes,” he said. “Without a national approach to health care and stable funding, how can we ever hope to give our seniors and the chronically ill the care that they actually need?”
Nova Scotia Citizens’ Health Care Network extended invitations to Premier Stephen McNeil, Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie, and acting NDP leader Maureen MacDonald, as well as NDP health critic Dave Wilson.
Both MacDonald and Wilson were in attendance and showed their support by signing the petition, which is to be delivered to Province House.