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Thursday, 17 October 2013

Canada's throne speech - health has been ignored and undermined

It is enough to make a grown health care worker cry.

The annual ritual of the throne speech, a document that lays out in words the direction that the government will pursue in the upcoming sitting. 

Health is mentioned eleven times in the speech. 

·         First in relation to fiscal policy on health transfers
·         Second in extolling government investment in resources that leads to spin off benefits in supporting health care

  • “Renew investments in health research to tackle the growing onset of dementia, and related illnesses;”

·         “Canadian families expect safe and healthy communities in which to raise their children. They want to address poverty and other persistent social problems, access safe and reliable infrastructure, and enjoy a clean and healthy environment.
o   Following which the first action of the government is to “reintroduce and pass the Respect for Communties Act” (see DrPHealth July 10 )
o   Expand its National Anti-Drug Strategy to address the growing problem of prescription drug abuse
o   “Close loopholes that allow for feeding of addiction under the guise of treatment”
·         Under a section on Canada’s Northern Sovereignty is a self congratulatory statement on investment in health care in the north (with no promise for further addressing inequities)
·         Under a section on Promoting Canadian Values  (excuse me but where did we come up with such a strong value statement?)
o   Canadians also know that free and healthy societies require the full participation of women. Canada has taken a leadership role in addressing the health challenges facing women, infants and children in the world’s poorest countries. These efforts are saving millions of lives.
·         And our Government will continue to work in partnership with Aboriginal peoples to create healthy, prosperous, self-sufficient communities

Put into perspective “tax” is mentioned 23 times.  Derivatives of “econom” 30, “Canad” 219, and evidence of ego boosting in “our Government” is listed 142 times, this is only added to by 18 mentions of the word government alone. 

Okay there are a couple of glimpses of good news – the dearth of these is disheartening
·         Build on the successful Housing First approach and its renewed Homelessness Partnering Strategy to help house vulnerable Canadians;
  • Take further action to improve air quality nationwide;

If you are wanting to read a health tragedy, it can be accessed at Throne speech  

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