Canada’s universal, single-payer health care system is a reflection of our values as Canadians, Dr. Danielle Martin told a crowded assembly hall as part of the Ontario Regional Council.
“It’s the highest expression of Canadians caring for one another,” said Martin.
But with this, there is an obligation to meet the health care needs of Canadians – including expanding the system to create a national pharmacare program and addressing other issues.
Martin helped found Canadian Doctors for Medicare in 2006 to provide a voice for Canadian doctors who want to strengthen and improve Canada's universal publicly funded health care system.
According to Martin, one in 10 Canadians doesn’t take their medication or fill prescriptions because they cannot afford to do so. Martin said she has seen this first hand in her own practice, with patients landing in the emergency room with preventable conditions because they couldn’t afford their medication.
Martin also raised the importance of defending the public nature of Canada’s health care system. Canadian Doctors for Medicare have gained intervener status in the upcoming B.C. Supreme Court case of Dr. Brian Day, who is challenging B.C.’s ban on private health care. She called the court challenge a brazen attack on universal public health care.
Unifor committed to donating $50,000 in total to Canadian Doctors for Medicare and a number of other local unions pledged several thousands of dollars in donations.
Martin’s concerns were echoed by others in the room – as dozens of activists got up to speak.
Ontario Health Care Council chair and Unifor Local 1106 Financial Secretary Shawn Rouse called the creeping threat of private clinics “death by a thousand cuts” and warned that if the B.C. challenge is not defeated, privatization will deeply compromise the universal Canadian system.
Darlene Prouse, Unifor Local 2458 Second Vice President, said the issue is not just about health care workers. “It must be our wake-up call that we could lose something that is dear to all of us.”
Ontario Council delegates voted unanimously to play a leading role in defending Canada’s health care system, including with Canadian Doctors for Medicare.
For more information on Canadian Doctors for Medicare, visit: http://www.canadiandoctorsformedicare.ca/