House of Commons Hansard #50 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

Health
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Deputy Prime Minister.

Health
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Edmonton West
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, I have to say that I have not heard a more outrageous assertion or allegation made in the House. As I have said, the Prime Minister obtains his health care like all the rest of us. He uses his health card. He does not have an executive health plan. In fact, in the clinic he goes to, the family doctor he has gone to for over 20 years practises medicine in a clinic that is publicly accessible in the city of Montreal to anyone who needs health care.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

May 7th, 2004 / 11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, after Yves Séguin, the National Assembly has unanimously passed a motion calling on Ottawa to transfer the GST in order to allow Quebec to properly fund its health care system. However, true to form, instead of acting, the Prime Minister is buying time before the election to the detriment of patients.

Since Ottawa has abundant financial resources to meet these needs, what is the Prime Minister waiting for to tell Quebec to keep the GST and fund its health care system properly right now?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the provinces have made a number of suggestions about the future funding of health care. As they know and as this House knows, there is a process under way now examining the sustainability of health care for the future. The Prime Minister and the premiers will meet in the summer to answer that question about sustainability and how we ensure that Canadians have access to the care they need when they need it through our publicly funded system.

The Government of Canada has made it very clear that when that plan for sustainability is achieved, the Government of Canada will be a full participant in its financial obligations.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, in March the Quebec National Assembly called upon the federal government to acknowledge the fiscal imbalance and do something about it, but the Prime Minister is still refusing to admit that the problem exists. Yesterday, the National Assembly returned to the charge, this time calling upon the Prime Minister to transfer the GST to Quebec so that it can properly fund its health services.

Having blithely slashed transfer payments and created the fiscal imbalance, how many more times will the Prime Minister say no to the consensus in Quebec in favour of health services?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, again, there is a variety of ways through which the Government of Canada contributes to the funding of health care. We do so through the Canada health transfer and we do so in eight provinces through the money that is provided through equalization. There is a variety of other transfers as well that help the provinces.

We have made it very clear that once the first ministers arrive at a clear understanding about what constitutes sustainability and how we all need to work together to reform the health care system for the future, the Government of Canada will increase its financial participation on top of the $37 billion increase we have already provided.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has said he wanted to differentiate himself from Jean Chrétien and to do things differently. This offers him an excellent opportunity to do just that. Yesterday, the Quebec National Assembly unanimously passed a motion calling for the federal government to transfer the GST in order to correct the fiscal imbalance.

Does the Prime Minister intend to take advantage of this opportunity offered to him unanimously by the Quebec MNAs and does he plan to make his contribution to eliminating fiscal imbalance by transferring the GST to the Government of Quebec?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Wascana
Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, again it is a repetition of the same question.

I would point out that the Government of Canada invests a very substantial amount in our public health care system, in the order of $34 billion or $35 billion a year, all things considered. Because of the health care accord in 2003 and the provisions in my most recent budget, we will be increasing the federal commitment by some $37 billion over the next five years. That amounts to an annual increment of 8% per year, every year, ongoing for five years. When we arrive at the agreement on sustainability, there will be more from the Government of Canada.

Taxation
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the government refuses to follow the path set out for it by the National Assembly unanimously, it will be contributing to prolonging the problem. The tools, the means, and the solutions exist.

Is the government aware that, if it refuses to act now, it will again be the patients, the people in need of health care, who will have to pay for this indecision?

Taxation
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I find it interesting to see Minister Séguin, he who at one time resigned over the TVQ, now asking us to hand over the GST.

In any event, I can say that we are most definitely going to continue to invest in health care. The Minister of Finance has said so, as has the Prime Minister. We will be sitting down with the premiers over the summer and we will determine how best we can support our health system in future. As a government, we are determined to be a real, and predictable, financial partner.

Health
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health.

The Minister of Health says that the Liberal policy on health care is no secret. That is certainly the case now but it was not always so when the Liberals were trying to keep their real policy on health care from Canadians. The Minister of Health revealed some of it a few weeks ago, and now we see more of the connection between Liberals and private delivery of medicare.

The question is not about the Prime Minister. The question is about private for profit MRI clinics. Do these kinds of clinics have a place in the future of health care envisioned by the Liberal Party?

Health
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear at the outset that the Prime Minister has never paid for an MRI. Despite all the innuendoes, the Prime Minister has not paid for an MRI. He has always paid with his health card for the medical treatment he needed, like everyone else.

This government wants to continue to build a very strong, publicly funded health care system. We will continue to support the Canada Health Act and every one of the five principles of that act.

Health
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, that was a totally deceptive and elusive, if not dishonest, answer. I did not say that the Prime Minister paid for an MRI. I did not even raise it.

I asked the minister whether there was a place in the Liberal vision of the future of health care in this country for a private MRI clinic, for private for profit delivery of insured services.

Is there or is there not a place for that in your vision of health care? Answer the bloody question.

Health
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh.

Health
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

The Speaker

Yesterday, the hon. member for Winnipeg—Transcona suggested tranquillizers were appropriate in the House. I know he would not want to suggest that there was somehow blood on the floor about the question. That kind of language is slightly intemperate. I know it is a health question but the Minister of Health appears ready to respond. I hope he will not get into that sort of sanguine discussion.