Mr. Speaker, I believe that there has to be transparency at every level of government. There is no question about that, but I want to try to stick just to the health care system. That is one of the points that the Auditor General made. We need to have transparency, accountability, predictability and a measurement of outcomes, because there is no question that in the health care system money is being spent in ways that are not really providing us with any new efficiencies in the system or that have anything to do with the delivery of services to clients or patients. There is no doubt at all about that.
I want to brag a little bit now and I do not want to be too boastful, but one of the bills I introduced last week, Bill C-238, is a patients' bill of rights. It is something that I think we have to consider in our country. I had a chance to introduce it last week. That was one of the things that Bill Clinton tried to do when he was trying to overhaul the American health care system. Actually I wrote to Washington and did a little bit of research on it. I said to myself that maybe it is time we had a patients' bill of rights so that we know what services we are entitled to and that we in turn know what our responsibilities are as users of the system. The Auditor General has identified that difficulty in our system in regard to that sense of accountability, that transparency, where the money is being spent, and who follows the money.
The other thing I want to point out is that it is not just a federal government problem. I have to be careful how I talk about this, because when we talk about closing hospitals in any part of the country we always get into trouble. There is a great article written by David Lutz, a family, criminal and personal injury lawyer from Hampton, New Brunswick, in the constituency of Fundy—Royal.
This is just to show how protective of the status quo we are in our own neighbourhoods, because we are talking about changing the status quo. That is what Kirby talks about, about not just throwing money at it. Money has to buy change. In New Brunswick we have a population of 757,000 people. We have 51 hospitals. Metro Toronto, and I think we have some Toronto members here today, has a population of 4.6 million and has 36 hospitals. Quoting from his article, he says “do the math”. Could anyone say it any better than Mr. Lutz?
He goes through it. We know that there is a difference between the country mouse and the city mouse, and we do know that there is a difference between a country hospital and a city hospital, but he goes on to say that if Toronto can get by with 9,600 beds, less than 10,000 beds for six times our population, and he is talking about the population of New Brunswick, of course, 750,000 or so, why do we need 12,800 beds? These are just questions he is throwing out. He is not suggesting that we close down any hospital. These are questions that I think are worth debating. We do have the doctor from Edmundston here. I am glad to see the parliamentary secretary to the minister here.