Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the debate on Bill C-18. Before I do that, I would like to respond to some of the comments made by the member for Eglinton-Lawrence earlier in the debate.
He started by talking about the leadership this government is providing in dealing with the crisis in health care. I suggest that the problems we are facing are being magnified. Indeed there is no leadership. No direction is being provided by the government to deal with the crisis in health care.
The member was looking back in his speech, talking about the Fathers of Confederation and the Constitution. Those are just words to justify the status quo. There were no forward looking solutions to deal with the problem. Instead there was a look back to justify the status quo.
The bottom line is that the federal government, while assuming the role of a minor payer, still wants to be the major player. It is not in the cards. It is going to change whether members realize it or not.
As an Ontario MP, as I am, he has to be very aware of the crisis in our province, the long waiting lists and the bed closures. It is projected that Ontario will spend $17 billion on health care and that the federal government will contribute $6 billion toward it. That is a far cry from the 50:50 cost sharing that allowed the federal government originally to intrude in what is a provincial responsibility.
The province of Ontario is looking for assistance. It needs help. It is not looking for rhetoric. It has a problem and it is looking for some help from the federal government in dealing with it.
One of the most interesting things that the member said in his earlier presentation was that the five principles of health care are debatable but not negotiable. Why in the world would anybody debate them if there is to be no negotiation? What the government is saying is: "My mind is made up. Do not in any way confuse me with the facts".