Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Vancouver East.
It is a pleasure to take part in the debate today, especially on the day when the NDP leader, Jack Layton, is in Halifax delivering the health care platform for the New Democrats for the upcoming election. I would love to have been there but I am here instead taking part in this important debate that condemns the private for profit delivery of health care that the government has allowed to take root since 1993.
For the last 10 years, Canadians have been telling the Liberal government that they want innovative public health care that they can count on. I hear it all the time in Dartmouth. People do not want the long waiting lists. They fear the rising cost of drugs. They do not want to be put on a long waiting list for an MRI or for other kind of treatment. They want health care that they can count on and health care that will be there for them, their children, their grandchildren and their grandparents when they need it. That is a very simple and straightforward request.
There is no ambiguity in their statements and yet the Liberals have not listened to what people have asked over the last 10 years. They have been listening clearly to someone else. They have allowed for the private for profit delivery of health care to grow and, for practical solutions, to be ignored.
Today the NDP's platform has been released. We are saying that it is time to put new energy into health care and come up with practical solutions to fix the system and improve it, similar to the way Roy Romanow suggested changes and created solutions just over a year ago.
Included in the NDP's health platform are practical solutions for an innovative health care system that is improved through new ideas and investment, not privatization and not for profit delivery. The NDP is calling for restoring the federal government's capacity to act as a partner for innovation and practical delivery by increasing funding for health care to 25%, up from 16%, as recommended by the Romanow commission.
We are calling on government to prepare for the aging population and to relieve the burden on hospitals and families through a national home care program based on public and non-profit delivery. We are calling on implementing a pharmacare program to ensure Canadians have access to prescription drugs, starting with low income Canadians and people with catastrophic illnesses, and cutting health care costs through bulk buying of prescription drugs and clamping down on patent abuses by drug corporations.