Mr. Speaker, public medicare is one of past minority government's proudest achievements and now forms a cornerstone of Canadian identity. We need a government to protect and improve it, reasserting a federal role to stop privatization and pursue the solutions that can control costs, improve care and keep medicare public.
Public health care attracts billions of dollars in investment. Public health care provides Canada with a competitive advantage vis-à-vis our neighbours to the south.
In the U.S., General Motors' health care bill runs about $1,500 per car produced. In Canada that figure is only a few hundred dollars. In the U.S., GM's health bill for current and retired workers is expected to reach $5.6 billion and it expects to slash 25,000 jobs in the next four years.
CAW estimates that it costs $4 or $5 more an hour per employee to build a car in the U.S. than in Canada, a 10% labour cost advantage for the Canadian auto industry. Public health care is a good part of the reason.
This year Canadians selected Tommy Douglas as the greatest Canadian. Keep our public health care for the prosperity and wellness of all Canadians in our economy.