Madam Speaker, before I begin my remarks, I just want to say that, when I was first elected, I got an identification card, as every member does, and on that card it outlines the privileges of every member and it says that every member elected to this House has the right to the full run of the parliamentary precinct, impeded by no one.
What I saw here tonight, when I saw the Prime Minister come over and physically put his hands on the Conservative whip and move him along, was an absolute breach of that privilege. I will tell members that was intentional. The Prime Minister intentionally put his hands on another member and moved him along. In the process, he bumped the member for Berthier—Maskinongé. I just want to say that is unacceptable.
Madam Speaker, every year that Canadians must wait for progress on community-based care is a lost opportunity for progress in the kind of innovation that is so critical for our health care system. As hospitals overcrowd and our population ages, the time to build momentum toward a better home care service is now.
In 1984, Tommy Douglas, Canada's father of medicare, said:
Let’s not forget that the ultimate goal of Medicare must be to keep people well rather than just patching them up when they get sick. That means clinics. That means making the hospitals available for active treatment cases only, getting chronic patients out into nursing homes, carrying on home nursing programs that are much more effective....
We can't stand still. We can either go backward or we can go forward. The choice we make today will decide the future of Medicare in Canada.
Indeed, the same holds true today. The choices we make, or fail to make, will decide the future of our medicare system.
It is time to envision and actuate the next essential phase for health care in Canada; that is, transitioning from an acute care model to one that includes greatly expanded community care, including home care.
In recent weeks, I have had the opportunity of meeting with a variety of health care providers from across Canada. Through these conversations, I see a clear, shared consensus emerging for a patient-centred, sustainable, community-care health care system across our country.
Recall the old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Community care provides the great opportunity not only to deliver better care to Canadians but also to save our system a great deal of money.
We know that a patient in hospital costs $1,000 per day; we know that extended care homes cost an average of $130 per day; and we know that home care costs an average of $55 per day. While the fiscal argument here is plain, more importantly, we also know that Canadians will enjoy better health when they can stay at home and receive care in their community.
Imagine if we created a new system where $55 a day were dedicated to each Canadian patient in need of home care services. Imagine if those $55 funded rotating visits by health care professionals: on Monday, a visit from a nurse to help with medications; on Tuesday, a visit by a personal care attendant to help feed and bathe the patient; on Wednesday, a visit from the local paramedic to take blood pressure and assess health; on Thursday, a visit by a speech pathologist and audiologist to preserve speech and assess hearing; on Friday, a visit by a physiotherapist to help with mobility, and so on.
Imagine creating a health care system where prevention and care were brought into the home of each and every patient demonstrating need.
With visionary leadership and the appropriate funding, we can improve the delivery of care for all Canadians, save money, and ensure better patient outcomes.
Will the government do so?