Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Vancouver East.
New Democrats have a vision for health care. We believe that health care should be there for people when they need it, that hospitals should be properly staffed and that workers always have the time to listen and to care for patients. We believe that nurses, doctors and frontline health care workers should be respected, and we should have enough of them so that we do not have to wait.
New Democrats and I believe that people should get surgery as soon as they need it and not just when they can afford it. We believe that no one should have to avoid going to a doctor because they cannot afford to pay for it out-of-pocket. The reality is that is not how things are in this country.
After seven years under the Prime Minister, health care is certainly struggling. Parents are worried about the state of health care. They are anxious to leave their homes with their little ones, because they are worried they will not be able to be seen in time if they get sick. People are waiting for hours in crowded emergency rooms.
They are waiting so long for surgery that they are losing their quality of life. There are horrible examples of private companies exploiting the desperation of Canadians. Canadian Surgery Solutions is draining surgeons out of hospitals and is taking advantage of people's pain by charging them $30,000 per surgery. Maple, a corporation owned by Loblaws, has poached doctors out of family practices so they can charge people up to $70 for a visit with a family doctor.
Nothing in the world is more important to us all than the health of our children and our loved ones. While people are waiting for hours in pain, the Prime Minister is letting us fend for ourselves. While health care workers are exhausted and working endless hours of overtime, while they are leaving the profession in droves, the Liberals have offered a health care accord that does not allow an increase in the number of positions.
While cash-for-care corporations, like Canadian Surgery Solutions and Maple, charge people for health care and bleed nurses and doctors out of our public system, the Liberal government turns its back and pretends not to see.
In 2021, it was a very different story. The Prime Minister campaigned against for-profit care and said that it would threaten our public health care system. He warned that voting for the Conservatives would open up the door to more for-profit care, and that would be a problem, because the bottom line would matter more than patient care. However, time and time again the Prime Minister says one thing and then does the opposite. He flip-flops. He breaks his promises.
Conservative premiers are now on a mission to privatize and monetize our Canadian health care system, and the Prime Minister is giving it the green light. He says it is a good thing to do. He flip-flopped so fast that his own party members did not get the updated talking points.
Let me quote a couple of Liberal MPs. The Liberal MP for Don Valley East said, “Doug Ford's push for private health care is so wrong. It brings USA style healthcare to Canada by putting those who can pay at the front of the line.”
The Liberal MP for Humber River—Black Creek said, “this is absolutely erosion of our health-care system as we know it. And the introduction of privatization is where we're going.... If we don't have enough nurses, and doctors today, you're going to have even less in the public system.”
In fact, the former health minister of the Liberal government, Jane Philpott, said that what is happening right now is a clear “violation to the Canada Health Act.”
What is the Prime Minister doing about this clear violation of the Canada Health Act? What is the Liberal government doing? They are doing nothing.
When the Prime Minister had a chance to stand up for health care, he stood down. It is no surprise that, true to form, the Conservatives are absolutely for this for-profit scheme. They believe in starving our health care system of the appropriate funding to bring in the for-profit vultures to exploit our health care system and to exploit the desperation of Canadians. The Conservative leader and the Conservative premiers are taking a page directly out of the same old Tory playbook: underfund public services, starve our public health care system, then claim it is broken all of a sudden and hand it over to the private sector.
We are at a watershed moment in Canadian health care. People are facing painfully long wait times in emergency rooms and to receive surgeries, and so many Canadians cannot find a family doctor, while the Prime Minister pretends this is okay. He does that, because for his friends it is okay. Meanwhile, the Conservative leader is cheering it on and saying to bring in more for-profit care, starve our public system and hurt people.
The Conservative leader rages, because he wants to tear it all down. It is his goal to tear down our health care system. He says it is broken. Tear it down and bring in even more for-profit care. The truth is that our health care system is getting worse. However, it does not have to be this way. This is the result of choices. We can choose differently.
We can invest in our health care system and fund more frontline health care workers, like nurses and doctors, and turn things around. We can rebuild a world-class public universal health care system. We have a choice. We can stop the for-profit system from cannibalizing our hospital workers and our emergency room workers, or we can allow the American-style for-profit U.S. private health care system to flourish.
We can staff up our hospitals, or we can allow corporations to staff up their companies. We believe, very clearly, that we need to invest in people so that the care we need is there for us when we need it, not when we can afford it. We can train more nurses and more doctors here in Canada. We can respect and hire workers. We can recruit them. We can add nurses to every shift so they are not run off their feet. We can pay health care workers what they deserve.
We can give licences to practise to health care workers who trained abroad, are already here and are ready to get to work.
We can invest in improving home care and long-term care so that our parents and grandparents do not spend months in hospital beds waiting for a spot.
Finally, we can invest in mental health so that people can get the care and treatment they need.
Every member of Parliament now has a choice to make. They can choose where they stand. New Democrats know where we stand: We stand with families who are worried that if they rush into the ER, they are not going to have a doctor or nurse to look after their baby right away.
We stand with everyone who needs a family doctor and the people who wait at clinics for hours and hours just to get their prescriptions filled. We stand with frontline health care workers, people who deserve better workloads, a better work-life balance and more respect.
We stand with everyone waiting for surgery. These people need more health care workers. They do not need more for-profit companies cannibalizing the workers from our hospital system. They need us to rebuild and expand public hospitals, family health teams, long-term care and home care.
What the New Democratic Party would do differently right now is work with the provinces to train and hire more nurses, doctors and primary health care providers. We would work with the provinces to recognize the credentials of nurses, doctors and other health professionals that have studied and worked in other countries. We would be a better partner in stabilizing health care, cutting wait times and making sure care is there for people when they need it.
I urge all members of the House of Commons to think of the families in their communities, vote in support of this motion and defend our universal public health care system.