::


:: PoliticsWatch Archives

> Frontpage
> Recent News
> News Archive
> Recent  Features 
> Features Archive


:: Inside PoliticsWatch

> Contact PoliticsWatch


:: PoliticsWatch News

Wait times guarantees another promise kept: PM

[PoliticsWatch updated 4:55 p.m. April 4, 2007]

OTTAWA  — Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Wednesday that his government has kept its promise to create a wait times guarantee for certain health care services.     
 
The agreement with 10 provinces and three territories means the government can now claim to have checked off four of  the five priorities it campaigned on in the last federal election. 

Since taking power early last year, the government has passed an Accountability Act aimed at cleaning up government, reduced the GST by one per cent, and delivered on a promise to send a monthly cheque of $100 to families for each child under six. 

The government has introduced a large number of bills aimed at getting tough on crime, one of the five priorities,  but many of those bills are still working their way through Parliament. 

The surprise announcement of the wait-times guarantee comes as the government appears in pre-election mode and just two days after two cabinet ministers gave reporters a tour of the Conservative party's election war room in suburban Ottawa. 

The wait-times guarantee announcements also comes a day after Harper used his strongest language to date and said his party would be ready for an election if the opposition parties were to defeat them in the House of Commons on confidence matters 

"I take that threat seriously," the PM said Tuesday.

While the prime minister said Health Minister Tony Clement had "succeeded in his mission" to get a wait-times guarantee agreement in place, he later tempered his comments by acknowledging to the room full of medical professionals that "we still have a long way to go."

Under the agreement, the provinces and territories have committed to provide guaranteed timely access to health care in at least one of six priority areas. The areas are cancer care, hip and knee replacement, cardiac care, diagnostic imaging, cataract surgeries or primary care. 

The provinces have until 2010 to put the wait-time guarantee in place. 

During the last election campaign the Conservatives made the following promise: "Work with the provinces to develop a Patient Wait Times Guarantee to ensure that all Canadians receive essential medical treatment within clinically acceptable waiting times."

Speaking with reporters after the announcement, Clement acknowledged that the agreement was just a first step, but he said getting all provinces and territories onside was a major accomplishment in and of itself. 

"This is really quite a sea change in the political discourse when it comes to health care policy," he said. 

But the minister cautioned that there can be no quick overnight fixes to long waits for procedures in Canada's health-care system. 

"Beware of the politician who says that health-care guarantees can be done by flicking a light switch," he added. 

Clement said all six priority areas identified will be met by at least one of the provinces and territories.

One health-care professional who was in attendance at the conference where the prime minister made the announcement said he is glad to see progress is being made on the file but the work is not done yet. 

"This is really a work in evolution," said Dr. Chris Simpson of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society. "I think we've started down the road, but the prime minister is right. There's much, much more work that needs to be done."

"We are nowhere near the point where we can say, 'Mission accomplished.' This isn't a George Bush thing where we can say this thing is done and can move on. This is just a start."

: Related Links

> Canadian generic drug prices too high to help Africa- Clement

© PoliticsWatch® 2007. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PoliticsWatch content, including by framing, copying, linking or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Public Interests Research and Communications Inc. (PIRCINC). PoliticsWatch is registered trademark of PIRCINC.

> More Recent PoliticsWatch News...







:: Got a News Tip?

Call the PoliticsWatch
tip-line at 613.232.0516
or
e-mail

 

PoliticsWatch Home  |  News Services  Voter Resources  |  Research Base

© PoliticsWatch® 2007. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PoliticsWatch content, 
including by framing, copying, linking or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of 
Public Interests Research and Communications Inc. (PIRCINC). PoliticsWatch is registered trademark of PIRCINC.
PoliticsWatch® | Canada's Political Portal™
85 Albert Street, Suite 1502, Ottawa ON K1P 6A4 |  phone: 613.232.0516
news@politicswatch.com  |  Terms of Service, Copyright, Trademarks, and Disclaimers Statement