Bargaining For Health
by Ray Turner - Story: 3971
Sep 12, 2004 / 11:41 am
Sep 12, 2004 / 11:41 am
- Canada's premiers are hopeful that Prime Minister Paul Martin's tenuous grip on a minority government will give them leverage to drive a hard bargain at this week's high-stakes health-care summit. As they prepare to head Monday into the first session of a three-day, televised first ministers meeting, premiers are well aware that Martin is vulnerable politically and needs a deal more badly than they do. Martin's Liberal minority could be defeated in Parliament at any time and, premiers reckon, he won't want to risk facing the electorate again without delivering on his top campaign promise from last June's election: to fix Canada's health-care system for a generation. During last spring's election campaign, Martin staved off defeat partly by portraying himself as the saviour of Canada's universal, public medicare system and accusing Conservative Leader Stephen Harper of secretly plotting with Alberta Premier Ralph Klein to privatize health care.
- Housing starts in Canada were up in August to an seasonally adjusted annual rate of 241,500 according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., beating expectations, but analysts suggest the rate may have peaked. All regions of Canada, except Quebec, reported increases in the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts in August, led by British Columbia, where they rose 33.8 per cent.
- The Canadian Medical Association says the creation of a Canada Health Access Fund would be instrumental in reducing waiting periods for people in need of urgent medical treatment. Canada's first ministers, who will be meeting in Ottawa next week to discuss the country's health care system, were sent a copy of the CMA's policy paper called Better Access, Better Health. The plan, released Saturday, calls for Ottawa and the provinces to share the cost of the fund, which would allow patients to travel to other regions for treatment if local health care facilities are not able to deliver on time.
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