As you enjoy summer, I wanted to take the opportunity to provide a brief update on what our Conservative Government has accomplished on your behalf over the past session of Parliament.
Nearly sixteen months ago, Canadians made a historic decision in selecting a strong, stable, national, majority Conservative Government to help lead the country through a time of global economic fragility. Since then, our Government has worked hard and made critical choices resulting in accomplishments that are making a difference in the lives of all Canadians.
A GOVERNMENT FOCUSED ON THE HEALTH OF CANADIANS
All of our friends and family use our health care system, which is why we must ensure its sustainability for future generations of Canadians. Our Government is committed to a publicly funded, universal health care system. The continued health of Canadians is a fundamental aspect of strong communities which are, in turn, the backbone of our economic recovery. Our Government’s commitment can be shown through hard numbers, and I would like to take the time to highlight what we have done and are going to do in the years ahead.
Our Conservative Government has shown that our low-tax plan can translate into real results for families. Since taking office in 2006, funding for health care has increased from $19 billion to $27 billion per year. However, in the past sixteen months, our Majority Government has done much more for the health care system, including:
- raising health transfers to the provinces at a faster rate than provincial spending on health, and making federal health transfers sustainable in the long run;
- cutting red tape that delays access for Canadians to new over-the-counter (OTC) drugs by eliminating Schedule F of Health Canada’s Food and Drug Regulations;
- investing in the next phase of Health Canada’s Healthy Eating Awareness and Education Initiative, encouraging Canadians to employ more healthy eating habits;
- expanding health-related tax relief under the GST/HST and income tax systems to better meet the health care needs of Canadians;
- investing $51.2 million over the next two years to strengthen Canada’s food safety system;
- improving the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP), helping Canadians with severe disabilities and their families;
- proposing that midwives, nurse practitioners and podiatrists gain the authority to prescribe selected medications containing controlled substances;
- forgiving federal loans for family physicians and nurses who practice in remote areas in 2011, attracting more health care workers to underserved communities;
- updating Canada’s world-leading Chemicals Management Plan in 2011, further improving product safety in Canada;
- distributing tough new health warnings on tobacco products in 2011 through the Tobacco Act;
- setting a new guideline for the amount of cadmium that may be found in children’s jewellery in 2011; and,
- replacing 40-year old product safety legislation with the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act in 2011, heightening industry responsibility and better protecting the health of Canadians.
But these immediate changes are just the start of our Conservative Government’s commitment to health care as not just a system which must be maintained in the present, but sustained for future generations.
In the next years of our Majority Government, health care funding will increase – from investments of $30 billion in 2013-2014 to a commitment of more than $38 billion by 2018-2019. Over that five-year period, Canadians will see an investment of at least $178 billion in their health care services. It means that federal support for health care will continue to increase to record levels, but in a way that is balanced, fair to taxpayers, and sustainable.
I can assure you and your family that our Government will continue to work to ensure that Canada’s health care system is preserved over the long-term, and that it is there when Canadians need it. And, unlike the Opposition, our Government will maintain this system without raising taxes on individuals or businesses.
In this spirit of health and wellbeing, I wish you and yours an enjoyable week.
Leon Benoit, MP