August 25, 2021
From the very start of this campaign, I have talked about the stark choice that is in front of us; a choice between the values that guide our party and those that define Canadian conservatives.
Those divergent values are now on full display in the current debate about one of our most fundamental Canadian institutions: our public health care system.
While the Liberal Party has promised to strengthen the system with a plan to allocate more than $10 billion towards reducing wait times and hiring more doctors and nurses, the Conservatives have indicated that their solution is based on privatization.
Yesterday, Erin O’Toole admitted that he supports more privatization in health care. On this, he has been consistent; he said it during his leadership campaign in 2020 in the middle of a once-in-a-generation pandemic, and he was saying it before he ran to become Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.
Instead of defending the principle of public health care, he believes the federal government should reward provinces when they “innovate” by privatizing care.
Now, I can already hear our friends on the other side waving their hands in the air and saying “Randy, a Conservative government would not suddenly impose an American healthcare system!” To this I would say, it isn’t a question of changing overnight. This is a slippery slope. Once we start down this road, bit by bit, your ability to get care relies more and more on your ability to pay for it.
We cannot let this happen. That is not what Canada is about.
Here in Alberta we have lived through the consequences of more privatization. We have seen Jason Kenney create chaos in our paramedic dispatch system, lay off 11,000 health care employees in the middle of a pandemic, and try to cut nurses salaries as they fought and continue to fight to keep Albertans safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Edmonton Centre we know how to fight efforts like this. We saw it when our own Anne McLellan successfully stood up to Ralph Klein and his efforts to tear down our system with his “third way”. She fought that battle and she won.
That is the job of the federal government under the Canada Health Act: to defend, on behalf of Canadians, the public health system. If Erin O’Toole and the Conservative Party have forgotten that fundamental duty, they have no place in government.
If I am elected your next Member of Parliament, I will always fight for public health care.
I hope we can count on your support.