Candidates lack ‘political will’ to expand Canada Health Act: Public Interest Alberta

Public Interest Alberta is waiting for federal election candidates to talk about the need to expand the Canada Health Act to cover seniors care and prescription drugs.

Public Interest Alberta is waiting for federal election candidates to talk about the need to expand the Canada Health Act to cover seniors care and prescription drugs.

Noel Somerville, chairperson of Public Interest Alberta’s Seniors Task Force, said that right now nobody seems to have the “political will” to tackle the out-of-date federal legislation.

The act, passed in 1984, puts conditions in place that provinces and territories must meet in order to get federal funding for health care.

“I think the Canada Health Act should be extended. Right now, it covers doctors and services rendered in hospitals. It does not cover services rendered in seniors care facilities. I think it should be extended to do that.

“It does not cover prescription drugs. I think it should be extended to do that,” said Somerville, who spoke at a Central Alberta Council on Aging meeting on Tuesday morning at Golden Circle.

He said if a senior has a chronic disability, cognitive disability or becomes too frail to look after themselves, those are health conditions that should be covered by the act.

As a representative of the non-partisan organization focused on advocacy of public services, spaces and institutions, Somerville said he has introduced resolutions at a variety of NDP and Liberal meetings to amend the act.

“They really get twitchy as soon as you say that. I think they are afraid if they ever open it up, the Conservatives will use it to dismantle the Canada Health Act as it exists. I don’t think anybody has the political clout to do that any more. I think they need to get in there and make significant improvements.”

He said the free-trade agreement the federal Conservative government wants to ratify with the European Union poses another hurdle to lowering prescription drug costs for Canadians.

“In Canada, we pay way above the average price for prescription drugs. They say Canada is a relatively small country compared to the others. New Zealand is way smaller than Canada and New Zealand does not pay a fraction of what we pay for prescription drugs because New Zealand negotiates with individual companies for bulk purchasing of prescription drugs. That can really bring the price down.”

Somerville said discussion by federal parties has lacked substance so far this election campaign and the public has to start asking more of candidates.

Central Alberta Council on Aging and Golden Circle are co-hosting a federal election candidate forum on Oct. 6. at Golden Circle.

Just Posted

Red Deer area businesses recognized at Business of the Year Awards night

“It’s an honour just to be nominated.” The popular words echoed throughout… Continue reading

Child sex offender should get 12 years: Crown prosecutor

Stuart Peter Hunt has pleaded guilty to 10 child sexual exploitation and pornography charges

Legalizing cannabis cost estimate for Red Deer just under $400k

Although the province of Alberta has announced $11.2 million for cannabis legalization,… Continue reading

WATCH: Every square tells a story: Edmonton expert is exploring Red Deer’s quilting history

Community members can bring in family heirloom quilts for documentation

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

Film with Fan Bingbing, Bruce Willis cancelled after tax case

BEIJING — The director of “Air Strike,” featuring Chinese actress Fan Bingbing,… Continue reading

Michael Buble shuts down rumours of retirement from music

LOS ANGELES — Michael Buble is shutting down rumours that he’s going… Continue reading

After Canada legalizes pot, industry eyes rest of the world

MONTREAL — Cam Battley is a top executive at one of Canada’s… Continue reading

Facebook’s election ‘war room’ takes aim at fake information

MENLO PARK, Calif. — In an otherwise innocuous part of Facebook’s expansive… Continue reading

Military to overhaul morale-boosting trips after review finds serious problems

OTTAWA — Canada’s top general is overhauling military morale-boosting tours after an… Continue reading

Police hand out a few hefty fines for allegedly violating Cannabis Act

The celebratory mood that marked the legalization of recreational cannabis lost a… Continue reading

PHOTO: Say goodbye to City Hall Park flowers

A sure sign that winter is on its way is when City… Continue reading

PHOTO: Chew On This! campaign draws attention to national poverty

Lunch bags were being handed out in front of The Hub downtown… Continue reading

Most Read