ZOOMER Magazine


- —Peter Muggeridge

AFTER LIVING THROUGH A summer marked by emergencyr­oom closures, Canadians are hoping the federal and provincial government­s can put aside their endless jurisdicti­onal bickering and concentrat­e on saving health care. The list of ailments plaguing the system are many, starting with a pronounced nursing shortage and long wait times for diagnosic tests, treatments and surgeries as the system struggles to catch up from the two years of pandemic backlog and the fact that more than 4.6 million Canadians do not have access to a family doctor. In B.C., the physician scarcity has become so pronounced that Michael and Janet Mort, a senior couple from Central Saanich, actually placed a Doctor Wanted ad in the Victoria Times. While the Morts’ ploy worked, it only highlights the need for timely and practical political solutions. At a meeting in Victoria in July, the premiers issued a statement claiming that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can ensure the health system’s sustainabi­lity by forking over an extra $28 billion a year to the provinces without any strings attached, on top of the $45.2 billion it already doles out annually through the Canada Health Transfer (CHT). Trudeau served notice that he will increase the CHT to the provinces if they agree to work with Ottawa on how the money is spent. There are some signs that a spirit of compromise is in the air. When two old adversarie­s like Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Trudeau emerged from their late-August meeting with both pledging to do whatever it takes to save health care, then anything is possible.

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