Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach (Beauharnois—Salaberry, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is once again telling us that the expiry of the health accord in 2014 is still a long way away and that it would be useless to start working on it now; however, the Wait Time Alliance's report says the exact opposite. The chair of the alliance,
Dr. Lorne Bellan, has criticized the excessive amount of time people have to wait before receiving care. The longest wait times are here in Ottawa.
Will the Prime Minister wait until 2014 before taking action?
Hon. Leona Aglukkaq (Minister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, in addition to over 30% increases to transfer payments made to the provinces and territories for the delivery of health care, our government also provided additional funding, about $1 billion, for the reduction of wait times in their chosen areas. We continue to work collaboratively with the provinces and the territories to roll out the present health accord and to continue to reduce wait times, while respecting the fact that health care is an area of provincial jurisdiction.
Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, blaming the provinces is no answer. This is a joint responsibility. There is no question that the current system is costly and inefficient.
Our public health care system must move forward now to fit today's model of community care. We cannot wait until 2014. We need a long-term care strategy to free up hospital beds and support those with chronic health concerns.
How long do we have to wait before the government takes meaningful action to address these critical shortages?