Latimer: NDP and Greens have lots to say about health

Last week I wrote a little about what the Conservative and Liberal parties are promising in this election when it comes to health care, mental health and poverty.

As promised, this week I will highlight a little of what the NDP and Green Party say in their published platforms.

Jack Layton and the NDP party discuss renewing the Health Accord just as the other parties do.

They specify a six per cent escalator and a commitment to the Canada Health Act and a single payer system with progress on primary care, reducing the cost of prescription medication and extending health coverage to out of hospital services like home care and long term care.

The NDP also wants to invest in more family doctors and nurses by training 1,200 new doctors over the next 10 years and 6,000 more training spaces for nurses in the next six years.

It wants to establish programs aimed at recruiting and supporting low income, rural and aboriginal medical students.

When it comes to poverty, the NDP want to enact legislation regarding affordable housing and provide significant new funding for this.

It is concerned with eliminating child poverty and wants to combine existing supports to create a child benefit, increasing support steadily to $700 per child over the next four years, in addition to the current universal child care benefit.

It also mentions a desire to table legislation on setting goals and targets for poverty reduction.

The Green Party has a lot to say on the topics of health care, mental health and poverty.

It stresses its support for the Canada Health Act and believes the problems in our health care system can be solved from within that framework.

Like all the major parties, the Greens would renew the Health Accord.

Greens also promise more money for staff and diagnostic equipment in hospitals as well as funding for training more doctors and nurses.

They would work with the Canadian Medical Association to establish a program for fast-tracking the accreditation of foreign trained health care professionals.

Student loan forgiveness for health care professionals willing to work in rural settings, expanded home support programs, more long term care beds and study into the feasibility of a national drug plan are also on the Green agenda.

When it comes to mental health, a couple of the policies the Greens say they would enact include increasing transfer funding for non-institutionalized mental health patients and funding for a national mental health strategy.

The Green platform states a desire to eliminate poverty. They say they would do this by removing taxes from the lowest income categories; allowing income assistance recipients to keep 100 per cent of the wages they earn up to the low income cut off; offering free transit passes for those on social assistance; extending parental leave; increasing guaranteed income supplement for seniors by 25 per cent; and establishing a guaranteed livable income.

With the goal of eliminating homelessness, the Green platform says they will add a clause to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms stating everyone in Canada is entitled to safe shelter or affordable housing.

Among other things, they would support the implementation of a national affordable housing plan and change the Income Tax Act to offer tax cuts for affordable housing.

For more information on each of these party’s platforms go to:

NDP: http://www.ndp.ca/platform

Green: http://greenparty.ca/files/attachments/vision_green_2011en_0.pdf.

With only a few days left before our election, I encourage you to get informed and, on May 2, vote for the Canada you want.

Paul Latimer is a Kelowna psychiatrist and president of Okanagan Clinical Trials.

dr@okanaganclinicaltrials.com

 

 

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