Andrew Scheer has made a pledge – and put it in writing – to “maintain and increase” health care funding to the provinces if he’s elected Prime Minister.
He had to. We know what happens when Conservatives are elected to office in Canada. They undermine the fairness of the health care system, cutting funding and eliminating programs.
We in Ontario are fresh from seeing the most recent evidence of this trend. One of the first things Conservative Doug Ford did after being elected was to start cutting health care and social services.
We know that it doesn’t matter what Conservatives say while they’re on the campaign trail. They want to cut health care and other services, and they’ll find a reason to do it. That’s why Scheer underlined that he had put his pledge in writing.
Should we trust Scheer this time? Well, no.
Here’s why: even if he keeps his pledge there are many ways he can keep it while at the still time undermining public health care in Canada.
After all, that’s why Conservatives cut health care funding. It’s not that they hate sick people. It’s that they think our health care system should be privatized, so it can make as much money for their business friends as the health care system does in the U.S.
If we look at what another recently elected Conservative is doing, we see where the road leads. In Alberta, Jason Kenney is looking to cut public health care and add private services. He has given Ernst & Young $2 million to figure out how this is to be done.
Andrew Scheer can keep his pledge by throwing money at private companies in an ongoing effort to undermine public healthcare.
He can undermine the Canada Health Act (which requires that provinces spend transfer money on public healthcare and that bans practices such as extra-billing) without cutting a dime from Federal transfer payments.
Nothing in his letter suggests he won’t do this. Everything in the performance of Conservative governments past and present suggests that he will.
This is the plan. Cut public services and privatize them. Look at how Scheer wants to spend public money providing rebates to people who send their kids to private school.
Scheer’s promise is worth nothing, not even the paper it’s written on.