Health care rally in Bannerman Park vies for premiers' attention

A national organization rallied in St. John's on Monday night with a message for Canada's premiers.
The Council of Canadians lit heart-shaped lanterns in Bannerman Park to bring attention to health care issues and cuts in federal funding to the provinces for health care. 1:00

A national organization rallied in St. John's on Monday night with a message for Canada's premiers.

The Council of Canadians wants the provincial leaders to re-focus on health care.

Health care campaigner Michael Butler says he hopes pressure can be put on leaders to tackle health issues across Canada. (CBC)

Premiers are meeting in Labrador and St. John's this week to discuss the economy, climate change, aboriginal issues and health care.

Council of Canadians members got together in Bannerman Park, lighting heart-shaped lanterns to bring attention to their cause.

Spokesperson Michael Butler said the group has been fighting for change since the federal government eliminated the health care accord back in 2014.

"You can't just close your eyes and pretend the problem is going to go away," he told CBC News.

"You need to come together and come up with some real solutions that recognize the importance of health — from St. John's to Victoria, across this country."

The group is trying to get the attention of premiers from across Canada who are meeting in Labrador this week. (CBC)

Butler said more members of the group will be flying in from across Canada this week to attend more events that are planned to get the premiers' attention. The next event is scheduled for Wednesday.

Central to the council's concerns are cuts in federal funding to the provinces for health care. 

Butler said changes to the program have seen Newfoundland and Labrador lose about $22 million in federal health care funds. 

"We are on the precipice, it's not an exaggeration," he said.

"We felt that we had to step up and send a clear message to the premiers that it's time for real leadership, and it's time to act on our health care before it's too late."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.