NDP leader Thomas Mulcair is chastising the Conservatives on their proposed cuts to health care while accusing them of politicizing the debate on marijuana.

In a speech to the Canadian Medical Association, Mulcair contends the Tories unsuccessfully tried to recruit Canadian doctors in an ideological crusade against marijuana.

Three medical groups, including the CMA, recently turned down a request by Ottawa to participate in a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of marijuana use to Canadian youth. They said the issue had become a "political football."

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau says the proposed campaign is a thinly veiled attack on his pro-legalization stance, while Health Minister Rona Ambrose scoffed at that charge earlier this week at the annual CMA conference.

Mulcair, the first Opposition leader to be invited to address the meeting, accuses the Conservatives of being more interested in reducing funding to public health care than protecting it.

Mulcair vowed that if elected, the NDP would use any budget surplus to cancel $36 billion in proposed Conservative cuts to health care over the next 10 years.

Mulcair also said an NDP government would reopen nine veterans service centres closed earlier this year

With files from CBC News