CBC In Depth
INDEPTH: HEALTH CARE
Conference Quotes
CBC News Online | September 15, 2004

Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2004 | Day 3

Prime Minister Paul Martin (right) signs a new deal for the health care in Canada as Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty looks on at the First Ministers Conference on Health in Ottawa on Thursday, September 16, 2004. (CP/POOL, Jonathan Hayward)
Prime Minister Paul Martin listens to Quebec Premier Jean Charest address his provincial counterparts at the First Ministers Conference on Health in Ottawa on Tuesday, September 14, 2004.(CP PHOTO/Tom Hanson)
ON PROGRESS TOWARDS A DEAL:
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams: "I lost more sleep from the outcome last night than getting to bed too late"

  • Manitoba Premier Gary Doer: "The first rule of this exercise, in my view, is to have an honest amount of money to honour an honest amount of promises in the provinces. The worst thing we can do is have a happy press conference and go home not delivering on promises."

  • Prime Minister Paul Martin: "Let's put the horse before the cart. Right now, in terms of the fundamental issues ... we do not have that 10-year plan."

Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2004 | Day Two

ON HEALTH CARE AND DEFICITS:
  • Prime Minister Paul Martin: "If we had not acted in 1995, we would not be here today. We would not be in the position to offer the kinds of money we are offering today. In 1995, 35 cents of every dollar that we spent on health care was borrowed. We achieved in a period of four years what no other nation has been able to do."

  • New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord to Martin: "When you put your energy and your focus and your determination to break the back of the deficit, you did it for a generation, not for five years."

  • Martin: "If Canadians could get behind beating the deficit, think how much more they could get behind something like reforming health care."

Prime Minister Paul Martin listens to Quebec Premier Jean Charest address his provincial counterparts at the First Ministers Conference on Health in Ottawa on Tuesday, September 14, 2004.(CP PHOTO/Tom Hanson)
Prime Minister Paul Martin listens to Quebec Premier Jean Charest address his provincial counterparts at the First Ministers Conference on Health in Ottawa on Tuesday, September 14, 2004.(CP PHOTO/Tom Hanson)
ON WAITING LISTS AND RESOURCES:
  • Lorne Calvert of Saskatchewan: "We can't imagine, or draw with a pencil, an MRI without a technician... there's no use of having an extra surgical suite unless you have the surgeon and the nurses and the technicians and the after-surgery care."

  • P.E.I. Premier Pat Binns: "We have to reduce pressure on doctors' offices and hospitals through healthy living. About 50 per cent of cancers are preventable."

  • Manitoba Premier Gary Doer: "We have doubled the number of MRI machines and procedures, but that has only reduced the wait list by about a third because more patients are being added."

  • Joe Handley, leader of the N.W.T. government: "If we don't have somebody to staff that community health centre, there's no one to go to... To us in the North, it comes down to having the people to provide the services."

ON THE POLITICS OF FUNDING:
  • Quebec's Jean Charest: "There is a danger that the federal priorities may distort significantly Quebec's health network... We may come up with something that won't work."

  • Martin on short- and long-term funding: "We very much believe that health-care funding should be long term... but there will be times when an added injection of funding is required. You've got to break the back of the problem... and then it becomes much more handleable. You're not going to have to clear the backlogs every year."

  • Charest on short- and long-term funding: "I don't want to have to explain to someone who's had their left cataract done that they can't have the right one done because the federal funding has ended."

  • Doer: "We cannot fix health care for a generation without funding for a generation."

  • Martin apologizing for muttering "Jesus Christ" into a microphone while Gary Doer was speaking: "I was handed a note from a federal official which I read and I said something inappropriate. I just want to say that it had nothing to do with Premier Doer."

  • Doer responding to that: "Hopefully the note from your federal official said 'He's right' and that's why you were swearing."


Monday, Sept 13, 2004 | Day One

Prince Edward Island Premier Pat Binns looks over towards Alberta Premier Ralph Klein as Prime Minister Paul Martin (left to right) delivers his speech at the First Ministers Conference on Health in Ottawa Monday Sept 13, 2004.(CP PHOTO/Tom Hanson)
Prince Edward Island Premier Pat Binns looks over towards Alberta Premier Ralph Klein as Prime Minister Paul Martin (left to right) delivers his speech at the First Ministers Conference on Health in Ottawa Monday Sept 13, 2004.(CP PHOTO/Tom Hanson)
ON A FEDERAL OFFER OF $12.2 BILLION OVER 6 YEARS:
  • Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, Monday afternoon: "The baby boom is about to become a patient boom."

  • Prime Minister Paul Martin, Monday afternoon: "If money alone could improve our health-care system, it surely would
  • have succeeded by now."

  • P.E.I. Premier Pat Binns on Monday morning: "There's been an offer of money. It looks like something. But it's show, and we don't have the dough."

  • Quebec Premier Jean Charest on Monday afternoon: "The numbers are in flux. Mr. Dosanjh has confirmed that this is the case� Even if it's just wiggling a little bit, it's wiggling."

  • Roy Romanow, noted author of a major report on the future of health care in Canada, says he doesn't want to see a "cobbled-together" communiqu� at the end of the summit that has everybody claiming to have got something but no solution found for the problems facing the health-care system: "You'd much rather have a failure on principle, if not an agreement on principle, than a phoney communiqu�."

ON ABORIGINAL HEALTH CARE:
  • Prime Minister Paul Martin on poor health statistics in the country's native communities: "Aboriginal Canadians are the fastest-growing segment of our population. This is a huge moral issue for us as a nation, I believe. It is also an economic issue."

  • New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord on discrepancies between life expectancies for aboriginal and non-aboriginal people in Canada: "Just as there is only one level of taxpayer, so there should only be one level of Canadian."

  • Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams recalls a recent visit to an Innu community in Labrador plagued by drug problems and high suicide rates: "I specifically remember a beautiful young girl riding her bicycle. She introduced herself as Paige. She was happy, she was carefree, she was charming�. These children just need a chance."

  • Alberta Premier Ralph Klein on the value of looking at traditional medicines, which have long been discounted by the health industry: "A holistic approach to aboriginal medicine doesn't cost a cent� If herbs and berries work, why not allow it?"

  • M�tis leader Clement Chartier: "I see elders accepting the pain of arthritis because they cannot afford to travel to see a doctor. I see entire families plagued by diabetes, including the loss of limbs� I see communities torn apart by suicides of their best and brightest."

  • Quebec elder Bill Commanda, who could not attend because of illness, sent a message that was read to the politicians, including this message: "We believe that our health is connected to the health of Mother Earth. Today she is suffering, and we are suffering, too, with cancer and with diseases that were unheard of in the past."




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Canadian Institute for Health Information - Health Care in Canada 2005

Canadian Health Coalition � Found: Federal funding. Lost: A plan to stem privatization [pdf]

Canadian Institute for Health Information

Report: National Health Expenditure Trends [pdf]

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Public Expenditure on health, % of GDP [Excel file]

The Romanow report [pdf]

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