The federal New Democrats’ request for an emergency debate over privately delivered health care was defeated in the House of Commons this afternoon.
Speaker Anthony Rota rejected the NDP’s request, saying he’s not satisfied that it met the requirements of an emergency debate.
House of Commons procedure says such debates must be based on a genuine emergency that’s of concern across the nation.
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NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he wants to discuss provinces like Ontario using public money to fund procedures in private clinics, saying he believes that could pull health-care workers away from public facilities.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his Liberal government will continue to defend the Canada Health Act and can pull back money from provinces that violate it.
Trudeau and Singh are meeting Monday afternoon to discuss health care further ahead of next week’s summit with premiers.
Trudeau is expected to meet with provincial and territorial leaders in Ottawa next Tuesday to discuss a new health-care funding deal.
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Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government announced earlier this month that it’s moving some procedures to publicly funded, private facilities to address a growing surgery wait-list, which worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Provinces such as Alberta and Saskatchewan have already made similar moves.
“We think the federal government should be making it very clear that the solution to the current health-care crisis will not come from a privatization, for-profit delivery of care. It’ll only come by making sure we hire, recruit, retain and respect health care,” Singh said.
“Health care is already dramatically understaffed, and for-profit facilities will poach doctors and nurses _ cannibalizing hospitals, forcing people to wait longer in pain and racked with anxiety.”
The New Democrats say they’re also concerned that private facilities will upsell patients for brands and services not covered by the province, and tack on extra fees and services.
Singh spent some of Parliament’s winter break holding roundtable discussions on health care in British Columbia to discuss emergency room overcrowding and worker shortages.
© 2023 The Canadian Press
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