MSP Fee Replacement Solutions

This month, the NDP Government fulfilled one of its pre-election promises by cutting MSP fees by 50%, with a promise of eliminating them completely within four years.

Currently, the MSP fee is a “flat” fee (ie same rate paid by everyone) and disproportionately affects working class British Columbians. B.C. is the only province in the country that relies on a flat fee to raise revenue for health care.

While cutting MSP fees is a great step, revenue is necessary to pay for essential health care services and other programs–and ideally that would be raised through the tax system.

It is imperative that the government receives significant support for the idea of replacing revenues through the tax system. Big business and anti-tax advocates will be sure to lobby the government for not replacing revenues through progressive means.

Please send a submission to the MSP Task Force by January 31, 2018 at 4 pm. You can modify or use this MSP Word Activist letter. Further information is available in the BC Health Coalition’s submission to the Task Force.

The Task Force’s final report to government is due by March 31, 2018.

Please also use the email tool on the BC Health Coalition website and share it with your friends.

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Improving Seniors’ Care in BC

The recent sale of Retirement Concepts’ chain of seniors’ care facilities across Canada to foreign multinational Anbang Insurance has raised red flags for many.

The lack of public process and the speed at which both the federal and provincial governments made their decision is disappointing, considering the serious implications for the level of care provided to seniors in this country.

If, in the future, Canada or the provinces decided to put stronger regulations in place (e.g., stricter training requirements, staffing levels or standards of care in retirement homes), “trade” deals that have been negotiated could allow foreign companies like Anbang to sue Canada for loss of anticipated profits.

We need publicly funded and delivered home and community care, not facilities whose primary purpose is to make a profit.

Use this link to find letter writing points and contact information to advocate for better seniors’ care.

Public Health Care: Solutions for Change

On May 9, British Columbians head to the polls to elect a government that reflects their i-heart-public-health-carevalues. Now is the time, with the election approaching, to make local candidates and their political parties aware of the issues that matter to you, their constituents.

The Comox Valley Council of Canadians invites you to an informative Town Hall on Wednesday, March 15, 7pm, at the Evergreen Seniors Lounge, where a panel of guest speakers will discuss health care issues and changes that could improve our system.

Topics will range from the highly criticized MSP premium being paid by British Columbians to the long wait times, home care and assisted living services. A question and answer period follows the panel’s presentation.

Although the BC Liberal government recently announced a reduction in MSP premiums as part of their 2017 budget, the fee is still a tax that unfairly impacts individuals and families on lower incomes.

Wait times in BC for “elective” surgeries, including joint replacements and cataracts, are some of the longest in Canada. Research reviews show there are public health care solutions that successfully reduce wait times – however, strong leadership from the provincial government is needed to implement these solutions.

Curtailed home care and assisted living services have more BC seniors waiting for residential care than ever before. In addition to the shortage of approximately 6000 long term care beds, 9 out of 10 BC facilities are not meeting the province’s own staffing guidelines.

This election it is imperative that BC’s political parties include strong public health care solutions in their platforms. We can make this happen.

Join us Wednesday, March 15 – 7pm in the Evergreen Seniors Lounge, Florence Filberg Centre – 411 Anderton Ave. Courtenay, as the panel discusses solutions for change and how to improve health care for everyone in BC, not just the few who can afford to pay extra for care.

Support Public Health Care

Sign the federal e-petition for free parking at hospitals and medical clinics

https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-492

How much do you know about universal pharmacare? Take the quiz.

http://canadians.org/blog/how-well-do-you-actually-know-universal-pharmacare

Share these links with friends and family.

http://www.bchealthcoalition.ca/what-you-can-do/scrap-msp-premiums

http://www.bchealthcoalition.ca/what-you-can-do/public-solutions-wait-times

CV Council of Canadians AGM and Chapter Chat

We welcome you to join in the AGM as we share the Chapter’s news and updates in a agmreview of our campaigns and activities over the past year. In addition, you’re invited to give input on areas in which the Chapter should move forward and the challenges that remain in front of us. With the provincial election just around the corner, now is the time to determine which issues we want the parties to address in their platforms. Continue reading

Ban Pay-for-Plasma Clinics

A pay-for-plasma company, Canadian Plasma Resources, has applied for a license to set up three clinics in BC. This company has already set up a clinic in Saskatoon and is offering donors a $25 gift card in exchange for their blood products.

This flies in the face of Justice Krever’s recommendation after the tainted blood scandal of the 1980’s that the safest blood collection system is voluntary.

It is prohibited in Canada to sell any human body part, including sperm, eggs, embryos and blood products.

There are only 4 countries in the world where donors are paid for their blood products and the World Health Organization is recommending that they be phased out by 2020. Continue reading

Chapter Chat

The Comox Valley Council of Canadians invites you to attend their first “Chapter Chat” on Wednesday, May 11 in the Filberg Centre’s Evergreen Lounge.

This is a great opportunity to find out more about the campaigns the Chapter is involved with – and why they are important to our lives as citizens of the Comox Valley, British Columbia, Canada, and of the world.

Members of the Health Care, Corporate Rights (“trade”) Agreements and Electoral Reform teams will outline the work being done by the Chapter in these areas. Following the overviews, questions and feedback will be welcomed in informal, small group discussions.

Letter writing suggestions, informative web links, and petitions will be available to assist those wishing to take action on any of the important topics.

Everyone is invited to the Chapter Chat at the Evergreen Seniors’ Lounge, Filberg Centre – 411 Anderton Ave., Courtenay from 7-8:30 pm on Wed. May 11.

TPP, Food Sovereignty and Our Health

On Thursday, April 7, at 7 PM in the Rotary Hall of the Filberg Centre you are invited Layout 1to a public forum on the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “free trade” agreement and how it will negatively impact local food production, food sovereignty and the  safety of our national food system.

Sponsored by the Comox Valley Council of Canadians and GE Free Comox Valley, this forum is part of a Canada-wide tour featuring Dr. Shiv Chopra, a former Health Canada senior scientist and microbiologist. Joining Chopra is Jan Slomp, President of Canada’s National Farmers Union (NFU). Continue reading

Questions for Candidates 2015

The following are issues that we care deeply about, but are not necessarily hearing discussed in the public coverage of the election. Each of these are crucial areas of federal responsibility and we feel all Comox Valley residents would benefit from knowing each Candidate’s position on all of these questions.

WATER
What is your strategy to conserve and protect our water resources? Will you develop a National Water policy that recognizes water as a human right, invests in water and wastewater infrastructure in municipalities and First Nations, bans fracking, and transitions away from tar sands and other fossil fuels?

What is your strategy to deal with fracking, the natural gas extraction process that uses and pollutes massive volumes of water and has been proven to be the cause of earthquakes?

Clean drinking water is an irreplaceable resource for communities, yet many have little control over what happens to water before it arrives in their community. Will you support the development of community based watershed management plans?

Do you commit to reinstating protections on the 99 per cent of lakes and rivers delisted from the Navigable Waters Protection Act?

Will you commit to reinstating changes to other environmental legislation and reallocating the more than $100 million cut from critical water research and programs?

TRADE/CORPORATE RIGHTS

Current “Trade” deals include more than tariffs and quotas, and increasingly include important public policy initiatives. They are considered “treaties” and do not require a vote in the House of Commons. Do you support full federal parliamentary debate and vote on any future trade deals?

Current trade agreements include Investor State Dispute Settlement clauses that make it possible for corporations to sue Canada if they feel their anticipated profits have been lost or threatened. What is the position of your party on Investor State Dispute Settlements?

Do you support a public, unbiased assessment of the effect of any unsigned and future trade agreements on: i) environmental protections; ii) public health protections; and iii) human rights protections?

PROTECTING DEMOCRACY

What will you do to prioritize issues that matter to young people, as well as to reduce barriers to voting faced by youth and students, to engage them more in electoral politics?

Will you commit to introducing electoral reform to ensure every vote counts in future elections?

What will you do to ensure Elections Canada has the power to find the perpetrators of the 2011 election fraud and prevent it from happening again?

Will you repeal Bill C-51?

ENERGY AND CLIMATE JUSTICE

Canadians are currently subsidizing the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $1.3 billion per year. How will your party support alternative energy sources to reduce demand for fossil fuels?

In light of recent climate change agreements between the United States and China, does your party believe a price on carbon should be set by the federal government?

What plan and climate change targets would your government take to the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris in November?

PUBLIC HEALTH CARE

Canadians share a deeply held belief that access to needed health care services should not be based on how rich we are, but rather on our medical need. What will your party do to provide the funds and national standards needed to give everyone in Canada access to quality public health care regardless of where they live or how much money they earn?

Studies show that 1 in 10 Canadians don’t buy the prescription drugs they need because of their cost. What is your party’s position on a publicly funded and administered national drug plan?

What is your party’s position on a national seniors care strategy would provide homecare, hospital care, long-term care, hospice and palliative care to aging Canadians as they need it?

Vote Health Care Workshop

Attend a free, hands-on election workshop on communicating with citizens and mobilizing the vote for public health care in the 2015 federal election.
Last year, the federal Conservative cut $36 billion from health care transfers to the provinces for the next decade.
For British Columbia, it means $5 billion less for hospitals and other public facilities.
But in 2015, Canadians can let politicians know they want a government in Ottawa that stands up for health care when they go to the polls to elect a new government later this year.
Led by expert facilitators, the day-long session draws on case studies of winning campaigns, builds consensus around key local messages and election tactics, and provides one-on-one training for engaging voters.
Lunch is provided, but you must register in advance as space is limited.
WHEN: June 26, 2015 at 9:30am – 4:30pm
WHERE: Lewis Centre, 489 Old Island Hwy, Courtenay Google map and directions
CONTACT: Sharon Neufeld · sneufeld@heu.org · 1-800-663-5813
You may also register online at http://www.votehealthcare.ca/cv_workshopVoteHealthCare_logo_2

Medicare in Crisis

medicare umbrellaOn Thursday, April 16, 7-9 pm, the Comox Valley Council of Canadians presents a screening of Medicare in Crisis. This film, by local videographer Dan Peruzzo, focuses on current threats to Medicare, such as underfunding and the increasing pressure by both the federal and provincial governments to privatize our health care services.
The post-screening discussion will include an update on the court case launched by Brian Day’s for-profit clinic and the possible consequences of this legal action. Continue reading

Health Accord Rally – March 31

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Over 100 people gathered on March 31 to mark the first anniversary of the expiry of the Canada Health Accord.  Members of the Council of Canadians, the Hospital Employees’ Union and the Labour Council joined with concerned citizens to express their intention to vote for health care in the 2015 federal election.

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