Health Care Top Ballot Box Issue For Prairie and Northern Canadians

OTTAWA, April 15 /CNW/ - By a double-digit margin, health care is the most important election issue for Canadians living in the Prairie provinces, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, according to an Ipsos Reid public opinion poll conducted for the Canadian Medical Association (CMA).

"This marks the third installment of our regional polling on issues that matter to Canadians in this federal election and not surprisingly health care continues to be their top-rated concern," said CMA President Dr. Jeff Turnbull after the poll was released. "We heard it in Atlantic Canada, we heard it in B.C. and now we are hearing it in the heartland - health care is the number one issue Canadians want addressed."

The poll found that nearly four in 10 Prairie and Northern Canadians believe that health care (35 per cent) trumps the economy and jobs (24 per cent) as their top issue for the federal election. Debt and deficit reduction came in third at 15 per cent. Over three-quarters of respondents indicated the federal government's role as custodian of the Canada Health Act is very important.

Nearly seven in 10 (69 per cent) believe it is very important that party leaders present their plan to ensure that Canadians have a sustainable health care system that meets patient needs, and seven in 10 (69 per cent) also think it's very important in the context of the election that the party leaders be willing to address the health care challenges facing Canadians. Further, nearly two in 10 (17 per cent) said they would change their vote if the party they currently support failed to present a plan for the future of health care.

"Earlier this week the federal leaders touched on health care during the election debates, but Canadians want more from their politicians," Turnbull said. "The election campaign is half over and time is running out for federal parties to tell Canadians how they plan to transform the health care system so that it meets patients' needs, now and in the future."

The CMA president has also noted that the current federal-provincial/territorial accord on health care funding will expire in 2014 and the government Canadians choose May 2 will likely be the one to negotiate the next deal. In advance of the next accord, the CMA has been calling for transformative change to the health care system. It has also been consulting directly with Canadians, both online at www.healthcaretransformation.ca and through a series of public town hall meetings.

The Ipsos Reid poll of 1,201 Canadians living in the prairies and territories was carried out between April 5 and April 7.

The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) is the national voice of Canadian physicians.  Founded in 1867, CMA's mission is to serve and unite the physicians of Canada and be the national advocate, in partnership with the people of Canada, for the highest standards of health and health care. The CMA is a voluntary professional organization representing over 74,000 of Canada's physicians and uniting at the national level the voices of 12 provincial and territorial medical associations.

SOURCE CANADIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

For further information:

Lucie Boileau
lucie.boileau@cma.ca
Tel. :     1 800 663-7336 / 613 731-8610 x2135
Cell. :    613 298-4669

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CANADIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

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Federal Election 2011

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