Open letter to the leaders of the five major political parties

    OTTAWA, Sept. 16 /CNW Telbec/ -

    Dear Sirs/Madam:

    With the federal election campaign now well underway, the Canadian
    Medical Association (CMA) is issuing a Health Challenge and asking the
    five major political parties to communicate their plans for meeting
    Canadians' health needs.

    Voters deserve to know how candidates plan to address pressing health
    care issues, such as the doctor shortage that has left five million
    Canadians without a family physician. With the Health Challenge, the CMA
    is offering the parties a chance to share their visions for the future of
    health and health care.

    In the current campaign Canada's doctors are concerned about the lack of
    attention being paid to health care issues, which Canadians consistently
    rank among their most important concerns. A recent poll conducted by
    Ipsos Reid confirms their importance: 96% of Canadians say the federal
    government should take a leadership role in addressing the doctor
    shortage, and 91% say the inclusion of a plan for addressing the doctor
    shortage may influence the way they vote.

    So here's our challenge: release your party's health care platform by
    Sept. 29 to give voters time to make informed decisions when they mark
    their ballot Oct. 14. To help guide this important work, we have sent
    each party a questionnaire seeking your solutions to the most pressing
    health and health care challenges facing the country:

        - doctor shortage;
        - mental health;
        - innovation and information technology;
        - access to prescription drugs;
        - health and the environment; and,
        - sustainability of the health care system.

    Our goal is simple: to inform Canadians. As is customary, we will not
    endorse any party, candidate or platform. However, on Oct. 3 we will
    publish a special Voters' Guide at that will contain
    all the responses we have received.

    Health care is too important an issue to be shoved to the sidelines
    during this election. Canadians want action, and their doctors are not
    going to let politicians ignore this fact.


    Robert Ouellet, MD, FRCPC, President

For further information:

For further information: Lucie Boileau, Manager, Media Relations, (613)
731-8610, 1-800-663-7336, x1266, (613) 447-0866 (cell)

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