Prescribing leadership

The incoming and outgoing presidents of the Canadian Medical Association question the Harper government’s interest in health care.

Earlier this year outgoing CMA president Dr. John Haggie accused the Harper government of gnawing away at the country’s social safety net, warning that plans to raise the pension eligibility age to 67 would force low-income seniors to choose between buying groceries or buying medicine. Reid says the profession has become “deeply demoralized” through the years because of a “top-down, this-is-what’s-going-to-happen” approach to local health planning and a federal government that seems to be distancing itself from health care. “I think there’s this sense that the government has withdrawn from some of its responsibility to take true leadership on the health care portfolio,” she said.

Haggie is attending the Global Health Policy Summit in London. “I got, from out of nowhere, an invitation from the United Kingdom prime minister to come and meet him,” Haggie said on Tuesday. “I have not got past the receptionist and staffers at the PMO (Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office). “Because they don’t want to talk about health care, because they think that by doing it, somehow, I might pin them as being responsible for it. The Constitution and the British North America Act and the Charter, they pin them, not me. You can’t hide and hope it will all go away.”