Alberta Responds to (Allan) Rock's "Highly Political," "Inaccurat," and "Misleading" Calgary Lecture: Text of a Letter to Allan Rock, Minister of Health for Canada

By Jonson, Halvar | Canadian Speeches, March-April 2000 | Go to article overview

Alberta Responds to (Allan) Rock's "Highly Political," "Inaccurat," and "Misleading" Calgary Lecture: Text of a Letter to Allan Rock, Minister of Health for Canada


Jonson, Halvar, Canadian Speeches


Dear Mr. Rock:

I am writing to express my strong concern and disappointment over your March 10, 2000 speech at the University of Calgary regarding Bill 11, the Health Care Protection Act and Alberta's health system. It was a clear intrusion on my jurisdiction as Minister of Health and Wellness for Alberta and the content of the speech was misleading to both Albertans and all Canadians.

As you well know, I have taken every possible step to consult you during the development of Bill 11 and seek your advice to ensure that our legislation was fully compliant with both the letter and intent of the principles of the Canada Health Act. On November 17, 1999 I provided to you a copy of our Policy Statement on the Delivery of Surgical Services, upon which our legislation was to be based. I requested that you advise whether or not there was any area that you felt was inconsistent with the Canada Health Act. No formal answer was received from you.

On December 10, 1999, in response to a number of questions you raised about the Policy Statement, I provided to you a detailed response and again requested that you identify any areas you felt were inconsistent with the Canada Health Act and suggested a meeting to resolve any concerns. Once again, no formal answer was forthcoming from you.

On March 2, 2000, I provided to you a copy of Bill 11, the Health Care Protection Act, immediately upon its introduction in the Alberta Legislature. And again I asked you to identify for me any areas where the legislation was not compliant with the principles of the Canada Health Act. And one more time, no formal answer has been receive from you.

You chose not to provide to me a formal response to my numerous requests for you to identify any area where our legislation did not meet the requirements of the Canada Health Act. You chose to not make a visit to Alberta to meet with me and discuss any concerns you might have with the legislation. Instead, you chose to set up a contrived speaking engagement in Calgary and launch a highly political and unsubstantiated attack on Bill 11 and on Alberta's publicly funded health system.

Let me remind you Mr. Rock, that it was you that encouraged Alberta to proceed with legislation such as Bill 11 and to proceed with it as quickly as possible. Let me also remind you that it is your federal Liberal government that has drastically cut federal support for our provincial health systems and continues that underfunding to this day. In fact today the federal government funds only 13% of Alberta's annual spending on the public health system. Let me also remind you that the delivery of health care is a provincial responsibility under our Canadian Constitution.

Let me also remind you that other provinces have legislation very similar to Bill 11; other provinces have private hospitals providing insured surgical procedures under contract to the public system; and other provinces have surgical facilities allowing overnight stays for uninsured services which charges facility fees to Canadians. …

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