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News Release

This budget is dangerous to your health

1 March 1995

Paul Martin's budget further threatens our universal health care system, already under intense pressure. The federal cuts in transfer payments will weaken a system of delivering health care which is integral to what defines us as Canadians.

These cuts will have an adverse effect on the health of Canadians.

First, the government has slashed the size of the transfer payments to the provinces. By 1998, the federal government will have cut these transfer payments over the preceding three years by $8.5 billion. The cuts in health care funding will squeeze public health care, fuel calls for an American-style two tiered system, and threaten our universal, equitable health care delivery system.

Coupled with the reduction, the government has collapsed transfer payments to the provinces in the areas of health, welfare, and post-secondary education into a single Canada Social Transfer, thus renouncing its responsibility for ensuring adequate health care across the country.

Second, we now know that health care is only one component of what keeps people healthy. The budget has also slashed the social safety net which provides services to those in need. Strong evidence suggests that the larger the gradient of income and wealth within a nation, the poorer the health of the people.

The federal Liberal budget will hurt the most vulnerable in our society, increasing the gap between the well-off and the poor, thus contributing to a deterioration in health.

The federal government has put together a budget to please financial markets, at the expense of attending to Canadians' human needs. The financial markets are pleased, but they ignore the human cost of the choice to avoid, for instance, serious increases in corporate taxes on financial institutions as a solution to the deficit.

The Medical Reform Group, a physicians' organization committed to the preservation of universal, equitable health care, find that the Liberal government, in its zeal to cut the budget, has compromised Canadian health care, and Canadians' health.


Gordon Guyatt, M.D.

Medical Reform Group of Ontario

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