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Premier McGuinty Responds To Comments By Romanow

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Premier McGuinty Responds To Comments By Romanow

Says Canada Has A Historic Opportunity To Improve Health Care

Office of the Premier

QUEEN'S PARK -- Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty today responded to comments made by former Saskatchewan Premier Roy Romanow on the provincial and territorial leaders' proposal for a national pharmacare program.

"I'm puzzled by Mr. Romanow's comments," said Premier McGuinty. "This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a better national health care system. I would think he'd be supportive."

At the recent Council of the Federation Meeting in Niagara-on-the-Lake, provincial and territorial leaders called on the federal government to establish and fund a national pharmacare program based on the principle that no Canadian should suffer financial hardship in accessing necessary drug treatment.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Martin committed to working with the provinces and territories to develop a national pharmaceutical strategy that would provide all Canadians with a basic level of coverage.

"A national pharmacare program is the next big leap forward that Canada must take as a country," said Premier McGuinty. "Indeed, Mr. Romanow's report on the future of health care recognized the importance of strengthening prescription drug coverage in a modern public health care system."

McGuinty also suggested that any improvements to public health care would require hard work and commitment.

"Anything worth doing is difficult and complicated," Premier McGuinty said. "I can certainly say that implementing this proposal would not be nearly as complicated as it was to put medicare in place. Where would Canada be if Tommy Douglas and Lester Pearson had held such a defeatist attitude?"

"Canadians are paying -- and will continue to pay -- for prescription drugs," said Premier McGuinty. "The premiers are proposing to work together with the federal government to find a better and more cost-effective way to ensure Canadians have access to prescription drug coverage."

"I look forward to further discussions with premiers and the prime minister on this proposal, which would help deliver better health care to all Canadians."

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