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Remarks By Dalton McGuinty, Premier Of Ontario Announcing First Ministers Reach New Health Care Agreement Closing Statement By Premier Dalton McGuinty

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Remarks By Dalton McGuinty, Premier Of Ontario Announcing First Ministers Reach New Health Care Agreement Closing Statement By Premier Dalton McGuinty

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I'm pleased to announce we do have good news -- good news for Canadians, and good news for their health care.

We have agreed on a plan.

It's a good plan to support our efforts to reduce wait times.

It's a good plan for the patients we serve now -- and the patients we will have to care for in the years ahead.

I want to thank the Prime Minister for his leadership.

I want to commend my fellow premiers for the way they worked together.

Regional differences were put aside. Political stripes were invisible.

It hasn't always been an easy process, but in the end, it's a reminder that far more unites us as Canadians than divides us as governments.

What has been paramount throughout the process, right around the table, is a commitment to 30 million Canadians and their health and well-being.

I also want to thank officials from all the delegations.

We are all blessed with highly principled and professional public servants, who work quietly, consistently and constantly on behalf of Canadians.

When the conference began, I talked about Canadians' ability to build this country with equal parts realism and optimism.

I urged us to be clear eyed about the challenges facing our health care system, while having the vision to tackle them.

This plan, and the fact we were able to forge it together, makes me more optimistic than ever about the future.

But I would urge us all to continue to be realistic.

There are still enormous challenges ahead.

Today, we have made progress.

How much progress, though, depends on all of us, and how we translate this plan into action.

I want to take this opportunity to thank our partners in health care, the hard working administrators, doctors and nurses and other professionals who deliver front-line care.

And I say to them: we value your contribution, we need your help to make sure this money makes a real difference where it matters: patient care.

In Ontario, the outlook is brighter today. Yet, as we work to deliver the results our people deserve, we still face a large deficit.

There are still tough choices to be made.

But we can do more to reduce wait times with this plan than we could have without it.

At this beginning of this meeting, I said that Canadians want quality health care for our parents and grandparents when they need it, for our own generation as we need it, and for our children and their children, should they need it.

This plan supports our efforts to deliver that care.

I want to conclude my comments by speaking to the people that matter most in all of this: the people of Canada, especially those who are waiting for care, for cardiac or cancer care, for cataract surgery, perhaps, or a joint replacement, for an MRI or CT scan.

I want you to know that, while we cannot entirely eliminate wait times, and we do face growing demands in the years ahead, we are working on your behalf to make things better.

We know that, ultimately, we are accountable to you and your families.

And it is our responsibility to you that inspires our efforts ... that informs this plan ... and that will guide its implementation.

If the plan we have reached today is merely an agreement between first ministers, we have only made headlines.

But if we continue to work together, if we commit ourselves to real reform and real action, then we will have made a difference.

And that is what Canadians need, want and deserve.

Thank you.

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