Whitehorse Daily Star

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PITCHING HEALTH CARE REFORMS – About 50 people marched along the waterfront in Whitehorse this morning. They were advocating for focus on the idea of a national seniors plan and a national pharmacare plan. Bottom: MICHAEL BUTLER and HASSAN YUSSUFF

Marchers push for national drug, seniors’ plans

A parade of about 50 people marched along the waterfront in Whitehorse this morning, blowing whistles, carrying heart-shaped balloons, and chanting.

By Whitehorse Star on July 21, 2016

A parade of about 50 people marched along the waterfront in Whitehorse this morning, blowing whistles, carrying heart-shaped balloons, and chanting.

“Two, four, six, eight, Canada’s seniors cannot wait!” they called as they walked from Rotary Peace Park to the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre, where Canada’s premiers have gathered for the Council of the Federation (COF).

Michael Butler, national health campaigner for the Council of Canadians, said health advocates came to Whitehorse from as far as Vancouver, Ontario and Newfoundland for the COF.

Butler held a massive inflatable pill bottle (the prescription written on it read national drug plan for all) as he spoke about the goal of the protest – to focus on the idea of a national seniors plan and a national pharmacare plan.

Too often, Butler said, Canadians can’t afford necessary medications, so they either don’t buy them, or they don’t take them when they should.

“We are at a crossroads where we can get it right,” said Butler.

He said the country can take steps to protect medicare for future generations, or see a two-tiered system creep in.

As the protest stopped outside of the cultural centre, Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, was one of many to speak to the crowd.

“Far too many citizens every day are having to make choices – do they buy food, do they pay the rent, or do they get the medication so they can continue to go to work and help make this country a productive country on behalf of working people?” he asked.

As he did, people called out “shame, shame!”

Jerry Dias, national president of Unifor, said Canada is at a “critical part of our history” when it comes to the health care system. He referenced the Conservatives’ 2015 election defeat.

“When I think about all the reasons that (former prime minister) Stephen Harper lost, I can think of $36 billion reasons ... one of the arguments, of course, is lack of commitment to the health care accord,” said Dias.

Butler said the current government has shown promising signs, but that Canadians need a firm commitment to stable, predictable long-term health care.

“We need to protect and strengthen our health care but also expand it as times change,” he said.

Comments (5)

Up 3 Down 0

Paul wray on Jul 27, 2016 at 4:25 pm

A senior needing cataract surgery must wait two years. The patient will either go blind or die before the operation.

Up 5 Down 0

Ol' Dosey on Jul 26, 2016 at 11:44 pm

The Pasloski Conservatives are capitalist walking on the stomachs of the Yukon Seniors. Like a millstone around our necks dragging us further into the depths of poverty with little reprise in sight. Despicable!

Up 3 Down 0

June Jackson on Jul 26, 2016 at 9:46 pm

Bill Flewelling: When the Pasloski government put a means test on the Pioneer grant, I wondered what they were up to. The money the grant pays out is a rain drop compared to the money this government blows like a drunken sailor. Then, they put the grant on the resident.. not the residence.. wth?? Its supposed to be a "UTILITY" grant. The seniors living in government housing have to provide a tax assessment. The gov put getting the grant dependent on a tax assessment from everyone living in the household. They now have a pretty complete picture of how much income every single senior in the Yukon has.

I believe they will use that information to take every last cent they can get from seniors. No one will be safe. I believe they have a 'risk assessment' document (the only one I could lay my hands on is 6 years old) and they will use the information to put a premium on senior medical care, I believe they will use it to determine how much they can get from seniors for any service.. such as home care, or medicine..

They are already under the gun for Chronic and Insured. I believe what they are doing right now is nothing compared to what they are planning.
And yes.. I think they expect us to just die off, and as quickly as possible too.

I sincerely hope not one Yukon Party gets elected. While people knock other parties, Bug Bunny could not possibly do a worse job than these dudes. AND I don't want them to get their gold plated pensions.

Up 14 Down 0

Bill Flewelling on Jul 23, 2016 at 8:39 am

CPP and OAS IS NOT ENOUGH OF AN INCOME TO BE TAXED . THIS GOVERNMENT JUST GAVE FAMILIES WHO MAKE less than $30,000 a year $500 A month per child (tax) free. i make a lot less on fixed income and pay taxes to support that program. Where is us seniors in this money game of survival. We payed all our lives taxes for a better future for our children and us, why are we being brought out behind the barn to be left to decide whether to eat or buy medications to live a little longer. Maybe that's the plan we are expected to just die off, problem solved, SHAME ON OUR GOVERNMENT.

Up 18 Down 4

June Jackson on Jul 21, 2016 at 7:10 pm

The Yukon has an excellent medications and drug plan for seniors. In theory. In practice it fails many. I think it needs a revamp, an update, and perhaps an appeal process. But whatever the feds do, it won't be as good as what we have here. No thanks to the YP though.

Unfortunately, too many southerners hired by this government brought their parents up here; they went into senior housing after 90 days and right on to the Chronic program.

None of our programs would be in trouble if the 90 day residency were extented to say, 24 months. I believe the welfare numbers would fall off too.
The 90 days residency doesn't mean squat either. People get "emergency funds", "emergency housing" etc. for 90 days. Then straight to permanent residency.

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