Danielle Smith’s Opposition to Dental Care Unconscionable

Danielle Smith’s Opposition to Dental Care Unconscionable

Yesterday, Premier Danielle Smith informed the federal government that she wants to opt Alberta out of the new national dental care program.

EDMONTON — To date, the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP) has already helped more than 100,000 Albertans access dental care who were previously unable to do so. This is on top of the tens of thousands of Alberta children who were helped by the interim children’s Canada Dental Benefit.

“Dental care is health care. The fact that over 100,000 Albertans who previously didn’t have coverage now have access to dental care should be celebrated!” said Chris Gallaway, executive director of Friends of Medicare. “Instead, we’re seeing our Premier try to rip this away from Albertans, for no other reason than to pick yet another fight with Ottawa. For the Premier to keep playing political games with Albertans’ health care needs like this is cruel and unconscionable.”

This has become a pattern for the UCP government, who previously announced they would opt Alberta out of a new Pharmacare program even before details were announced, legislation was tabled, or negotiations had begun.

“The Premier claims that her concern is over a lack of consultation with provinces in developing the dental plan, but when it came to Pharmacare, she preemptively opted Alberta out before even meeting with the federal government,” said Gallaway. “The Alberta government continues to make it clear that they are more interested in political posturing than working collaboratively to ensure that people in this province are getting their health care needs met.”

The CDCP is improving the lives of millions of Canadians, including those here in Alberta. Our provincial government does not provide anywhere near the coverage available through this new plan, and they have repeatedly proved they cannot be trusted with the blank check they are requesting in lieu of providing CDCP coverage for Albertans.

Action to address cost-related barriers to dental care access in this country is long overdue. The massive demand for the CDCP to date is proof that too many people in this province and country haven’t been getting the dental care they need, and confirms that all dental care should ultimately be covered as part of our universal Medicare system.

“The Canadian Dental Care Plan has been a life-changing step for so many people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford the dental care they need. Albertans are struggling with an affordability crisis, and we deserve the same access to dental care as all Canadians are now getting,” concluded Gallaway.


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