New poll carries stark warning to Harper: Four in ten Canadians willing to change their vote if there is no national plan for the future of health care

July 24, 2013

(NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, ON) - Canadians are clear in their desire that Prime Minister Stephen Harper call a First Ministers meeting to discuss the future of health care. Many of them are also prepared to change their party support if the federal party they currently support fails to present a plan for the future of health care. This according to the results of a survey conducted on behalf of the Canadian Health Coalition by Nanos Research.

"Canadians expect leadership on health care and they're quite prepared to support someone else if they don't get it," said Michael McBane, Executive Director of the Canadian Health Coalition.

Eight in ten Canadians either support (51.1%) or somewhat support (29.4%) Prime Minister Stephen Harper calling a First Ministers' Meeting to secure a plan for the future of health care in Canada. Four in ten Canadians are either likely (19.1%) or very likely (22.2%) to vote for another federal party if the one they currently support does not present a plan for the future of health care.

Asked for their opinion on the effect of expanding private for-profit healthcare in Canada, 54% of Canadians think health care would be weakened while only 28% think it would be strengthened.

The survey results are being released as the Premiers gather in Niagara-on-the-Lake this week for a Council of the Federation Meeting. It is the last meeting they will have before the expiration of the National Health Accord in 2014.

"Friends of Medicare, with our partners across the country, is here to encourage our provincial leaders to remind the federal government that health care is a top priority and to inform them that many Canadians are willing to change their votes if the federal government doesn't treat it like a priority," added Sandra Azocar, Executive Director of Friends of Medicare. "Canadians need a plan for the future of our health care system.  We need real federal leadership to provide much-needed national standards on areas such as home care, long-term care, pharmacare, and wait times, just to name a few."

The federal government has signalled that it will not renew the National Health Accord. In December 2011, it announced plans to cut $36 billion from federal money transfers to provinces for health care after the Accord expires. It recently cancelled funding for the Health Council of Canada, a council created out of the Accord negotiations in 2004 to track progress and quality in health care.

A national Nanos RDD Crowdsource random online survey of 1,000 Canadians was conducted between July 13th and 17th, 2013. Participants were randomly recruited by telephone through the proprietary Nanos Crowdsource sample and administered a survey online. The margin of error for a random survey of 1,000 Canadians is ±3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

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