Commission on Justice and Peace Document Archives

Dear Prime Minister Chrétien:

Encouraged by your recent Speech from the Throne, “The Canada We Want” in which you outline the plans for your government in the next few years, I am writing to request an appointment for a delegation of church leaders to meet with you regarding the future of health care in Canada. Safeguarding the well being of people by addressing their needs – particularly of poor children and health care services for all — is an important role for government. We share the view that this is a moment when leadership is required and when a renewed investment must be made in those programs that foster greater equity and social well being.

The Canadian churches have been highly supportive of Canada’s public, not-for-profit, universal system of health care. Churches have historically and continue to provide health care services. Many from our community provide pastoral care to patients, families and staff. We understand that healthy communities require healthy people, that is realized only when we fulfill our collective responsibility for each other. Thus we certainly agree that,

“No issue touches Canadians more deeply than health care. Our health care system is a practical expression of the values that define us as a country. Of the willingness of Canadians to share risk and accept responsibility for one another.”

More recently, the Canadian churches have been active participants in the debate about how we might preserve and indeed strengthen Canada’s health care system. Within The Canadian Council of Churches, our Ecumenical Health Care Network has been working on these issues. The Network appeared before the The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, presented to the Royal Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada, hosted a major roundtable in Ottawa, met with members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, and hosted 18 workshops with close to 1000 community leaders across the country to discuss the future of health care and encourage participation in the Royal Commission. Arising from this consultative process, a central contribution of the Ecumenical Health Network was “A Health Care Covenant for All People in Canada” as an expression of the values we share.

File Type: pdf
Categories: English, Healthcare
Tags: health covenant, health policy, healthcare, public health
Author: President of The Canadian Council of Churches (Rev. André Vallée)