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Federal Election 2015: A Vote for Health?

September 13, 2015

Almost simultaneously, yet separately, Joelle and Aurelia asked if I thought #hcsmca would be interested in talking about health and the upcoming federal election. They had never met, but agreed to collaborate on this blog post to set the stage for the chat on Sept 16 at 1pm ET. Joelle drafted the post and Aurelia gathered relevant resources. Let’s together bring many voices to the chat and get health on the election agenda.

Read the transcript of #hcsmca chat 233.

By Joelle Walker (@JoAWalker) and Aurelia Cotta (@AureliaCotta)

Joelle Walker

Joelle Walker

Aurelia Cotta

Aurelia Cotta

It’s E-35. Or more plainly put, Canada’s federal election is in 35 days. Thirty five days may not feel like very far away, but it’s actually the mid-point in the longest Canadian election campaign in modern history. This unusually long election has also changed the nature of the how campaigns are run.

Every day, parties come out with bits and pieces of their platforms, and announce new-ish commitments. So far, we haven’t seen much in the way of fully costed platforms, with the exception of the Green Party and some information on party websites which is constantly being updated. When it comes to health, information is even harder to find. It’s up to media outlets, bloggers and commentators to dig out relevant information from various sources (candidate outreach, announcements, etc). This style of campaign also means that we don’t really know what might be coming next.

For 40+ long days, the health community has been holding its breath, hoping for some (read: any) commitments related to health. They’ve been few and far between. This is puzzling because poll after poll show that health is a top issue for Canadians. In fact, a recent Ipsos poll showed that 73% of Canadian voters feel that ‘fixing healthcare’ is an absolutely crucial policy plank for parties to address in order to win their vote.

Health groups across the country have been calling for parties to make health a priority in this election since before the writ was dropped. But until now, their messages have fallen mostly on deaf ears.Sep16-15Election

Professional groups such as the Canadian Nurses Association, Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Pharmacists Association, as well as patient groups such as the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Diabetes Association, have all put out party platforms outlining specific priority areas.

This is a long election.

Finally, September 13 Mulcair makes the first health announcement.

We may hear from the Conservatives and the Liberals in the days to come about their vision for the health care system. But we need to engage Canadians and the health community. We all have a stake in how our healthcare system evolves.

When #hcsmca meets on Wednesday September 16th at 1pm ET (time zone converter), we’ll look at how we can mobilize Canadians to make health a priority in this upcoming federal election.

  • T1: How might we use social media to engage/mobilize the general public to make health an election issue?
  • T2: How can health groups get their issues on the political agenda, during and after an election?
  • T3: Is it appropriate for health professionals to raise political advocacy issues with patients or to encourage them to advocate for changes to the health care system?
  • T4 What health issues would you like federal parties to address in #elxn42?
  • T5: If there were one question on health asked in Thursday’s #GlobeDebate, what should it be?

What question would you add for the chat?


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