Meetings with 82 MPs and senators will be on the agenda tomorrow as over 30 CMA members arrive at the Parliament Buildings to discuss issues ranging from the shortage of palliative care in Canada to the need to prepare for a rapidly aging population.
“Our Doctors in the House lobby day is a very concrete sign of the emphasis we place on advocacy,” said CMA President Louis Hugo Francescutti, who will lead the delegation that will arrive on Parliament Hill April 8. “As an association we’ve always been adamant about the need to encourage national standards of care, and face-to-face meetings like these are invaluable for getting our message across.”
The CMA team is scheduled to meet with politicians from the three main parties, a list that includes Rona Ambrose, the federal minister of health, and fellow cabinet ministers Gail Shea and Gary Goodyear. They will also meet NDP MP Thomas Mulcair, the leader of the official opposition, and MP Hedy Fry, the Liberal health critic.
“These meetings provide a chance for both sides to learn,” said Francescutti. “The people we’re sending to Parliament Hill on behalf of the CMA are clinicians, and they will have a chance to tell MPs and senators about the issues they’re seeing in their offices. The politicians, in turn, will be able to discuss the health issues they’re hearing about in their ridings. It’s a good chance for everyone to learn something.”
There is little doubt that health issues surrounding aging, from the lack of palliative care to difficulties in gaining access to long-term care, will dominate much of the discussion. “We measure wait times for long-term care in terms of months and years, not days or weeks,” said Francescutti. “I think that’s the most important message we can give MPs and senators — big-time demographic change is on the way, and we have to prepare for it.”