issues and experts

Electioneering politicians regularly miss health care boat

October 16, 2015
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According to an SFU health policy analyst, Canadians shouldn’t be surprised that this federal election’s candidates, even the top parties’ leaders, are ignoring their number one concern.

Karen Palmer, an SFU Faculty of Health Sciences adjunct professor, researches and analyses health policy. She says, since 2006, successive Conservative government election platforms have ignored public health and health care as major concerns among Canadian voters. In fact, mention of health is 62 per cent less in the Conservatives’ current election campaign than in their 2006 one. Palmer elaborates on new data she has in a newspaper commentary.

“In what appears to be a Pied Piper effect led by the Conservatives, after the 2006 election there was a dramatic decline in the number of times health was mentioned in 2008, 2011 and 2015 platforms for all three parties,” notes Palmer. “That’s despite this new poll’s finding that five of the top 10 priorities among Canadians for federal action relate to health.”

“There is a colossal mismatch in the political discourse between what Canadians want and what our politicians think we want. The parties need to wake up and address the long-standing culture of federal disengagement in health that has bedeviled Canadians since 2006. There is no doubt if they put some muscle into campaigning on public health and health care, those efforts could easily be cemented in voting intention.”

Karen Palmer, 778.558.1249, kpalmer@sfu.ca