A Liberal government would meet with the provinces to negotiate a stronger federal-provincial accord on health care, said Liberal candidate Stéphane Dion.
Dion, the Liberal incumbent in the riding of Saint-Laurent-Cartierville in Montreal, and the party leader from 2006 to 2008, was in Sudbury Monday where he described the party's six-point plan on health care.
In addition to a promise for closer relations with the provinces on health care, Dion said a Liberal government would invest $3 billion to improve home care services across Canada.
“Provinces certainly agree home care should be a priority,” he said at a press event at Finlandia Village. “We'll work with them right away, in the first budget, to invest in home care.”
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau's plan to nearly double Canada's investments in infrastructure – from $65 billion to almost $125 billion over the next decade – would include $20 billion for social housing and
related infrastructure, including long-term care homes.
Dion said a Liberal government would also increase investments in mental health services, and work with the provinces to negotiate better prices for prescription drugs.
He said that by working together, the provinces and the federal government could purchase prescription medications in bulk at lower prices.
The final plank of the Liberals' health platform, said Dion, would be to expand the Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefit for caregivers to be applicable if a loved one has a serious disease.
The benefit currently only applies to end of life care, Dion said.
He said the Liberal plan is superior to the status quo, under the Conservatives, and is more realistic than the NDP's plan for health care.
The NDP has promised 5,000 more nursing beds across the country, 200 more clinics and 7,000 more health care workers.
But those goals fall under provincial jurisdiction, and there is no guarantee the NDP could negotiate the changes with the province, especially when it has already said Quebec could opt out of any policy, Dion said.
“People are looking at our platform and they're very pleased with what we're offering,” said Sudbury Liberal candidate Paul Lefebvre. “Canadians and Sudburians have made it clear they want real change.”
Nickel Belt candidate Marc Serré said his main opponent in that riding, NDP incumbent Claude Gravelle, has “no plan and no vision” for the future. “He's negative and not proposing new ideas,” Serré said.