An Open Letter To Allan Rock, Health Minister

Michael Hanna ad255 at
Fri Apr 3 18:55:19 EST 1998

This is an open letter to the federal Health Minister Allan Rock. I
urge you to write to him about your concerns on health care. --


Allan Rock,

I am writing to you about Canada's health care system in general. I
am gravely concerned about systematic assaults that threaten our
country's future when it comes to matters of health. Now, it is
quite apparent that the North American Free Trade Agreement(NAFTA)
is killing our health care. As you are most likely aware, with the
NAFTA, US corporate interests in the medical field can now claim
that our once-great Medicare system is unfair to Canadian exporters.
As a result, transfer payments to the provinces for health care have
been halted by your administration, which has had devastating
effects on our hospitals.

"Medicare will be replaced by a US-style profit-driven health care
where the level of service will be determined by a patient's credit
rating," says Mel Clark, Canada's former deputy head negotiator at

It is certain that the Multilateral Agreement on Investments(MAI)
will only accelerate this situation. Nevertheless, this is not the
only assault on the health care system that you are most likely
aware of.

It is a fact that drug costs make up the majority of the costs of
health care. Your administration should repeal the 20-year patent
extension given to pharmaceutical companies. This is causing the
ballooning of the costs for drugs. It's bad enough that there is no
political will by your administration to allow for a comprehensive
standard for traditional herbal medicines, which have stood the
tests of more than seven thousand years for their effectiveness in
some cases, so that Canadians can reduce their dependency on these
expensive and synthetically-created drugs. If money is such an issue
when it comes to health care, why does your administration drag its
feet when the economic solution is readily available? Home care is
not the only solution.

Another issue that is not addressed by your administration is the
allowing of unproven methods of food production, such as the genetic
manipulation(GM) of many of our foods. Many scientists are critical
of the embracing of GM. Why not put forth legislation that at least
labels GM foods so the consumer can decide? Recently, the USDA was
ill-advised to allow foods that have been genetically manipulated to
fall under the category of "organic," yet anyone not blinded by the
status quo can easily see that such a move follows money interest
only, not health. The public expects an outcry at such preposterous
actions, but such issues are met with silence from your office.

You have been elected to represent the people. Public opinion is
heavily against the actions, and inactions, of your party and
government. NAFTA, expensive drugs, lack of support for alternative
drugs and healing methods, genetic manipulation of our food, are all
issues that are crying to be addressed. The health and well-being of
many people depend on your administration's quick action for a fair
and just health system.

Michael Hanna

This letter has been published in an open forum and has been sent
directly to the parties involved.

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