On Saturday, the United Conservative Party held its annual general meeting. The yearly session is meant to be an opportunity for UCP members to vote on the official policy positions of the party. One of the resolutions brought forward was focused on Canada’s universal healthcare system.

The motion asked members if they favoured upholding “the principles set out in the Canada Health Act.” The UCP shot down the resolution, making it clear that their party has no interest in upholding the principles that underpin our national Medicare system.

The five principles of the Canada Health Act include universality, comprehensiveness, accessibility, public administration, and portability. It is unclear which tenets of the Act really bothered UCP members. However, all five principles are essential to the universal system of healthcare that we enjoy in Canada.

The new UCP position on healthcare is a marked shift. While Conservative parties’ across the country have been silently opposed to universal healthcare in the past, they have never been officially opposed to it. 

Back in January, the Toronto Star reported on a broader conspiracy working to increase private healthcare. Right-wing politicians and financial interests have been colluding to undermine our public healthcare system in favour of private alternatives. They are funding a lawsuit that could rip up universal healthcare in British Columbia. There are also plans for a PR campaign that portrays public healthcare as inefficient and overpriced. Jason Kenney, it seems, sits square in the middle.

Before becoming the Premier, Jason Kenney had publicly mulled the possibility of introducing ‘private delivery options’ for healthcare. He has also criticized public healthcare workers and his predecessor, Rachel Notley, for the shortcomings of Alberta’s healthcare services.  However, as Premier, Kenney has frozen healthcare spending, fired hundreds of nurses, and limited medication coverage. All of which is bound to have huge negative consequences for the health of Albertans.

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