Former New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord appeared before a Senate committee in Ottawa this week, stating his belief that an expanded role for private medical care would ease the burden on the public health care system.

“Years of shrinking federal health transfers and cuts from Liberals like Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin, Justin Trudeau, and Lord’s federal Tory friends in the Harper government have added strain to the public health care system. We know investments are needed today at the provincial level to offset this shrinking federal role in health care, and an NDP government in this province would make those investments,” said NB NDP Interim Leader, Rosaire L’Italien.

L’Italien noted that Lord, now the CEO of Medavie, is likely out of touch with the realities facing ordinary Canadians with regards to their health care.

“Bernard Lord and his CEO friends may have the money for more user fees to access private medical care, but most New Brunswickers can’t afford added costs to access their health care. We need an expanded public health system that offers comprehensive drug coverage, expanded dental coverage for our most vulnerable people, and expanded mental health services and home care.”

“He says people often throw around ‘Americanization’ as a fear mongering term in the health care debate in this country. Well I can tell you that New Brunswickers and people across the country have legitimate fears of an expanded role for the private sector and insurance companies, our neighbours to the south do offer proof of that.”

L’Italien concluded his remarks by saying that privatization has added an unnecessary expense to almost every sector where it’s replaced a public service in recent years.

“We know that two-tier health care only adds extra costs onto the backs of ordinary Canadians. Just as P3s add massive costs to infrastructure projects – private is not the answer, unless more expensive is what you’re looking for.”