Questions By Members, 22 April 2016
Source: Legislative Assembly of PEI

Investment in preventative health measures

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you so much, Mr. Speaker.

For most of this week we’ve focused in this House on the implementation and the implications of a 1% rise in the HST. Of course, it’s appropriate that we fully explore that issue because it has so many implications on our Island, but there were many other announcements in the Budget Address which perhaps did not receive the attention that they deserve.

A question to the Minister of Health and Wellness: Does this minister feel that investing in preventive health measures, such as promoting exercise, healthy eating, poverty reduction, for example, is important in improving the health of Islanders and therefore in reducing health costs?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Health and Wellness.

Mr. Henderson: Yes, Mr. Speaker, a very good question.

In fact, actually, if anybody has the opportunity to review my mandate letter that the Premier sent to me upon appointing me as Minister of Health and Wellness, you would be well aware that trying to instill a culture of health and wellness into the province would be an extreme goal for our department.

In fact, I’m working right now with the department of education on a number of initiatives. We are focusing a little bit more on, hopefully soon to release, a cancer strategy and some other issues around promoting more healthy lifestyles for Islanders, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party, first supplementary.

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Recently reported that only 20% of cancers are actually of a random nature; 80% of cancers are, to a certain extent preventable. But I see no money allocated in this Budget to any preventive measures whatsoever in our health system. I don’t see any new money, I should say, allocated.

Another question to the Minister of Health and Wellness: How much money has been reallocated within your department to focus on preventative health measures?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Health and Wellness.

Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, once again, we do take issues around preventative wellness – extreme importance within our department.

One of the issues that we are focusing on, and hopefully we’ll be soon announcing a program around our cancer strategy, is around the issues of smoking cessation. As you’re well aware, some of our number one causes of cancer are lung cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer. We’re working on trying to come up with mitigation efforts to try to make sure that Islanders take it upon themselves to take advantage of some of these programs that are root causes of those particular causes, Mr. Speaker.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party, second supplementary.

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I didn’t hear any dollar figure there that’s been allocated or reallocated to preventative health services on the Island at all.

Universal basic income

We all know that poverty is a critical determinant of health. While there were a few tidbits in this Budget to address poverty, they’re mainly there to offset the HST increase which we have talked about at length.

If we truly want to address poverty here on Prince Edward Island we need to move towards a universal basic income, something that all four party leaders supported during the election campaign last year.

A question to the Minister of Family and Human Services: Can you provide this House with an update –

Speaker: No, hon. –

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Oh, I’m sorry, or the Minister of Health and Wellness, excuse me.

Can you update this House as to any progress on implementing a universal basic income since I brought it up in the House last fall?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Health and Wellness.

Mr. Henderson: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would reiterate a little bit, I’d guess I’d say, my department is not focused solely on the issues of strategy around income based development.

We are looking at, when the hon. member mentioned a little bit about numbers, you might have noted that the Budget did have a 3% increase to Health PEI.

So, once again, we will be announcing some of the strategies around the preventative and trying to deal with some of the social determinants of health, and try to make sure that Islanders are working on a more active approach to health and wellness and taking responsibility for health and their lifestyles.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

One Comment

  1. Bill Kays 22 April 2016 at 3:00 pm

    I see that “poowa wittew wobbie enderson”, one of old wadey boy’s ‘ender – son’s’ to be sure, cannot think for himself, offering up this flimsy excuse for inaction. “I would reiterate a little bit, I’d guess I’d say, my department is not focused solely on the issues of strategy around income based development”. His lack of a real answer is disturbing, but the Freudian slip” of income based development is new, at least to me. Income based development is double speak for “getting the welfare recipients out to work”. That is not the sustainable model of ‘guaranteed income, offered up successfully by others, and will always fail. It always fails because gov will always hold up the exceptions to the rule, and the bought and paid for propagandist media outlets will promote. Guaranteed income can work and is sustainable. If we can sustain a corrupted government and corrupted political system, surely we can help to take care of those that cannot care for themselves, for whatever reason.

     

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