Official Progressive Conservative Party Response

Question 1: National Pharmacare

The Moving Forward on Implementing National Pharmacare Report (2) calls for the creation of the Canadian Drug Agency, a new agency that would take a coordinated approached to assessing effectiveness and negotiating prescription drug prices; a national formulary; and a national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases.

A. If elected, will your government support a National Pharmacare program by joining the Canadian Drug Agency?

B. If so, how would your government ensure that a National Pharmacare program will not reduce the number of prescription medicines available to patients?

  • Our PC Team understands the importance of having access to prescription drugs when they are needed. Our PC government has made our position clear: we are proud to have an existing comprehensive and universal pharmacare program that is accessible to all Manitobans regardless of age. Manitoba’s Pharmacare program exemplifies many of the attributes that are proposed for a national Pharmacare model. As one of the few provinces in Canada with a Pharmacare program that offers universal coverage, including coverage for cancer drugs without a deductible, we also want to ensure that any move towards national Pharmacare would not erode the accessibility of these benefits to Manitobans.

Our PC government has been continuously asked the federal government to share more details on their plan and will continue to monitor this federal Liberal’s proposal throughout the forthcoming federal election.

If re-elected, our PC government will continue to advocate in the best interests of Manitobans and stride towards creating a health system that works better for all Manitobans.


Question 2: Tobacco Control

According to the No Manitoban Left Behind: Manitoba Tobacco Reduction Report Card (3), “Manitoba has some strengths in tobacco control… However, shortcomings…are stifling progress in tobacco reduction.”

If elected, will you work to:

A. Develop and implement a comprehensive tobacco framework that includes public education, policy and legislation, cessation programs, taxation and community/school programs, as included in the Summary Areas of Improvement listed in the No Manitoban Left Behind report?

B. Implement a social responsibility fee on the tobacco industry similar in design to the fee required by the US FDA, with funds collected used to update programming to reduce tobacco use?

  • Our PC Team understands the toll that tobacco use takes on families as well as our health care system in Manitoba. We are committed to finding ways to reduce the prevalence of tobacco in our communities. This is why when our PC government reduced the PST, we increased Manitoba’s tobacco tax so that the price of cigarettes would not remain equivalent to their price prior to July 1. This move was praised by the Canadian Cancer Society, the Manitoba Tobacco Reduction Alliance, The Long Association and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

If re-elected, our PC government will continue to look into innovative way in which we can curb the use of tobacco within Manitoba. This could potentially include a smoking cessation program within Manitoba. The Department of Education and Training is also undertaking a K to 12 review in which they will provide recommendations on how to better educate students on the dangers of tobacco use.


Question 3: Breast Density

Over 40% of women over the age of 40 have dense breasts. Having dense breasts can make it more difficult for radiologists to detect cancer because dense breast tissue and cancer both appear white on a mammogram, creating a masking effect. As well, dense breasts increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. Women need to know their breast density so they can be proactive and mitigate their risk of a later stage diagnosis.

If elected to government, will you and your party:

A. Commit to notifying ALL women of their breast density in their mammogram results letter?

B. Commit to raising public awareness and education on breast density?

  • We are committed to improving women’s health no matter where they live in the province. That is why in February of this year, under our PC government, CancerCare Manitoba, began providing breast density information to women in the highest category of breast density.

Experts at CancerCare Manitoba continue to review whether this information should be shared on a broader scale. If re-elected, we remain committed to listening to the advice of our medical experts.


Question 4: Palliative Care

Manitobans live longer today than they used to, and they are becoming increasingly aware that the quality of life during those additional years is what really matters. Better advanced care planning and earlier integration of palliative care into the continuum of care in Manitoba would help avoid unnecessary and costly use of acute care, while providing enhanced quality of life for aging Manitobans. This will require an intentional focus on system-wide changes.

If elected, will you support:

A. Providing specific dollars to support organizations and healthcare teams in implementing palliative care programming, including increasing the number of residential hospice care beds in the province?

B. Increasing the number of healthcare providers and services that focus on palliative care in the community and rural settings?

C. Legislating changes to allow patients simultaneous access to both the Palliative Care Drug Access Program and the Home Cancer Drug program to allow seamless transition at end of life?

  • Our PC team understands the pressures being placed on our health care system as our population continues to age. This issue is not unique to Manitoba – it is a problem throughout the country. It was our PC government who signed the Shared Health Priorities bilateral agreement with the federal government which will provide $400 million over ten years to improve home care and palliative care services available to Manitobans. In particular, we plan to focus on palliative care outside of Winnipeg as we know this is in great need. This agreement was applauded by Palliative Manitoba as well as the Canadian Cancer Society.

If re-elected, a PC government has committed to investing $2 billion into our health care system over the next mandate. We will continue to invest in services that help all Manitobans receive quality patient care.


Question 5: Manitoba All-Party Cancer Caucus

If elected as MLA, would you be interested in serving on the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network’s Manitoba All-party Cancer Caucus? The caucus will meet yearly and study issues vital to cancer patients and caregivers in Manitoba.

  • We are always welcome to having advocacy groups come meet with our PC Team to share their ideas on how we can improve our health care system here in Manitoba.