High Court Decision Worries Native Health Official

Friday, June 24, 2005 at 14:29



A prominent northerner from Southend says First Nations people stand to lose out if private health care is allowed to flourish in Canada.


Phil Morin, a former chief of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, currently sits on the Prince Albert/Parkland Regional Health Authority board.


He says he worries what effect a recent Supreme Court ruling could have on the state of health care for First Nations people.


On June 9th, the high court ruled it was unconstitutional for the Quebec government to prevent its citizens from buying private health insurance.


Many experts say the decision is a landmark one that could eventually open the door to a two-tiered health care system across the country.


However, Morin feels private health care services wouldn’t benefit First Nations people in Northern Saskatchewan, since it would primarily benefit the rich — something Morin notes most Aboriginal people are not.


Morin admits that, theoretically, the implementation of private health care services shouldn’t affect First Nations people because their services are guaranteed under treaty.


However, even with treaties, he says First Nations people are receiving less services these days and the situation won’t improve if private health care is allowed in Canada.