In a recent article by The Globe and Mail, Global Strategy Lab Senior Investigator Patrick Fafard, paid tribute to the late Monique Bégin and her pivotal role in shaping Canada’s state-funded healthcare system.
Monique Bégin, who passed away at the age of 87, was a trailblazing figure in Canadian politics. As Minister of Health in the Liberal government of Pierre Trudeau, she was a driving force behind the creation of two cornerstone initiatives that continue to underpin Canada’s healthcare system today: the Child Tax Benefit and the Canada Health Act.
Fafard emphasized the significance of the Canada Health Act, pointing out that it allowed the federal government to assert a leading role in providing public healthcare throughout the country. This landmark legislation put an end to extra billing by doctors, ensuring that Canadians had access to necessary medical services without incurring additional costs. However, it did not specify the exact portion of healthcare expenses that Ottawa should cover, resulting in a gradual decline in federal healthcare funding over time.
Professor Fafard highlighted that the Canada Health Act’s true impact extended beyond the realm of finances. He described it as “highly successful politically and symbolically,” emphasizing its role in shaping Canada’s commitment to universal healthcare as a fundamental Canadian value.