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Léger Marketing survey finds a majority of Canadians are open to increased access to health care in the private sector

Montreal, June 1, 2004 – A Léger Marketing poll commissioned by the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI) and headlined today in the National Post found that 51% of Canadians were receptive to the concept of having the government allow faster access to health care for those wishing to pay for these services in the private sector, while maintaining the existing free, universal health system.

Quebecers strongly in favour

Quebecers registered the highest level of support – 68% – for a private health system that would be run concurrently with the present public system. A majority of Western Canadians were also in favour of the idea, with the Prairie Provinces (Manitoba and Saskatchewan) and Alberta registering 57% and 53% support respectively.

In terms of distribution based on voting intentions, survey results showed that the idea found favour among significant proportions of supporters of all of the main federal political parties (Bloc québécois, 72%; Conservative Party, 55%; Liberal Party, 54%; NDP, 39%).

Voters badly represented?

Michel Kelly-Gagnon, President of the Montreal Economic Institute, notes that none of the parties’ electoral platforms in the current campaign reflects the opinion expressed by a majority of Canadians regarding health care, and expresses concern about this situation.

“The parties have all rejected out of hand an option that, in light of the majority support it has among Canadians, deserves to be the subject of a debate that has not yet been held. It speaks to an unhealthy situation: 51% of Canadians – and 68% of Quebecers! – have not been allowed a voice on an issue as important as the future of our health system.”

Study Methodology

The survey was conducted by Léger Marketing through telephone interviews among a representative sample of 2,092 English- or French-speaking Canadians, 18 years of age or older. The interviews were conducted between May 28 and May 30, 2004.

Using data from Statistics Canada, the poll results were weighted according to geographic location, gender and language spoken at home in order to ensure a sample representative of the entire Canadian adult population. The maximum margin of error is +2.14% 19 times out of 20.

Poll details, including the questions asked, are available in both French and English.

Michel Kelly-Gagnon, President of the MEI, is available for interviews.

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For informations or interviews, please contact: Patrick Leblanc, Director of Communications, MEI / Tel.: (514) 273-0969 / Cell.: (514) 347-4006 / Email: pleblanc@iedm.org

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