Thank you to everyone who attended our webinar training for All Candidates Meetings and thank you to those who were able to attend and send in a question on perinatal mental health. It’s so important that each political leader is aware of perinatal mental health and we will continue to run campaigns that create more public awareness in each riding in Canada post-election.
The snap election was called on August 15th, 2021 and voters will head to the polls on September 20th, giving us only 35 days to try and organize a campaign around getting volunteers trained and attending All Candidates Meetings. The timeline was short so we appreciate all who were able to attend and report back to us.
For an update on where the parties stand on perinatal mental health regarding their platforms, see our post here: https://cpmhc.ca/2021/09/01/mid-election-check-which-parties-are-supporting-perinatal-mental-he/
Here are the responses we received from our volunteers who attended All Candidates Meetings in their ridings and remember to get out and VOTE on September 20th!
CPMHC Volunteer: Kelly Hassanpour
Meeting: Virtual, Sept 14
Tony Van Bynen, Liberal Party:
“On mental health I would propose an immediate study with the health committee and I intend to bring that back here in the next session. We need to make sure that there’s a shared responsibility that’s clearly defined and that the outcomes that the federal government is seeking should be the basis upon which the funding is generated.That puts some accountability into the funding. Mental health is something I will be strongly advocating for and intend to continue to do so.”
Yvonne Kelly, NDP Party:
“Absolutely we want to see mental health care part of health care. It’s shocking to think that 1 in 4 families specifically around postpartum are dealing with that which can be debilitating not just for the mother but for the entire family. So it’s just another reason why mental health care needs to be included in that basket of services. I agree with Tony that there’s a role for the federal government when it comes to regulation and setting standards especially with long term care and maybe this area as well so we are prepared to invest heavily in funding but also work with the provinces to expand access to services in communities right across the country. We want to restore funding back to that 50/50 level.
Tim Flemming, Green Party:
The Green Party believes in having a national advocacy program that distinctly addresses these issues whether they be Indigenous folks, for youth who are often forgotten and who have suffered, and the females in postpartum groups
And below is an email response Kelly received from Harold Kim, Conservative Party candidate who wasn’t able to attend the meeting:
Dear Ms. Hassanpour,
Thank you for your enquiry about perinatal mood disorders.
As you may be aware, the Conservative government has Mental Health as one of its key platforms of this election. Conservatives recognize that not only has federal healthcare funding transfers been seriously eroded by the Liberals in the past six years, but any funding for mental health by the federal government, has been largely ignored.
The Conservatives plan to increase healthcare funding transfers to the provinces by $60 billion over ten years in order to restore provincial healthcare funding and address the serious mental health issues that have been made worse by the pandemic.
Although we will not be at the virtual Q&A scheduled at the Aurora Public Library on September 14, we did anticipate that we would not get to speak with everyone and prepared, in advance, details of the key party platforms that are relevant to this riding. These platforms, including healthcare, can be found on YouTube at:
Thank you for your enquiry and I look forward to you joining me on September 20th to secure the future for all Canadians. Let’s get this country back on track.
Volunteer: Lisette Webber
Meeting: Virtual, Sept. 8
Lisette sent in the question but it wasn’t asked at the virtual meetings. So she emailed all of the local candidates and received the following responses.
Bardish Chagger, Liberal Party:
Thank you very much for getting in touch with me about this very important issue. Perinatal mental health is critically important. That’s why a re-elected Liberal government will fund a comprehensive national mental health care strategy through a new $5 billion Canada Mental Health Transfer. It will be funded on the same principles as our national medicare system, and while the provinces are constitutionally responsible for the specifics of implementing health care programs, this will include not just psychiatrists but also psychologists, therapists, social workers, counselors, and other community supports.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any more questions. I hope that I can count on your support.
I hope you are keeping well and safe, notwithstanding the circumstances.
Meghan Shannon, Conservative Party:
The Conservative Party is committed to making Mental Health a priority. There are several measures in our Platform[http://conservative.ca/plan] to address mental health challenges for all Canadians including:
* Propose to the provinces that they partner with us by dedicating a significant portion of the stable, predictable health funding to mental health to ensure that an additional million Canadians can receive mental health treatment every year
* Encourage employers to add mental health coverage to their employee benefit plans by offering a tax credit for 25% of the cost of additional mental health coverage for the first three years
* Create a pilot program to provide $150 million over three years in grants to non-profits and charities delivering mental health and wellness programming
* Create a nationwide three-digit suicide prevention hotline
A Perinatal Mental Health Strategy would be more appropriate at the Provincial Government level where decisions about health care service provision are made and where local context can be more effectively leveraged.
Thanks for the question,
Team Meghan Shannon
Kara Villagomez Fajardo, Green Party:
While Perinatal Mental Health is not specifically mentioned in our platform, there is a good chance that development of a strategy would be included under mental health for women, as gender equality is another crucial part of the Green platform.
CPMHC Volunteer: Cayley Benjamin
Meeting: Virtual, Sept. 11
Dr. Cheryl Matthews, GPC:
This is an area where we need universal health. It can’t just be for a few things here and there, hodgepodge, it has to be across the board. As a mother of three children, I know what it’s like to experience depression and to still need to get up and look after your other two kids even when you’re having a difficult time. We also need to provide Indigenous healing and methods, move away from Western medicine and also look at naturopathic and how our community can support and how we can move that into supporting other mothers from all different cultures. We need to rethink the way that we do healthcare and mental health and wellness in Canada and in the G7 and at large.
Jenny Kwan, NDP:
The issue around healthcare and mental health is what the NDP deems ‘head to toe’ healthcare. We need to not only be able to see the doctor, but we need to be able to buy the medication that we need, we need eye care, we need dental care and we need mental health. We will actually ensure that mental health is actually covered under our medicare. Because right now so many people cannot access the counselling support that they need and so absolutely this needs to be done. There needs to be special attention to the cultural differences between communities and particularly Indigenous communities so that the healthcare is delivered through that lens through the cultural requirements of Indigenous peoples.
Golok Buday, Independent:
What I would prefer is that it be a decentralized system without the transfer of payment with strings attached and recommendations to provinces that they do a voucher system that they choose their own psychiatrist not a state psychiatrist ‘hack’ if they do go along with something like this.
Josh Vander Vies, Liberal:
I believe the question was about perinatal mental health and we’re very proud in our Liberal platform to have that as a new branded item in the 4.5 billion dollars over five years that we’re continuing under our transfer payments under the Canada mental health transfer. That’s the sophisticated detail. The thinking behind it for me is that it’s critical that we recognize that traditional mental health protocols are not always effective and that we need as much latitude as we can.