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The Hamilton Spectator
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Saturday, April 7, 2007
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he has fulfilled his pledge to establish medical wait-times guarantees across Canada, but critics say the deal falls short of his campaign promise.

"Today I am very pleased to announce that Minister Clement has succeeded in his mission," Harper said at an Ottawa wait-times conference.

"All 13 provinces and territories have now committed to providing the first patient wait-times guarantees."

The creation of a wait-times guarantee was one of the Conservatives' five priorities in the last election campaign.

But the deal does not come into effect until 2010, and provinces only have to promise timely treatment in one of several priority areas: Cancer care, Hip and knee replacement, Cardiac care, Diagnostic imaging and Cataract surgeries.

The Conservatives had promised in the last federal election campaign that they would ensure guarantees in all of the above areas.

In the federal budget released on March 19, $612 million was set aside for the provinces and Ottawa to pay for the initiative and $30 million was set aside for wait-times pilot projects. Source...

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