• Photograph by Upstream

The way forward

On Monday, October 19th, Canadians went to the polls for the 42nd time, electing a new federal government.

Upstream is best described as 'non-partisan, but hyper-political'. Our primary concern is to see health take the primary place in public discourse it deserves. This means paying close attention to the platforms and message from parties during and between elections.

This election we encouraged Canadians to #Vote4Health by taking into account important issues such as Early Childhood Education, Housing, Pharmacare, Quality Employment and Pharmacare. This video was shared and seen by thousands, and we hope it was part of the thoughtful approach Canadians took to evaluating party platforms.

Our goal is to help create a healthy society though evidence-based, people-centred ideas. While we don't endorse or condemn any particular party, it's very clear that for the last decade, health has not been the highest priority for our federal leadership. When it comes to evidence, that's been disregarded or silenced. The choice of Canadians to make a change opens up space for more positive decisions.

We are encouraged that Prime Minister Trudeau has read my 2012 book "A Healthy Society", calling it "an interesting read on the relationship between health care and politics and how the decisions made by politicians affect the health of our nation." It is our intention to engage positively with Mr. Trudeau and the Liberal government in pursuit of a healthy Canada, with a particular focus on moving toward Health In All Policies, an approach that takes into account the health impacts of decisions at all levels of government.

Keep an eye out in the coming weeks, for an exciting announcement regarding an upcoming Upstream event with social determinants of health pioneer Sir Michael Marmot that will help turn Canadian eyes toward a health equity approach to building a better country.

Ryan Meili is a Saskatoon Family Physician, founder of Upstream and author of A Healthy Society: how a focus on health can revive Canadian democracy. He is vice-chair of the national advocacy organization Canadian Doctors for Medicare and a Broadbent Institute Policy Fellow.

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