Through 2001 and 2002, Roy Romanow, former NDP Premier of Saskatchewan and head of the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada, met with experts, travelled overseas and to the United States, conducted public hearings in 18 Canadian cities and received thousands of responses to the questions posted on the commission’s Website, as he and his fellow citizens grappled with the future of medicare. As he noted: “In their discussions with me, Canadians have been clear that they still strongly support the core values on which our health care system is premised — equity, fairness and solidarity. These values are tied to their understanding of citizenship. Canadians consider equal and timely access to medically necessary health care services on the basis of need as a right of citizenship, not a privilege of status or wealth.
Building on these values, Canadians have come to view their health care system as a national program, delivered locally but structured on intergovernmental collaboration and a mutual understanding of values. They want and expect their governments to work together to ensure that the policies and programs that define medicare remain true to those values” (Roy Romanow, Building on Values: Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada — Final Report [Ottawa, 2002], p. xvi).The 47 detailed recommendations that he made prompted both approval and criticism, as governments and the public compared and contrasted his work with that of the Kirby committee.