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Jake Epp

Born in St. Boniface, Manitoba in 1939, Arthur Jacob (Jake) Epp is a teacher, politician and executive. He received a B.A. from the University of Manitoba in 1961 and taught high school for 11 years in Steinbach, Manitoba, where he was also a town councillor from 1970 to 1972. In 1972, he entered the House of Commons as Member of Parliament for Provencher, and he was re-elected in each subsequent election until he left politics in 1993. Epp served as Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs from 1979 to 1980 and returned to the Cabinet in 1984 as Brian Mulroney’s Minister of National Health and Welfare. Although Mulroney’s Progressive Conservative government focused on economic growth and deficit reduction rather than on the funding of social programs, it understood Canadians’ commitment to medicare. As Minister, Epp concentrated on implementing the Canada Health Act and altering federal policy to emphasize preventive medicine. Although Mulroney described medicare as a “sacred trust” (Canada, House of Commons Debates, Hansard [December 9, 1983], p. 44), Epp’s term in office saw the federal government reduce social spending, forcing the provinces to maintain national health standards with less money.

Photo:  Jake Epp, Minister of National Health and Welfare (1984–1987)

Jake Epp, Minister of National Health and Welfare (1984–1987) in Brian Mulroney’s government, worked to shift federal policies from curative to preventive activities.
Library and Archives Canada, e008440953. © Andrew Danson.

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    Date Created: March 31, 2010 | Last Updated: April 21, 2010