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The Globe and Mail

NDP goes big with health-care ads, accusing Harper of neglect

Canadians are about to hear a lot more from the New Democrats on the problems affecting the Canadian health-care system.

The party will devote the largest amount it has ever spent on advertising in its campaign history in the run-up to this election, and part of that money will be used to purchase television spots with a health-care message.

"People are very concerned about health care. We are hearing it all across the country, the five million Canadians that don't have family doctors. We've got lots of people who need home care and long-term care, and help with the price of prescription medicines," NDP Leader Jack Layton said during a campaign stop in Kitchener, Ont.

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"And yet Stephen Harper, who made this one of his top five items when he was first running for office to become prime pinister, we've heard barely a peep out of him since and I've got a lot of worries about Stephen Harper negotiating the health accord with the provinces and territories coming up in 2014.

The party said the ads will say that Mr. Harper, as Conservative prime minister, ignored health care for the past five years, leaving millions of Canadians without a family doctor.

They will tell Canadians that Mr. Layton is willing to fix what is wrong with the system.

Party officials would not divulge how much the ads will cost, where they will air and what target audience they are intended to reach.

But the ads will say, "We've got to improve our front-line health services, starting with training more family doctors and nurses, making prescription drugs more affordable, and making it easier to get the care you need at home," party officials said.

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