Here's the content of a letter I sent to Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, in March of this year. "Thirty years ago, I enjoyed an enviable life, and lifestyle – newly married with a successful career, advanced educational goals, volunteer activities, many friends, an active sporting life, interesting hobbies, and exciting travel plans. In mid-October 1988, I caught a viral infection. I haven’t been well since. I was among the lucky ones. It took only two years for me to be diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). Doctors could offer nothing to improve my physical and cognitive limitations, or alleviate my pain. I was told understanding of ME was similar to that of Multiple Sclerosis 25 years prior. So, I mentally marked my calendar for the year 2015, and did my best to manage my disease while waiting for medical science to “catch up”. I’m still waiting. In 2017, it is even more difficult for many ME patients to find a knowledgeable Canadian physician than it was for me in 1990. With increasing age, I have developed other health problems. This has provided an opportunity to evaluate our medical system’s effectiveness in diagnosing and treating recognized illnesses. The difference in health care I’ve experienced with Rheumatoid Arthritis, for example, compared with the complete abandonment of ME, is profoundly disturbing. Because, of all my medical conditions, ME is by far the most disabling. Now in my 60’s, I can’t recover those lost decades. For me, it’s too late to form memories of a rewarding adult life well-lived; too late to develop the close relationships required to avoid social isolation in my approaching old age; too late for the children, and grandchildren, I would have had. But, with a decision from your Ministry to include ME in its commitment to universal healthcare, it’s not too late for young ME patients to avoid the devastating losses I’ve endured. With respect to ME, what are you doing to reduce health inequity as stipulated in the Health Canada objectives? I look forward to hearing from you." And here's the text of the response I received today. To be honest, after almost four months, I'd stopped checking the mail box in anticipation -- not that the message received gave me any hope that the situation in Canada will change any time soon. "Thank you for your letter addressed to the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, outlining the difficulties faced by patients afflicted with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). Apologies for the delay in responding. We are sorry to hear about your health difficulties and about what you have experienced and sympathize with you for your ongoing challenges in seeking adequate treatment. The Canada Health Act, Canada's federal health care insurance legislation, defines the national principles that govern the Canadian health care insurance system. The Act establishes the criteria and conditions related to insured hospital and physician services that the provinces and territories must fulfill to qualify for their full share of the federal cash contributions under the Canada Health Transfer. Although the federal government plays a role in supporting health care by providing funding to the provinces and territories, the provincial and territorial governments have primary jurisdiction in the administration and delivery of health care services. If you have not already done so, you may wish to contact the Minister of Health for Alberta, who can be reached at: Thank you, again, for writing. Sincerely yours, Strategic Policy Branch Health Canada" There was no signature, and no name, on the letter. Have any other Canadians received a similar letter? If so, what was your interpretation? Mine is that at least for the time being, ME is intentionally not a priority for Health Canada, despite valiant efforts to bring the illness to the attention of the federal government. Why else would the response have come from the Strategic Policy Branch? Take a look at the definition of "strategic"!