A Canadian's perspective on domestic and international issues. Independent coverage of Canadian federal, provincial and municipal elections and anything of interest in Canada.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Harper's transparent healthcare ploy

There’s a suspicion out there among lefties and centrists that the current Canadian federal government is doing all it can to make itself appear moderate. It’s spin! The idea is to convince the Canadian people the Harper Conservatives are not the big blue facists their critics have made them out to be.
I think its true.
The idea is to appear compassionate, and to eventually go back to the polls and win a majority, having convinced the Canadian people the Conservatives are not going to venture too far from the middle of the road.
Its less than honest, and there are some signs of it.
Has anyone else out there noticed that everyone coming away from meeting with our new prime minister is talking about private health care?
Both the BC and Quebec governments have done just that after meeting with Harper!
Our health care system was doing just fine, until successive Conservative and Liberal governments under Mulroney, Chretien and Martin, took their fiscal axes to it! Now, instead of restoring funding, the present government is slowly and methodically introducing a two-tiered solution to the dilemna their predecessors created.
Is this what the Canadian people really want?
I think not.
If our federal government is serious about preserving our national health care system then it seems the logical place to begin would be in restoring full funding to health care. Once that’s done, they could, potentially, start identifying areas where more funding or other improvements are needed. Instead, the current government seems intent on altering the entire formula by which health care is delivered in Canada.
Is this what Canadians really want?
Remember back in the election campaign, how Harper’s opponents chastized him about where his campaign donations came from? At the time Harper declared he’d made full disclosure on that subject.
Have you ever seen the list of his campaign contributors? Has anyone?
I for one want to know, because if he received money from anyone at a private medical service provider, or insurer, then our Prime Minister has a serious conflict of interest on his hands. And its just the sort of conflict Harper railed against while he was in opposition!
Its clear big business supports Mr. Harper. He is well ensconsed in Bay Street and wildly popular with industry. One of the biggest industries in the world is the insurance business, a sector that stands to benefit, big time, if Canada moves towards privatization of healthcare services. Before he goes any further down the road towards private healthcare, Mr. Harper should, if he has any ethics at all, disclose any and all donations he received from persons or businesses with stock in the insurance industry.
Will he? I bloody doubt it.
While in oppositon Mr. Harper made an awful lot of noise about government corruption, integrity, and transparency. Now that he’s in power, I believe it is incumbent on him to demonstrate the ethics, integrity and transparency he once championed. Moreover, it is vital, if he is to preserve his own integrity, that he reveal just what his ties to the big insurance and healthcare providers are.
Will he? I bloody doubt it!
Instead, Mr. Harper is going to forge ahead. He’ll limit funding to healthcare and allow secondary service providers to be developed. Soon, people will start using these secondary providers, because they’re there, and, down the road, Harper will say its working, people are using it. Which takes me back to my opening paragraph.
Until such times as Harper is able to win a majority, he will continue to partially fun public healthcare and allow the private providers to fill in the gaps. In time people will become dependant on these secondary providers. In the short term it will work, people who do not want to wait for services will go to the privateers, and things like wait times will appear to shrink, thus allowing Harper to declare he’s fixed the system.
In turn, Harper will go to the Canadian people as the champion of health care and potentially win big.
If he does win big, and take a majority, then watch what happens. I guarantee the privateers will get even more room to grow, while the public system is choked off.
If he doesn’t win big, then he will have at least opened the door for the private providers. And you know what they say, once you get a foot in the door, you can jam it open!
Short of a vast majority of Canadians writing to the Prime Minister, demanding both full disclosure of his connections to private health care and insurance providers, and full restoration of funding to the public system, I don’t see how we’re going to avoid the total decimation of our public health care system.
Sadly, it may already be too late. And even more sadly, if Canadians fall for Mr. Harper’s ploy, of appearing to be a moderate, then we will get just what we deserve, an American-style, every citizen for his or herself, approach to the social safety net.
If you’re reasonably wealthy and can afford to purchase insurance from an organzation like Blue Cross, for example, then none of this matters. But if you’re from one of the majority of Canadian families who have both parents working more hours for less pay, then you’d better start pinching those pennies even tighter, because you’re certainly going to need them.
Will Harper’s ploy work?
Well, that’s entirely up to you and me!


Post a Comment

<< Home