Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Harper Should Oppose Klein

Ralph Klein's Third Way was a golden opportunity for Stephen Harper to 'Stand Up For Canada' and state our Health Act is sacrosanct. Canada's Minister of State for Public Health, Carolyn Bennett, did 'scold' him, while Harper restated his view that any Canadian should be able to obtain health care within specific deadlines, regardless of ability to pay.

Such words sound soothing to the ears. In this era of soundbites, newspaper reporters seek out statements and the politicians oblige. However, actions speak louder than words and our reporters should now investigate, when Parliament starts, as to how committed Mr. Harper is in protecting the Canada Health Act. We have seen in recent weeks how the Tories are governing is contrary to how they campaigned. They rolled out their 'moderate' side for the news media, while in power they rolled out their 'hidden' side. Ethics went out of the window with Emerson and Fortier appointments, accountability and clean government was trampled upon by denying reporters the right to question Cabinet ministers and promoting a new air of secrecy in the government.

Similarly while Mr. Harper is now making soothing noises about the Canada Health Act, I don't want him to turn around in two years time and say 'Oops, my bad' as all doctors leave public practice for the more lucrative private sector. The Canada Health Act cannot be gutted at once, it can only be stripped away in layers, and that is what we Liberals have to watch out for.

Canada's problem is longer wait times due to a shortage of doctors. Klein's solution: let the wealthier pay to the head of the line. This does nothing for the poor or the average Joe (who cannot come up with $12G for a hip replacement out of the blue). What we need is more doctors. One way to do this is to recognize all foreign medical credentials of all immigrants. We can have a mentorship program where a new doctor immigrant will have to move to an area where there is a shortage of doctors (such as rural Ontario, Yukon and so on), will work with a locally accredited doctor for a couple of years. During this time the local doctor can certify the foreign doctor. Credentials should be evaluated in the immigrant's country of application by Canadian authorities, and the costs to do so downloaded to the immigrant. Obviously these evaluations will be stricter in countries of dubious university standards, and relaxed in countries where standards are comparable to our own.

Mr. Harper should just come out and say Klein's Third Way is complete rubbish. Any other compromise is destructive to our health care.



Anonymous said...

Your comment about "this does nothing for the poor" is wrong. What it does for the poor or average Joe is that for every wealthy individual who pays for their own care, another poor or average Joe moves up the ranks and closer to recieving healthcare. And, if you think we don't have 2 tier healthcare right now let me give you 2 examples.

1) The next time you have to go to the hospital for more than a day, ask for a private or semi-private room. The first question you'll be asked is do you have insurance for that. Why should poor people or the average Joe not have the comfort of a private or semi private room?

2) What happens to any athlete who blows a knee or injures himself? Does he wait in line until it's his turn? Not a chance. The same thing with a worker who is injured on the job. Compensation makes sure they get in first before anybody who is injured at home.

No 2 tier healthcare? I don't think so.

The Liberal Times said...

Don't worry, the PC Party of Alberta may just give Klein the boot when they meet in Calgary for there Convention.


mezba said...

Thanx for the comments. When programmes such as sportspeople and workers compensation pays for fast tracking a case, they pay into the health care system. The doctor treating the patient under the public system does not make any extra cash. Under Klein's system, doctors would have an incentive to treat richer people who can afford to pay more.

Clown Party of Canada said...

I agree, there already is a two-tier health care system in Canada. Each provance has some sort of two-tier system.

Though I have a hard time defending the Federal LIEberals - the Provincial Liberals are a different story. First it should be noted that the Provincial Liberals distanced themselves and did not support the Federal LIEberals.

To quote a reply: "... only too often we get lumped in with the federal party, and too many people forget that we don't have anything to do with them. Our leader, Kevin Taft, did in fact tell the media that he would not support or endorse the federal Liberals or Paul Martin in the last election campaign. And he was quite serious about it."

Personally, I think they should change their name, to something like The Progressive Party of Alberta. I had always thought they were like the Federal LIEberals, now it is a party worth researching with an open mind.

When King Ralph threw the liberal book at the page WITHOUT READING IT, and called it "crap" showed that he has only one vision - his. I went to the Provincial Liberal page and requested a copy:

I suggest that one at least read it before commenting on the suggestions. One of the suggestions that I like is the following:

= = = = = = = = = = =

“The provincial government, by its own admission, expects to generate approximately $281 million per year in new revenue thanks to the recent increase of $2.25 per pack in tobacco taxes.

In March of 2002 a coalition of stakeholders from a broad variety of sectors came together under the banner “Wellness Alberta” and advocated the establishment of a wellness fund financed by tobacco tax dollars. The Alberta Liberal Opposition supports this initiative.

The Alberta Liberal Opposition would phase in a Wellness Fund, to eventually distribute $200 million a year to projects aimed at improving health and wellness.

The amount of this fund could be adjusted upwards in future years based upon tax revenue and Alberta’s increasing population. If the tobacco tax eventually becomes inadequate to sustain the fund, then other sources of revenue (such as liquor taxes) could be used. The Wellness Fund would under no circumstances take revenue away from other programs (i.e. acute care, chronic care, etc.).”

= = = = = = = = = = =

Why would King Ralph not impalement such a policy? At least the money generated by this tax would be a better method going to health care, than by placing the generated tax into general funds.

I am not saying that everything presented by the Provincial Liberals should be implemented, yet, at least some things could be adopted by King Ralph to make their proposal acceptable to Albertans. This should not be a “one party” policy, it should have input from all three parties - Conservative, Liberal and NDP. Such narrow-minded attitude is not good for any political party - one just has to look how the Federal LIEberals ran things. Perhaps the Alberta Conservatives need to be out of power for a while - like the Federal LIEberals. The Conservatives have been in power too long under one leader - who did a lot of good - but should not be afraid to work with the opposition, and not be afraid to say, “let’s look at this more closely.”

Isn’t that all the opposition parties want - both Provincially and Federally - to at least be listened to? Give the Provincial Liberals a chance to be listened to. Don't e afraid to ask questions of your politican as well as the opposition.

The Federal LIEberals always mocked the opposition - I hope that Harper at least listens to the opposition.