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.
Tags: Klein's Third Way Canada Health Act