Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mennonite school in St.Catharines dismissed as "an anomaly" by Liberal Kathleen Wynne

James Cowan’s column in the National Post, "Mennonite school used against Liberals" (Sept.29, 2007) had a St.Catharines focus:

“A public school in St. Catharines that for two decades has offered chapel services and Bible classes for its Mennonite students proves Dalton McGuinty's arguments against funding religious schools are "nonsense," according to the Progressive Conservatives.
John Tory, the Conservative leader, has promised to spend $400-million to fund Jewish, Muslim and other religious schools if elected on Oct. 10.
Mr. McGuinty, the Premier, opposes the plan, saying it would be divisive and deprive the public system of money. However, Mr. McGuinty also defends continued public funding of Catholic schools because it is legally required under the 1867 British North America Act.
But Mike Van Soelen, a Conservative spokesman, said the Liberal leader's constitutional argument fails to explain why his government provides full funding for Eden High School, which bills itself as "an alternative Christian high school."
"Clearly this proves we've already gone beyond funding Catholic schools," Mr. Van Soelen said.
"This undermines the constitutional argument that is used by the Liberals and shows that argument is just nonsense."
Eden High joined the public system in 1988 during the Liberal government of premier David Peterson.
Mr. Van Soelen noted five current Cabinet ministers -- including Greg Sorbara, the Finance Minister and Liberal campaign chairman -- were members of Mr. Peterson's caucus
"They would have been at the Cabinet table. They must have believed in it at the time," Mr. Van Soelen said.
Kathleen Wynne, the Liberal Education Minister, yesterday described Eden High as "an anomaly" and said its existence does not justify the fundamental changes that Mr. Tory is proposing.
"There is a difference between a single school that is in the system and making a systemic change across the province that would introduce a very different way of educating kids," she said, adding, "I don't see it as a contradiction." ”
*
St. Catharines MPP Jim Bradley was in Peterson’s cabinet as well. Why is he marching lockstep with his Liberal reactionaries today? Why Is Bradley denying the same right to other faith-based Ontario schools that his own government granted to Eden (the so-called “anomaly”) which exists in his own riding, right in Niagara? You’d think he sees the obvious contradiction, the discriminatory double-standard, but, as he admitted in the Ridley debate on Sept.26, he’s simply toeing the party line. (and giving the boot to funding fairness, too)
At least one long time Liberal, Monte Kwinter, has now stood up to say he will not be a hypocrite and will not support McGuinty’s flip-flop on this issue. McGuinty, calling it unfair, once said he was not opposed to faith-based funding; now he claims it’s regressive and leads to sequestering and segregation. Is that what occurred when McGuinty and his family went to Catholic school? Is that what Bradley thinks of Eden High?

Why should we believe McGuinty's Liberals during Fibber-Palooza 2007?

Dalton McGuinty promised in 2003 to hire 8000 nurses, telling them: “We’re going to give you full-time work; and we’re going to give you respect.” (Ottawa Citizen, Sept.21, 2003) McGuinty did neither, but is now running a commercial showing him in an empty arena blaming Harris, when in fact the empty arena seats ironically demonstrate how many nurses Dalton himself failed to hire! And now, he’s promising 9,000 more, over the ones that haven’t materialized from his last fib-fest.

Wouldn’t the money which the Grits pointlessly spent in 2006 on: re-branding Ontario’s ‘trillium’ and the Lottery Corp. logos (how much did the Liberals pay to remove the ‘C’ from ‘OLGC’?); or on misleading TV commercials; or on lawyers battling the parents of autistic children; or on their 2007 puerile “FLICK OFF” campaign, have been better spent on, say…patients??

The Toronto Star (Dec.4, 1995) wrote: “As Liberal MPP Jim Bradley observed rather profoundly in the legislature, governments can be judged best by what they do in private. Put another way, it is what governments try to do covertly that speaks to us about their integrity and respect for voters.”

Wasn’t Bill 36, the draconian LHINS health legislation, a clandestine power-grab by the majority Liberals? Were the Liberals trustworthy when they were found by Ontario’s Auditor Jim McCarter to have been disingenuous with their wait-time claims? How much "integrity" did Liberals show when they were found by ombudsman Andre Marin to have mis-treated cancer patients? How shocking is it when this same pesky ombudsman revealed that the Liberal government is circumventing the ombudsman’s office and squandering tax dollars by hiring outsiders to investigate public complaints, because it wants to maintain control over the investigations? (National Post, Jun.21,2007)

When the Harris government introduced a budget at an auto-parts plant in 2003, Bradley whined that it was “illegitimate”, calling it “unprecedented arrogance on the part of the government.” Wasn’t it “unprecedented arrogance” for Bradley’s covert Liberals to hide their scandalous $32 million grant-giveaway from the opposition and the taxpaying public? How ‘legitimate’ is it for Bradley’s Liberals to give tax money away with absolutely no controls in place? What kind of "respect for voters" was that?

“Talk is cheap,” McGuinty smugly lectured Ernie Eves regarding closing coal-fired plants. Yet, from 2003 to 2007, it was McGuinty’s cheap-talking Liberals who didn’t deliver what they falsely promised.

Bradley may have seemed “profound” in the Star’s eyes in 1995 (that was, of course, well before Bradley’s Liberals cut coverage for eye-tests); but by 2007, his Liberals have become morbidly duplicitous. Jim Bradley called Premier Mike Harris “a liar” in the Legislature (Windsor Star, Dec.8, 1995), and told NDP house leader Dave Cooke “I wish I could call you a liar” (Ottawa Citizen, Dec.19, 1991) But, were the myriad of campaign promises made by Bradley’s Liberals actually worth anything, or, were they just outright, bald-faced lies?

And if Liberals couldn’t deliver what they promised in 2003, why should anyone believe them during Fibber-Palooza 2007??

Another baby sent to the U.S. because no neo-natal beds available in western Canada

This story from CTV.ca News, Sep. 29 2007:

"A British Columbia mother was forced to go to Seattle this week after complications due to the premature birth of her baby.
Courtney Nassey's son, Aiden, was born six weeks sooner than expected at Langley Memorial Hospital just outside of Vancouver. He had trouble breathing and needed a level three neo-natal bed. But none were available in all of Western Canada.
So, doctors had little Aiden and his mother airlifted to a hospital in Seattle. The transportation and hospital care were all covered by Nassey's provincial healthcare insurance.
But the province's New Democratic opposition party says Nassey's case isn't the lone example of a premature baby being sent to the U.S.
Adrian Dix, the NDP health critic for B.C., says the cost of sending mothers and infants outside of the country could be used to add additional neo-natal beds in the province.
"People are worried about the cost, can we afford it? Well it's a significant cost flying a mom and baby to Washington state and paying there. This kind of investment will pay for itself," Dix told CTV News in Vancouver.
Nassey says that although the province's medical system will take care of her baby's health care as long as he needs to stay in hospital in Seattle, there's another cost. Her family isn't nearby to give her and Aiden support.
"I just want to be back at home with my friends and family," she said. "Nobody's even seen the baby."
Nassey will have to use a non-profit society's aid to cover her housing costs in the U.S. once she's out of hospital.
Doctors expect to get little Aiden off his ventilator soon and say he could be back home soon if a bed can be found in a B.C. hospital."
*
"If a bed can be found in a B.C. hospital"?! Unbelievable. Is this a joke? Sadly, it is not. This is Tommy Douglas's Sicko universal-healthcare system at 'work'.

Again, as in the recent Jepp quads case in Alberta, do we say, our system "worked", or did it "fail"? (And again, please don't tell Michael Moore that Canadians are forced to utilize the American healthcare system, because our sicko government-run healthcare can't deliver at home. Such information may reduce the gullibility-gap in Moore's film extolling Canada's glorious health system, and therefore may be unwelcome.)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

'You're Not Helping Me,' Angry cancer patient tells Liberal Premier of Ontario

This story From CityNews.ca Staff, Sept. 26, 2007:

"As he continues to pound the campaign trail, Premier Dalton McGuinty came face to face with perhaps one of his biggest critics Wednesday after a cancer patient at an Ottawa hospital simply refused to shake his hand.
Mike Brady, who has stage four colon cancer, told the party leader, "You're not helping me." McGuinty replied, "That's not true," before continuing with his tour.
The angry patient said McGuinty shouldn't be visiting those in hospital with similar ailments when the Ontario government doesn't provide funding for some types of cancer that other provinces and the U.S. already do.
McGuinty's response? It reminded him of how personal health care is to patients and their families.
The doctor escorting the Grit boss through the facility quickly tried to put a spin on the incident, telling McGuinty cancer patients in hospital often experience feelings of despair.
But Brady insisted he wasn't sad - just mad. "The study I was on was paid for by the drug company," he related afterwards. "If I had to rely on drugs available in Ontario I would be dead today." "

*

Brady’s last quote is worth noting, because it echoes exactly the same theme Suzanne Aucoin expressed after she was denied funding by Ontario's healthcare monopoly (twice), and was forced by McGuinty's Liberals to the United States for her treatment. Aucoin said: “If I lived by what they could provide me, I wouldn’t be living, I’d be dead. It is only because I go to other places, that I go to the U.S. and look outside of what’s available to me here, that I’m able to stay alive.” (Toronto Sun, Mar.16, 2007)

McGuinty happened to pass a patient, Brady, who was standing in the hospital lobby as McGuinty and his entourage campaigned in the hospital. (... yes: this is what these Liberals do: troll for votes in hospitals. Pathetic.) As McGuinty went by, he tried to reach out his hand, Brady did not offer his, and that's when the curt exchange took place, with Brady saying "I've got cancer and you're not helping any." (St.Catharines Standard, Sept.27, 2007) McGuinty really didn't even stop walking.

What occurred in this brief, yet revealing, episode is politically significant. A campaigning McGuinty meets a patient, face-to-face, who’s suffering in the Liberal healthcare system, and then McGuinty has the audacity to dismiss what the patient just said, scurrying away, saying "That's not true".

These Liberals are blind to the reality of the sicko healthcare mess which they, through their health minister George Smitherman, have propagated. When McGuinty saw and met the reality of his failing health-policies face-to-face, he responded with rhetoric and walked away, pretending this was just an anomaly. Shameful. The Standard reported this incident “was an unexpected glitch for the premier”. You think?! The “glitch” is that reality trumped Liberal ideology. And shame on that doctor for trying to spin it otherwise.

This incident demonstrates more than just embarrassing Liberal hypocrisy; it shows the outright negligence of Ontario’s Premier - who runs our restrictive, single-payer, so-called ‘universal-healthcare’ monopoly - to pretend that the suffering patient he just met, a hostage trapped in McGuinty’s no-choice monopoly, was somehow lying.

And what exactly did Brady say, which was "not true"? And how would Dalton even know, since he didn't bother stopping to talk to Mr. Brady? McGuinty’s response was rich indeed, coming from a Liberal premier whose entire 2003 election platform pretty much ended up being “not true”.

The video (see:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UzKjfwtXrE&feature=related) of this encounter was shown on almost all Ontario news shows that night, Sept. 26, 2007. (Once again, please, don't tell Michael Moore about this sicko example of universal government-run healthcare in Canada. Moore may not want to use it in his next propaganda film extolling the glories of Canadian single-payer medicare.)
*

Millionaire Liberal Jim Bradley: fan claims "He's Elvis" !

S.R. Laugher ’s Sept.27, 2007 St.Catharines Standard letter, “One word can be used to describe Jim Bradley” mentions my Sept.5 letter “Where’s St. Catharines arena money?” I got a laugh from Laugher’s summary describing Bradley - in Laugher’s own words - as a “useless twit”. But the point is, Bradley hasn’t answered the question, has he? The point is that Bradley seems adept at saying one thing, doing another. The point is there’s another, more accurate, word that can be used to describe Jim Bradley’s last four years in a majority government: Ineffective.

Bradley was in cabinet during two of the most untrustworthy governments Ontario has had, David Peterson’s and Dalton McGuinty’s. Bradley is best when blustering righteously from the sidelines, like in 1999, when he was smugly calling the sitting government’s environmental initiatives "laughable". (Welland Tribune, Oct.22, 1999) Yet by 2007, Greenpeace, no less, was calling the Liberal’s meagre climate-change funding "laughable". (St. Catharines Standard, Mar.23, 2007)

Ontario's Environment Commission reported in Oct. 2006 that McGuinty's Liberals drastically neglected and mismanaged environmental protection. The Sierra Club gave Ontario's Grit government an 'F' on climate change in 2006. Bradley and his Liberals broke their major promises to close all of Ontario's coal-fired plants by 2007, and threw their credibility away along with their written pledge not to raise taxes.

Laugher touts Bradley, saying “he’s Elvis”! Will we see a side-burn-sporting Bradley livening up his performance at the next debate by wearing a hip rhinestone cape and studded bell-bottoms, belting out a rousing rendition of ‘Are you lonesome tonight?’, with the ironic (for us) lyrics: ‘But I’d rather go on hearing your lies, than go on living without you’?!

Seriously, Elvis permanently ‘left the building’ two months after Bradley’s election way back in 1977. Bradley’s statist, big-government attitude should also have been left in the ‘Trudeaupian’ 70’s, where it belongs.

Bradley has certainly had his glory days in public service, but don’t weep; unlike about 450,000 Ontario pensioners, he made sure he got his million dollar pension unlocked.

It’s only humane to put this tired “champion” out to pasture.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Liberal Jim Bradley: tired and uninspired during debate

Further to the St. Catharines Standard's (Sept.27, 2007) story, “Go Transit a go with all candidates”, (regarding the all-candidates debate held at Ridley College in St. Catharines on Sept.26, 2007), here’s what some audience members asked during the question session which didn't make it into the paper:

-a man to Jim Bradley: “Political integrity has become a key issue for me. You need to convince me that I should vote for you, knowing that that vote would re-elect the party leader who has devastated the meaning of integrity. Just to clarify, I think he should have resigned after he broke his promise – and that wasn’t even on your party’s mind.” [Bradley blamed his party’s broken promises on the deficit].

-a man to Bradley: “Over the years I have appreciated the fact that at the faith-based school that my children attend, you have made many laudatory comments about contributions such schools make. Now your leader says that people like us are a threat to social cohesion in Ontario, and segregationist. And I presume that would include other non-public schools like Ridley, for instance. So I would appreciate knowing whether you agree with your leader on that.” [Bradley agreed while trying to appear that he didn’t agree.]

-a boy to Bradley: “In my school there are split classes in every single grade, and over thirty kids in each class. Do you believe this is an improvement in the past four years?” This young student’s question actually elicited outright laughs from the audience. [A chagrined Bradley bafflegabbed his way through that little inconsistency from his Liberal’s last election promise to cap class sizes, by using rural schools as his excuse. (How many rural schools does St. Catharines have, anyway?) I’m sure the boy, and most everyone else, was probably more confused after Bradley’s answer.]

Bradley said about healthcare: “First of all the Liberal Party in Ontario and Canada believes in public healthcare, and the delivery of public healthcare. We had instances where we saw for instance, radiation treatment going to the private sector that could have been delivered at Sunnybrook hospital by the public sector. That was reversed because what happens when you allow it to go private is that it takes resources and personnel from the public sector and goes to the private sector, so while it may be an illusion that you are reducing the wait list, what in fact you are doing is simply moving to private health care.”

What Bradley fails to see is that, for suffering patients, wait-lists are not “an illusion”; and, that wait-lists are not a result of any alleged failure by the private sector - they are a predictable consequence of the ideological health-care monopoly which Bradley and his rigid Liberals unreasonably cling to. Also, Bradley simply ignores that the same tired allegations he still propagates today in Ontario were put forward by Ted Marmor (witness for the defence) during Quebec’s 2005 Chaoulli Supreme court trial – and were dismissed.

All in all, Liberal incumbent Jim Bradley’s performance was tired, uninspired, and wholly unsatisfying.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Liberals: from hypocrites to bigots

On Michael Coren’s show (CTS, Sept.25, 2007) his guests included Bernie Farber, Kathleen Wynne and John Vanasselt. They talked about faith based school funding. Wynne claimed first, that "infrastructure" would cost too much for discrimination to end in Ontario (what a proud Liberal!); then, she blamed the constitution; then, as expected, she played the old Harris card to sum up her sorry defense of Ontario’s educational double standard. Of course, no real answer was given by Wynne, the current Minister of Education, to Farber’s question. Some comments by the panellists were:

Farber: “What is the problem of eliminating religious discrimination finally in this province? How can it be, in the year 2007, that we have the only jurisdiction in the world that permits one faith based group to have special rights others don’t? How is that possible?”
Wynne: “The argument I’m making is that we’re not talking about 400 or 500 million dollars, we’re talking about into the billions of dollars once you start to house and put infrastructure in place and we cannot afford to go there.”
*
Vanasselt: “The issue of infrastructure has been handled in the other provinces where they fund faith based schools. They’re not issues. [gives examples: Edmonton, Manitoba, British Columbia] The educational infrastructure is not an issue. It’s not an issue anywhere in the Western world. Why would it be that way in Ontario?”
*
Farber: “Kathleen, you didn’t answer the question. I just want you to answer the question about discrimination. For a whole hour I’ve been asking you to answer that question. Is it discriminatory or is it not? Yes or no? No politician from your party has answered that…Is it discriminatory in your opinion? Don’t give me a political answer.”
Wynne: “It’s a historic tension. And we have historic tensions across the country."
Farber: “And so we continue with discrimination because of “historical tension”; is that what your telling me?”
Wynne: “The worst discrimination is against the mass of children in this province who are in our publicly funded system who need resources that were taken away by Mike Harris and now, John Tory…”
*
Vanasselt: “The suggestion that in this largely multicultural province that the only place to propagate democracy is in public schools and the language that’s being used by the party in power is just absurd. The notion that these other schools and these other communities do not contribute to democracy, to the growth and the advancement and the development of this province it remains offensive…you can’t answer Bernie’s question about discrimination - this is not going to get better, is it?”
*
Coren (to Wynne): “I don’t think you actually believe this at all. I think John Tory brought this forward and you thought at Liberal headquarters ‘we can get him on this’. And in fact it’s entirely Liberal to say that you can have funding for faith schools. I’ve heard New Democrats and Liberals say to me ‘yeah, it’s not against our ideology. But you knew this would be real loser for the Tories, and you bashed away and you know what? You’re doing well at it, you’re doing very well at it indeed."
Wynne: “That’s not true.”
*
More and more, these Ontario Liberal hypocrites are just looking like bigots.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Liberal Smitherman's sicko health-scare system

Story from: CTV News, Sep. 23 2007

"Ontario's Deputy Premier George Smitherman stands beside a poster criticizing John Tory. The poster reads 'didn't think it through'. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Deputy Premier George Smitherman says a Progressive Conservative proposal to fund procedures in private health clinics is "retro.''
Smitherman, also the Liberal minister of health, appeared at a Toronto antique market this morning for the last-minute announcement.
He says Conservative Leader John Tory's plan to allow private clinics to deliver publicly funded medicare services is a step back to "darker ages.''
Public health advocacy groups were quick to respond to Tory's proposal last week, saying the Conservative plan could ultimately destroy medicare.
Tory says he wants to get people off the waiting lists and out of pain.
But Smitherman says people in Ontario reject the idea of building services in a for-profit environment."

***

Rather than negatively dismiss John Tory’s health proposal as “retro”, it is time for Liberal Health Minister George Smitherman to finally admit that his own healthcare monopoly is sicko. Smitherman well knows that Tory’s publicly-paid, privately-run plan is a sensible course to help patients get off waiting lists and out of pain. "Public health advocacy groups" (who were unnamed in the story, and who didn't have much to say about patients), fearmongered that this "could ultimately destroy medicare", as if it hasn't self-destructed already under Smitherman! Please! If getting suffering patients off medicare's waiting lists "destroys medicare", so flicking what?
Here’s what the St. Catharines Standard wrote on Aug.11, 2005:
“Smitherman has been also publicly signaling that his government is prepared to allow Ontarians to “augment” their care, cautiously suggesting that should not be threatening, and the province can’t “do it all”. "A lot of people say ‘well, we’re against privatization’", Smitherman said. “But there’s already quite a bit of for-profit delivery within the context of a publicly funded, universally accessible healthcare system. We have a 1,000 independent health facilities in Ontario that already deliver services and are largely doctor owned and operated."
Apparently Smitherman could afford to be candid and portray himself as pro-active back then – the election was over two years away! But like a typical Liberal, he’s now re-hashing his tired old anti-profit rhetoric.
Premier Dalton McGuinty said on the Sept.20, 2007 televised leaders’ debate that Ontario now spends half of its budget on healthcare – yet his Liberals have developed a disturbing new export market: outsourcing Ontario patients to the States for treatment because Smitherman’s health-scare system can’t provide timely healthcare at home.
We even saw Smitherman - Mr. Medicare - falling over himself rushing to the border to prevent American technology services (Lifeline clinic of Cleveland) from entering the province! It was Smitherman's Liberal government that created an entirely new and questionable health-tax - while also cutting coverage! Remember when Smitherman famously referred to Ontario optometrists as terrorists? Smitherman has demonstrated an obvious deference to ideology over patient health – a scary attribute indeed for a health minister whose government's own Ombudsman, Andre Marin, called Liberal-run health care a “cruel game”.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Fibber McGrit: Champion of Ontario's bleak healthcare status-quo

Peter Gill wrote in the St.Catharines Standard Feedback, Sept.21, 2007: "I get the impression that you want us to vote NDP in this election. We had an NDP government once and what a disaster that was, their best supporter Peter Kormos was kicked out of cabinet. Even their leader, Bob Rae went Liberal. We are about to get a brand new medical facility, in this city, championed by Jim Bradley. My mother is at Upper Canada Lodge, a wonderfull home in Niagara on the Lake, great staff, facilities and food ( today she was taken by bus to a restaurant with a group from the home).You paint this bleak picture that requires tonnes of more unionized workers to improve our current situation. I don't think so, things are pretty good in Ontario. If your not sure move to the states, but take lots of money with you, you'll need it. "

P. Gill, thank-you for your comment, but: "vote NDP"?! Now that is funny! The consensus is they were a disaster. The “bleak picture” of Ontario healthcare has been painted, over the last four years, by none other than the hypocrites of the Liberal party. “Things are pretty good in Ontario?” Well, if Aucoin’s (non)treatment by the government isn’t enough to make us sick, or the ironic example of Liberal MP Belinda Stronach leaving Ontario for treatment in California, why not take a moment to read up on what our bleak Liberal government-run health monopoly did to Lindsay McCreith – our healthcare system almost killed him. That’s why he has launched a constitutional challenge in Ontario’s Supreme Court. During this 2007 election, why not take the opportunity to ask why local MPP Jim Bradley’s Liberal health system denied funding to St. Catharines resident Margaret Cowal, who died on the Liberal’s bleak healthcare waiting-list. (St. Catharines Standard, Oct.5, 2006). The Liberal-run system denied Cowal treatment, while also denying her the right to provide for her own insurance – a politicized situation, which is patently hypocritical and unfair to any individual patient in our bleak monopoly system. How about asking why the Liberal's supposedly-universal system denied funding to Andrew Lanese, which the St. Catharines Standard wrote about on Aug.4, 2007? Or why not ask Liberal Health Minister George Smitherman why Ontario sends our burn victims to the States? Take a moment to read the shockingly bleak story (Saskatoon Phoenix-Star, Jun.2, 2007) of burn victim Charlie Godden from Campbellford, Ont., who was flown from Ontario to Rochester, N.Y. because there were NO burn units available in Smitherman’s health-scare system! Not all Ontario patients have had the timely care that was inherently promised them by our single-payer medicare system. Let’s not pretend, though, that all is rosy in St. Catharines, or in Ontario, for that matter, because Jim Bradley finally “championed” (!) for a hospital after 30 long years in office. Now, how long will it take, and how many more patients have to suffer, before it actually gets built? And when we talk about “lots of money”, during the Sept.20, 2007 televised leader’s debate, a shifty-eyed Dalton McGuinty said half of Ontario’s entire budget is now spent on healthcare; yet, Ontario patients are still either being denied funding or being shuffled off to Buffalo and beyond for healthcare that McGuinty's sicko system can’t provide. So how many billion-dollars of more phony ‘tax/premiums/oh, look, we have a surplus!’ shenanigans will we have to endure if ole Fibber McGrit gets re-elected? What’s really bleak is an underlying Canadian chauvinism that thinks nothing of marginalizing the rights of patients if there’s a chance that the U.S. can possibly be smeared in the process. Many Ontario patients are thankful that the U.S. health system was there for them when they needed it, but it’s not Americans – it’s the Liberals which are our problem.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Is Liberal McGuinty 'a liar in everything but name', or is he lying?

Ontarians saw the televised leader's debate on Sept. 20, 2007. The Conservative leader, John Tory, was clearly the overall winner - sincere and to-the-point on all the issues throughout the debate, projecting his message clearly, and showing himself as a capable and trustworthy leader. We saw the current Liberal premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty - a proud product of our Catholic 'separate school' system - proudly try to justify his hypocritical stand to deny education funding to a minority of other faith groups in Ontario. Saying one thing in opposition, then doing something else in power, has become pretty much a hallmark standard operating procedure for the Liberals, whether on healthcare, education, the environment...the list goes on. (Remember 'flip-flop McGuinty'?)
Seeing McGuinty's debate performance, reminded me of two articles, both of which deal with the Liberal's hypocritical stand on the faith-funding issue:
The first article, by the Toronto Sun's Lorrie Goldstein, was published yesterday, Sept. 19, 2007. The second article, by Enzo Di Matteo of Now Magazine, was published SIX YEARS AGO, in 2001!
Bizarrely McGuinty's Liberals, in opposition, were in favour then of what they claim to vehemently oppose today! Does anyone really have to point out the Liberal propensity for lying, or are they spinning that yarn all by themselves? You have to really wonder what the Liberals who were mentioned in Now Magazine's piece then - and who are still around - must be thinking today. If instituting faith based funding was a matter of Liberal fairness before, why is it not a matter of fairness still today? Why the new-found prejudice?

***

"McGuinty has done this before"
By Lorrie Goldstein, Toronto Sun, Sept. 19, 2007:

"Question: Why did the McGuinty go to a publicly funded, faith-based school to tell us Conservative Leader John Tory's plan to publicly fund-faith based schools endangers public education?
Answer: Because it's all he's got, turkeys.
So far, despite media hysteria, the polls haven't really changed. Premier Dalton McGuinty's Liberals are stuck at 40% support -- with the Conservatives stalled five or six points back.
While those numbers give McGuinty enough to win, they won't give him a majority government. If that holds, McGuinty won't be celebrating Oct. 10. That's why McGuinty keeps doing his Chicken Little routine that on Monday, saw him descend on a poor, unsuspecting publicly-funded faith-based school (Catholic) to denounce public funding for faith-based schools (non-Catholic).
A few years ago, McGuinty, his past and present education ministers (Gerard Kennedy and Kathleen Wynne), and other Liberals said the policy he's now denouncing was the fair thing to do.
So why is McGuinty, educated at a publicly funded, faith-based school, smearing Tory as a segregationist and fear-mongering by implying that whatever's going on in those privately-funded Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Hindu and other faith-based schools, it's probably not anything good?
Why is this self-described champion of diversity, stooping to this?
Because what else is he going to do, silly, to get his support up to the 43% level he needs for a majority government?
Run on his record of keeping his election promises? Ha, ha ha!
Argue that John Tory isn't up to the job? Actually, when asked, more voters prefer Tory as premier than McGuinty.
Finally, if McGuinty is so proud of his record, why isn't he running on it?
Why does he run back to denouncing funding faith-based schools every time anyone mentions the crisis in long-term health care, job losses in the manufacturing sector or that Ontario's coal-fired generating plants, which he promised to close this year, will be polluting our air until at least 2014?
It's because he wants to win, silly, and he'll say anything to do it. Which, of course, is exactly what he did in 2003."

***

"Two-faced grits, They can't make up their minds on private school funding"
By Enzo Di Matteo, NOW Magazine, May 24-30, 2001, issue Vol.20, No.38:

"We thought Dalton Mcguinty, aka premier-in-waiting, was ready for prime time. But last week's fiasco over Tory plans to extend tax credits to private and religious schools shows that it doesn't take much to knock the Liberal leader off the rails.
The Grits should have been making political hay by pointing out how the Tory proposal is nothing but a break for the Richie Riches who send their kids to Upper Canada College, Havergal and other private institutions of finer learning.
Instead, McGuinty's Grits are in damage-control mode. And the leader himself is facing a caucus mini-revolt. How did it come to this?
Shoot-from-the-lip McGuinty, it turns out, was a little too quick to condemn the Tory proposal. Several members of his caucus -- at least half a dozen, one MPP says -- are not averse to extending tax credits to religious schools, which is also part of the Tory plan.
It turns out McGuinty isn't opposed to the idea either, if we're to believe the tune he's singing now, but that's not the impression he gave when he wrote former Foreign Affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy on the subject last year. That was shortly after the United Nations criticized Ontario for funding Catholic schools but not those of other faiths.
The Liberal leader now says money for religion-based educational institutions should be made available, just not right away. First, he says, we need to fix a public school system that's in total disarray.
As usual, the Liberals want to have it both ways.
What a mess. Still, Gerard Kennedy, the Grits' education critic, doesn't see a contradiction in the Liberal position.
He contends that funding for religious schools doesn't necessarily mean less money for the public system. Both can be accommodated, he says. How?
"We don't have the answer to that at this time," says Kennedy.
If he will admit to any failing, it's that the Liberals haven't been able to articulate their position clearly enough. Go figure.
"People are talking about religious schools, which is exactly what the government wants," he says. "But the real beneficiaries are the private-sector schools. We're paying the price, in terms of communication."
On CBC Radio Tuesday morning (May 22), McGuinty said, just in case there's any confusion, that a Liberal government would repeal the Tory measure.
But there's still the small matter of that caucus revolt. MPP Monte Kwinter is a long-time proponent of funding for religious schools, notwithstanding the fact that the feds already offer a tax credit to parents who send their kids to parochial schools.
"I've always supported full funding for faith-based schools," Kwinter tells NOW. "There should be some recognition in the (provincial) tax regime. I'm personally delighted that that's happened. I don't think anyone accepts the argument that Catholic schools should be funded and the others not."
Grit MPP Michael Bryant is another who has publicly expressed support for funding for religious schools.
Bryant, whose own St. Paul's riding, like Kwinter's, includes a substantial Orthodox Jewish constituency, won many a vote campaigning on this very issue in the last election.
But this week the MPP seems less anxious to fan the flames of division within the Grit caucus. He declined to respond to several requests from NOW for comment.
Kathleen Wynne, who unsuccessfully sought the Liberal nomination in St. Paul's before the last election, says the party could have avoided this mess if it had taken what she calls a "principled stand" in favour of funding for religious schools during the election.
She says she personally urged McGuinty's advisers to do just that, apparently to no avail.
"I'm disappointed we didn't come out earlier on this," Wynne says. "I think we could have claimed some ground."
Wynne is talking now about moving toward a confederated school board system. The horror. McGuinty also has to worry about the teachers unions he's been stroking.
Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation president Earl Manners says it's premature to say whether Grit support for faith-based schools will mean no OSSTF support for the Libs come the next election.
But there is a subtle warning. Manners says the Grits "need to oppose this legislation without equivocation."
The Liberals will be out in full force this week flailing away at the Tory plan. Election-style factsheets and pamphlets have been prepared. MPPs will be working the phones. But the damage may already have been done. "

***

The Liberals are attempting, in this 2007 election, to make their opposition to faith-based funding as their defining issue, for they have no credibility left on essentially anything else of consequence, having broken practically all their promises over the last four years. And when you look at it, do they sincerely even have faith in their own defining issue?

Liberals develop disturbing new export market: outsourcing Ontario patients to the States

It’s astounding that our authoritarian Liberal Health Minister George Smitherman refuses to acknowledge the failure which his health system has become under his watch. As James Wallace outlined in his St.Catharines Standard column, "69% say healthcare hasn't improved under Grits:poll" (Sept.17, 2007), Liberal healthcare spending, since 2003, “hasn’t translated into perceived results”. Let’s not forget that this is despite the fact that federal Liberals dumped $40 billion into health several years ago; and that Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty raked Ontarians for another $3 billion a year health-tax as well.

But, after four years of suffering under Smitherman, who once said that Ontario doesn’t even have a health system (Welland Tribune, Aug.11, 2005), and admitted “we don’t actually know exactly what we’re buying,” (St. Catharines Standard, Aug.8, 2005), things haven’t improved.

The symptoms say health care is ailing” said the Standard’s editorial (Sept.19, 2007), yet what we repeatedly get from the Liberals in response is the same old failed ideological healthcare rhetoric. The Standard pointed out that Niagara has more seniors than any other 905 area, but that we’re also on the short end of a $1 billion funding gap. Yet, what has St.Catharines Liberal MPP Jim Bradley - who is the Minister for Seniors - done about this locally? He had over four years as a minister in a majority government to do better. Prisoners have a higher food allowance than Ontario seniors in long-term care. Bradley promised (Niagara News, Nov.23, 2005) that new Community Health Centres would be built throughout Niagara by 2007. Where are they? Finally, after 30 years of Bradley being in office, we might even have a hospital built; one which should have been built years ago.

We’re supposedly awash in tax-cash in our socialized medicare system, yet still, even high-profile Liberal defenders of medicare like MP Belinda Stronach must leave Canada to obtain healthcare in the U.S. which Smitherman’s system fails to provide in Ontario. This situation has become more than merely anecdotal – the Liberals have shown a steady pattern in creating a disturbing new export market: outsourcing Ontario patients to the States.

We heard McGuinty (Globe and Mail, Sept.26, 2003) bleat: “I stand against the Americanization of our hospitals” (whatever that means); and then we saw, when St. Catharines resident Suzanne Aucoin needed cancer treatment, McGuinty and Co. stood by and did nothing, while she was forced to obtain her treatment in America! We even saw Smitherman falling over himself rushing to the border to prevent American technology services from entering the province! Smitherman has demonstrated an obvious deference to ideology over patient health – a scary attribute indeed for a health minister whose own ombudsman, Andre Marin, called Liberal-run health care a “cruel game”.

It’s time for change on this upcoming Oct.10 provincial election. Let’s also work for change before the courts finally rule on the constitutionality of how healthcare is run in Ontario.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Why is Michael Moore promoting Canada's dreadful healthcare monopoly?

On blogspot site "A Perfect Contradiction" Sicko2:Sicko Redux (May 25, 2007) R. Bobak said:

"Pudgy propagandist Michael Moore is dead wrong to paint Canada's sicko socialist healthcare system (where it is illegal for a private citizen to pay for a doctor's services, or to buy private medical insurance) as a panacea for the supposed ills of the American system. We in Canada don't need Moore's boorish and infantile stereotypes. If Moore gets his way, he'd deprive tens of thousands of Canadians from obtaing healthcare in the States- in Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Philly- where they are forced to go because our Ontario state-run government health monopoly cannot provide timely treatment. Look to Massachusetts, and look to Quebec -jurisdictions where a private-parallel health system is developing, albeit from different extremes. Do not be conned by those who babble of "universal healthcare" - in Canada, that socialist scheme morphed, in less than 40 years, into a no-patient-choice, waiting-list rationed, state monopoly. In Ontario, healthcare spending alone consumes something like 45% of the entire provincial budget, yet shortages are a constant fact. Quebec's Supreme Court noted, in its 2005 Chaoulli decision, that access to a healthcare waiting list is NOT the same thing as access to healthcare itself. It's unbelievable that a point as clear as this had to go to the provinces' top court, against the howls of protest from pro-medicare activists, who for years successfully parlayed the charade that getting a bill of goods, was the same thing as getting the actual goods. The Canada/U.S. healthcare relationship is a strangely symbiotic one - we both have strengths and weaknesses in healthcare delivery. For Moore to promote an unsustainable monopoly system like ours, where Canadians die on government waiting lists for rationed care, is simply ignorant."

fabulinus replied: "Thanks for the insight, learned friend from the North. I know I for one have never considered how a move towards universal healthcare in America could hurt not only Americans, but Canadians as well. I wish more Canadians would speak up on this issue, many Americans actually believe the fantasy of free, "top-notch" healthcare. They just don't understand that you get what you pay for."

On whose side of the border is the healthcare grass greener?

Posted by R. Bobak on David Catron’s site, “Health Care BS. Cleaning the Augean stables of the health care debate”, (Aug.27, 2007):

From a Canadian perspective, so-called “universality”, which in practice here is a government-run, single-payer health monopoly, is not sustainable, and has lead to increases in taxes plus additional government premiums, resulting in less coverage and more waiting times. Politicians make our healthcare decisions on our behalf, as they (the government) are the only legal payer for medical services: they decide (ration) where the funding goes, or doesn’t go. If your cancer is deemed politically-incorrect, that is, unworthy of coverage, “universality” is meaningless - and yet, concurrently we are banned from buying private insurance to cover what the state, through ignorance or negligence, fails to provide! We have no consumer choice in healthcare! Many Canadians are forced to travel to the States for cancer therapies that Canada simply dismisses as experimental, others, (as one Supreme court challenge, Quebec’s 2005 Chaoulli ruling found) just die on waiting lists. The point is our system has no competition; it has no incentive, no reason to do more than it has to, other than the minimum to maintain its inertia and protect itself. The patient is viewed and treated as a liability to the health system, in that because hospitals are given finite budgets by the government, one patient more means automatically another gets less. Don’t insultingly treat the fact, as some pro-Michael Moore types do, that Canadians escaping for their lives to the States for treatment which their own so-called “universal” health system can’t provide for them at home, is just “anecdotal” and unworthy of mention in your new socialist healthcare plans. Don’t look with envy at what 40 years worth of socialized medicine has done to Canada’s healthcare system. No one deserves that. R. Bobak

That Wonderful "Free" Canadian Healthcare. Again

The Toronto Star first carried the story headlined “Stronach travels to U.S. for cancer treatment” on Sept.14, 2007.

Here’s a view from a blogspot site, “The Smallest Minority”, posted by Kevin (Sept.16, 2007) titled: “That Wonderful “Free” Canadian Healthcare. Again”, which comments on some of the issues mentioned in the Star's report:

[“Belinda Stronach, the MP for Newmarket-Aurora and former cabinet minister, travelled outside Canada's health-care system to California for some of her breast cancer treatment earlier this year.
Really! You don't say!

Stronach, diagnosed in the spring with a type of breast cancer that required a mastectomy and breast reconstruction, went to California in June at her Toronto doctor's suggestion, a spokesperson confirmed.
THAT referral I find fascinating.

"Belinda had one of her later-stage operations in California, after referral from her personal physicians in Toronto. Prior to this, Belinda had surgery and treatment in Toronto, and continues to receive follow-up treatment there," said Greg MacEachern, Stronach's assistant and spokesperson. Speed was not the issue, MacEachern said – it was more to do with the type of surgery she and her doctor agreed was best for her, and where it was best performed. The type of cancer Stronach had is called DCIS, ductal carcinoma in situ, one of the more treatable forms.
Why would the story even suggest that speed might be "the issue"? Could it be that there are waiting time issues for cancer surgery in Canada? And you mean she couldn't get superior treatment in CUBA??

Stronach, who has announced she is leaving politics to return to executive duties at her father's Magna empire, paid for the procedure.
An option not open, I would imagine, to a lot of Canadians. So what happens to them?

"As we said back in June when we confirmed the surgery, this is a personal and private matter between Belinda, her family and her physicians. I think you'll understand that because of respect for Belinda's privacy, we refrained from offering specific details around her medical treatment," MacEachern said. It is unusual for a federal politician to travel outside Canada for private medical treatment, especially given the hallowed status of the Canadian, publicly financed health-care system in the realm of political debate.
Is it actually rare to do it, or is it just rare to admit it?

MacEachern stressed that Stronach's decision had nothing to do with her confidence – or lack of it – in Canada's cancer-treatment facilities or public health care.
Which makes me wonder why she didn't utilize them.

He pointed out that there is a cancer-care facility in Newmarket named after the Stronach family, after Frank Stronach donated $8 million toward its construction in 2004.
Which makes me really wonder why she didn't utilize them.

"In fact, Belinda thinks very highly of the Canadian health-care system, and uses it when needed for herself and her children, as do all Canadians. As well, her family has clearly demonstrated that support," MacEachern said.
Well of course! It's there and it's "free." Who wouldn't use it for sniffles, scrapes and minor emergencies?

"This was about a specific health-care procedure, unrelated to any views about the quality of Canadian health care, a decision based on medical advice and a referral from her Toronto physicians, and just one part of several areas of treatment. Belinda has nothing but praise for the community of health-care professionals in Toronto who supported and treated her throughout the last six months."
Here I call "bullshit!" It was absolutely related to "views about the quality of Canadian health-care." It was about the ability to get superior quality care in America since she could afford it, because the American medical system allows for innovation, experimentation, and advancements that government-run heathcare systems do not.

MacEachern did not want to answer questions in detail about the type of surgery, what she paid for it or where exactly it was performed in California.He did say, however, that Stronach underwent the operation in June, roughly around the time she would have had the procedure had she remained in Canada.
How "roughly"? I really want to know. And would it have been the same procedure, or something different?

The Canadian Cancer Society also says it is impossible to determine how many citizens of this country travel each year to the United States for private cancer treatment, since records are only kept if they apply in some way for compensation.
There's a fascinating tidbit of information I was not aware of.

Similarly, the U.S. Cancer Society says it is impossible to calculate, even roughly, how much Stronach paid for her treatment in California, since costs vary so much from state to state and even within cities.
The costs vary here because of the law of supply and demand. Those with far better procedures and reputations have far higher demands, and can (and do) charge more. Those who can afford it, pay it. Those who cannot must choose other options. This is "unfair." But it beats, IMHO being told you will go to this doctor, you will have this procedure, your appointment is six months in the future, and you have no other option available to you - which is what most socialized medicine systems eventually devolve into once they discover that attempting to centrally control health care (or pretty much anything) is a failing game. Health care is not a "right." If you doubt that, then explain why Britain's Tory party wants to deny health care to people who live "unhealthy lifestyles"? It would appear that their recommendations are already being implemented.” ]

***
We’re now in the middle of an election campaign for the Oct.10, 2007 Ontario provincial election. Healthcare policies, funding, and delivery by the state-run monopoly is largely the sole responsibility of the provincial government. Healthcare is the single costliest provincial government ministry, eating up roughly $38 billion tax dollars this year; yet citizens are being forced to shuffle off to Buffalo and beyond for their healthcare needs which Ontario’s Liberal-run health system cannot provide at home. And the governing Liberals don’t want to debate healthcare reform. Let’s remember what Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty himself said - he stands against the dreaded “Americanization” of our healthcare system! He panders this rhetoric, this kind of politically-convenient bogeyman even though, try as they might, the left can’t help but now see that our so-called universal socialized health monopoly is failing those very people it was meant to help! When even a Canadian with such a high profile as Ms. Stronach (who was once seen as a potential prime minister of this country) chooses to leave Canada because she couldn’t get treated here by our much-vaunted health monopoly, then something is very wrong.
Why is Ontario’s health minister, George Smitherman, who’s now running for re-election, not being held accountable for his health-scare system’s hypocritical failings? How long do Smitherman and his Liberals think they can prolong their dirty little secret, that Ontario is using(abusing?) the States as our unofficial medical-outsourcing safety-valve? How much longer will the Liberals continue to brag about their so-called ‘healthcare accomplishments’, while at the same time sneering at and contemptuously deriding that very same American system which Canadians are forced to turn to? Maybe such great fonts of knowledge like Michael Moore can explain, in his next mock-umentary, why the grass is greener on the other side; why, if Canada’s sicko socialized health-system is so good, many Canadians are fleeing to the States to obtain their treatment; why banning an individual patient’s consumer choice in healthcare is a cause-celebre for the left on both sides of our border?

Liberal MP flees Canada for cancer care in California

CTV.ca News (Sept.14, 2007) reported:

Liberal MP Belinda Stronach, who is battling breast cancer, travelled to California last June for an operation that was recommended as part of her treatment, says a report.
Stronach's spokesman, Greg MacEachern, told the Toronto Star that the MP for Newmarket-Aurora had a "later-stage" operation in the U.S. after a Toronto doctor referred her.
"Belinda had one of her later-stage operations in California, after referral from her personal physicians in Toronto. Prior to this, Belinda had surgery and treatment in Toronto, and continues to receive follow-up treatment there," said MacEachern.
He said speed was not the reason why she went to California.
Instead, MacEachern said the decision was made because the U.S. hospital was the best place to have it done due to the type of surgery required…"In fact, Belinda thinks very highly of the Canadian health-care system, and uses it when needed for herself and her children, as do all Canadians. As well, her family has clearly demonstrated that support," MacEachern told the Star.
MacEachern did not offer any other details regarding what type of surgery Stronach had or what she paid for it.

Again we see an example of the Canadian system failing an individual citizen. Why wasn’t the treatment for Stronach - or any other Ontario citizen, for that matter - available in Ontario, or Canada?
Was it deemed "experimental" under OHIP's rules? And, if her treatment was recommended by a Canadian doctor, yet the “best place to have it done” was not in Canada, but in California (for reasons no-one - especially no Liberal - has made clear) then why should Stronach, as a Canadian citizen, have to pay for this treatment?
Is her unspecified treatment not covered by OHIP?
Do other Canadians with these same symptoms have access to this same treatment? Will they be sent to California, or will they simply have to settle for our second-rate 'one-tier' monopoly?
It’s sadly ironic that her spokesman claims Stronach “thinks very highly of the Canadian healthcare system”. Well, don’t we all, in theory - until we realize that for many Canadians, this means being outsourced to the States for treatment unavailable here in Canada. (Golly, don’t tell Michael Moore about that)

Here we are, in the middle of the 2007 Ontario election campaign, yet Liberal health minister George Smitherman ignores this further example of the duplicity of his fabled one-tier socialized-medicine health system.
If high-profile citizens/politicians like Stronach are forced to leave Canada (as apparently, this was not a 'wait-time' issue) for the States (due to the availability of their advanced technology), what are the rest of us getting from Smitherman’s system?
Ontarians are forced to go to the States because Ontario’s much-vaunted health-system can’t keep its promises, and because we have no alternatives to the tyranny of state-run monopoly health-care.
As many Ontarians are forced to shuffle off to Buffalo and beyond, to obtain their healthcare, Smitherman refuses to allow U.S. operators to bring their expertise to us; or to allow us to buy health insurance to ameliorate our options should his health monopoly, as it so often does, fail to deliver timely treatment.
Maybe to reinforce to all Canadians how much of a disaster Tommy Douglas's health-scare system has become, Smitherman will next, along with his other bans, also make it illegal for Ontarians to cross the border to get the healthcare his system is depriving them in Canada.
That'll show 'em, won't it!?
And if patients, like Stronach, who must go to the States for treatment say they chose to pay for their treatment because, magnanimously, they didn't want to be a 'burden to the system'  -- well , why can't others do that as well??
And, why then, would Ontarians have to do so by leaving their country??
Why can't we achieve this level of treatment options in Ontario?
Why maintain this glorious lie of universal healthcare when we're regularly seeing its glaring failures?
And, yet, some still see this as a triumph of Canadian healthcare!

Why is 'healthcare' not Liberal Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty’s top campaign priority? He’s claiming that school funding is his defining issue in this election! McGuinty’s credibility is demonstrated by all his broken promises made since 2003, when, for example, he famously promised to hire “8000 nurses”, which he could not provide; in 2007, he’s astoundingly promising “9000 nurses” more if he's elected again! He’s promised to hire more than he failed to deliver last time around! How can we trust anything this premier says?
Health care reform should be the Ontario government’s top priority.

Some comments posted on CTV’s website (Sept.14, 2007) regarding the Stronach story were:

Jim: “Sure, she should get her treatment where she can if she is able to pay for it. The story here isn't about those who get treatment in the states. It's about a liberal politician that is part of a political party that espoused the Canadian public system and vowed to ensure that no private health care was ever going to usurp the current system. She is an MP for the party that relentlessly attacked the conservatives for their "hidden agenda" to privatize health care.The irony and hypocrisy is the story here. The rich get health care, the rest of use wait in line. All because of liberal fearmongering that does not allow for a real debate on the state of the health care system in Canada.”

Joe: "She joins a lengthy list of Canadians, including politicians who go to the United States to get treated. Unfortunately, the mythology that state run medicine is superior to that of the private sector, takes precedent over the health of the individual Canadian.Best wishes Belinda.”

Paul: "People are commenting 'if I had money'. Well, if you do not have money in the state, you don't even get a basic treatment. Those people who aren't covered with insurance, there is no triple bypass surgery without money. Never hear of "Yes, $100,000 US$ please." How many of the readers know people who only has provincial health care coverage? I know many. Imagine if it were private health care only system...these people would be doomed.What if your kids just graduated living away from you, who is not under your employer coverage, require hospital stay. You'll be selling off your RRSP, borrowing money, etc. Canadian system is pretty good for the amount of taxes we pay. I personally think taxes for people who makes over $200,000 should be increased. Some may say discourage them to work harder - look at other way, it'll give opportunity to people who makes less to 'part' of the high income earner's job.”

Richard Etienne: "Paul writes: "...in the state, you don't even get a basic treatment." If he means "in the States," he's wrong. One reason insurance costs so much is that nobody can be turned away for health care whether they can pay or not, so Americans with insurance pick up the tab for those who don't have any - illegals, people using the emergency room as primary care, etc.Then he writes: "Canadian system is pretty good for the amount of taxes we pay." I couldn't disagree more. I had to take my father to Cleveland for a hip replacement because he couldn't get it done here after 14 months of waiting. I had to go to the States to get a bone rebroken and reset after our system screwed it up and told me it'd be months to get it fixed. I have paid into the system for years, and it's never there when I need it.Lastly, he writes: "I personally think taxes for people who makes over $200,000 should be increased. Some may say discourage them to work harder - look at other way, it'll give opportunity to people who makes less to 'part' of the high income earner's job." I make over $200,000 but I also work 70 hours a week. I don't think people who make less are entitled to my money, and if my taxes were to increase I'd go back to a 35-hour work week and make a lot less. It just isn't worth it.”

Jeff D: "Paul - you missed the whole point! If my money is good in the US, why isn't it good in Canada? Hopefully one day the Liberals and NDP will get off the soap box and Canadians will have the opportunity to spend their after tax dollars on whatever they choose to - including additional health care, if that's what we want to do!”

Dan: "I am all for private health care inside Canada. I'm just outraged at the naked hypocrisy of this ex-politician who preached against "two-tier" embracing it when the chips are down. Private health care in Canada now!”

chk: "Belinda Stronach: The new face of the two-tiered health care system. I'm all for the two-tiered health care system - I've seen it work in Minnesota. However, as a "politician" you'd think she'd be more mindful and supportive of the health care system her party promotes. Did she also check out the homecare and palliative programs while in California? Heaven forbid she should have to endure the same delays and waiting lists that other Canadians with cancer have to put up with. Lead by example Belinda!”

Manual: "I see a lot of people on here arguing that we should leave Ms. Stronach alone, and that what she chooses to do with her own money is her own business. I agree 100% - however ordainary Canadians cannot afford to travel to the United states for faster, better hospital care and our current government-run health care monopoly denies Canadians the right to access private medical services which could possibly save their lives. We should not condemn her for looking after her health - we should condemn her for towing her party's line that no Canadian should have the right to look after their own health care, with their own money, while doing just that. Let all Canadians have the right to look after their health as they see fit.”

Mike: "She is just one of many politicians who whine about private medical care then when they are in need - guess what - there they go. Another Liberal MP caught living a double standard. There is nothing wrong with private medical care as long as they stop bashing it and being hypocritical about it.”

Vince M.: "This, in the end, is not a story about Belinda. it is a story about hypocrisy of the Liberals. The hypocrisy of (when some political gain can be made of it) defending a health system that doesn't work then going elsewhere when the chips are down.I wish you well Belinda, but it would be nice to be able to wish the same to all the other cancer sufferers that can't afford to go to the US for treatment. No matter how it is worded we are saddled with a system YOU think is good enough for the rest of us, just not good enough for you."

* * *
Canada's destructive Liberals will continue to downplay and sneer at these kinds of comments as anecdotal, dismissing them as anomalies; as ‘temporary bumps in the road’, which only need to be paved with more government cash to fulfill their promise. There is something wrong here.

This reminds me of  F. Scott Fitzgerald’s closing line in his masterpiece tragedy The Great Gatsby: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
*

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Moscow Battle: How Hitler almost beat Stalin

Stalin's Tipping Point: The battle for Moscow - the biggest, bloodiest clash in human history - helped turn the tide against Hitler. But the Soviet leader came closer than most realize to defeat.

By Andrew Nagorski, Newsweek magazine New York, New York, Monday, September 10, 2007. From: “Action Ukraine Report

By mid-October 1941, most of Moscow's residents were convinced that their city was about to be overrun by the Germans. The NKVD, as the Soviet secret police was then called, had prepared the first of what promised to be a series of pamphlets. "Comrades! We left Moscow due to the continuous attacks of the Germans," it declared. "But it's not the right time for us to weep." The "Underground Party Committee" that signed the statement vowed that Moscow would be liberated. Since the city held out in the end, this admission of defeat was ultimately buried in the NKVD's classified files rather than distributed. In fact, much of the story of how close Moscow came to falling-a defeat that would likely have transformed the course of the war-has been obscured by decades of deliberately distorted history. Now it's a story that can be told. The battle for Moscow, which officially lasted from Sept. 30, 1941, to April 20, 1942, pitted two gargantuan armies against each other in what was the greatest clash of arms in human history. Seven million men were involved in some stage of this struggle-twice the number who would later fight at Stalingrad, which most people erroneously believe was the bloodiest battle of World War II. The losses were more than twice that of Stalingrad; during the battle for Moscow, 2.5 million were killed, missing, taken prisoner or severely wounded, with 1.9 million of those losses on the Soviet side. For the first time a Hitler blitzkrieg was stopped, shattering his dream of a swift victory over the Soviet Union. The defeat was also the first signal that Germany would lose the war. As Fabian von Schlabrendorff, a German officer who later joined the conspiracy against Hitler, explained, it destroyed "the myth of the invincibility of the German soldier." And yet the battle for Moscow is now largely forgotten. This is no accident. Any honest account of the battle for Moscow would undermine the Soviet story line of "The Great Patriotic War." Those sanitized versions, now reinforced in the era of President Vladimir Putin, portray Joseph Stalin as a military genius and his people as heroically united against the German invader. (It's no coincidence that Stalin's reputation plummets when there's a period of liberalization in Russia and rises when there's a new clampdown.) But it was Stalin's blunders, incompetence and brutality that made it possible for German troops to approach the outskirts of Moscow-and to kill or capture so many Soviet troops along the way. Boris Vidensky was a cadet at the Podolsk Military Academy when the warstarted and was one of the lucky few of his class who survived when they were thrown, thoroughly unprepared, against the advancing Germans. He went on to become a senior researcher at the Military History Institute in Moscow. In retirement, he recounted that after the war, Marshal Georgy Zhukov, the legendary Red Army commander, ordered his deputy to roughly calculate the losses of his troops near Moscow. When the deputy showed him the number he came up with, Zhukov quickly barked out an order: "Hide it and don't show it to anybody!" It wasn't just the human toll that was embarrassing; after all, Stalin always considered his soldiers-and anyone else-to be expendable. He never flinched at sending millions to their deaths. More unsettling was that fact that, while some troops fought heroically from the start, hundreds of thousands surrendered to the enemy at the moment of the country's greatest peril. And many civilians panicked, engaging in looting and other forms of lawlessness that were normally unthinkable in Stalin's police state. No wonder that Soviet histories preferred to move on quickly to talk about other battles. Those Muscovites who remember Oct. 16, 1941, the day when everyone assumed the Germans were about to arrive, still speak about it with a sense of astonishment. Dmitry Safonov, who was working at an artillery factory near Moscow that was to be evacuated to the Urals, had returned that day to pick up some belongings. "All of Moscow seemed to be streaming out somewhere," he recalled. Cars and trucks were loaded down with personal belongings, and at the railroad station Safonov saw suit-cases, bags, clothes, lamps, even a piano, all abandoned by those who were trying to board anything that was moving out. The train platforms were jammed with people. "I hardly recognized the city," he said. Looters attacked food stores, factory workers went on strike, and angry crowds blocked those who were trying to flee in cars, pulling them out,beating and robbing them. Other residents tore down their posters of Marx and Lenin, stuffing them and other communist propaganda into garbage bins outside. That would have been an unspeakable crime before, but no one was enforcing the old rules. Thick black smoke arose from the chimneys of the Lubyanka, the NKVD headquarters, as the secret police hastilyburned their files. Much of the Soviet government, along with foreign diplomats and journalists, had just been evacuated by rail to Kuibyshev, theVolga city about 600 miles away that was supposed to serve as the new base for the government once the capital fell. And Stalin was expected to join them within a day or two. A special train was already waiting at the station, along with his personal Douglas DC-3 and three other planes in case he had to make an even hastier exit. Stalin's policies and gross miscalculations had led to this near disaster. His wholesale purges of the Red Army in 1937 and 1938 deprived the military of many of its most experienced officers. Among the first victims: Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky, the aristocrat turned Red Army commander who had predicted that Germany could attack without warning and that the result would be a long, costly conflict. "What are you trying to do-frighten Soviet authority?" Stalin demanded. The Soviet dictator then had him tortured and executed for allegedly plotting a coup with the help of German fascists. Thousands of other senior officers met a similar fate. After he made common cause with Hitler by agreeing to the Soviet-Nazi non aggression pact of Aug. 23, 1939, Stalin refused to heed countlesswarnings from his own spies and Western governments that the Germans were about to invade. He did not allow his military leaders to put their men on alert, which led to the initial string of German victories. The invaders killed or captured huge numbers of Red Army troops, and seized weapons caches that had been left near the border area. As a result, many Soviet troops were sent into battle without guns. Ilya Druzhnikov, a book illustrator dispatched to the front, recalled that there was only one rifle available for every 10 men in his unit. This meant that unarmed soldiers trailed each armed man, waiting for him to fall so that one of them could pick up his weapon. Stalin was ultimately saved by Hitler's even bigger blunders. The German dictator sent his armies into Russia in late June 1941 without winter clothing: the Fuhrer was convinced they would triumph before the weather turned. By mid-July, the Germans had advanced to the Smolensk region, and Hitler's generals, like the panzer commander Heinz Guderian, wanted to keep driving due east to Moscow, only about 230 miles away. HITLER: TURN SOUTH AND TAKE UKRAINE FIRST. But Hitler ordered them to turn south and take the Ukraine first. They did, losing precious time in the process. Once "Operation Typhoon" was launched against Moscow on Sept. 30, the roads quickly turned to mud during the rainy season and then the temperatures began plummeting. Wrapping themselves in anything they could steal from the civilian population, the Germans still froze-and their bodies were often left stacked like firewood since they couldn't be buried till spring. Soviet resistance noticeably stiffened. Hitler's insistence on launching an immediate reign of terror in the occupied Soviet territories and the merciless treatment of Soviet POWs, most of whom perished, proved a boon to Stalin's efforts to rally his troops. But he wasn't taking any chances. "Blocking units" were set up behind Red Army lines with orders to machine-gun any soldiers who tried to retreat. The delay of the German drive to Moscow also provided Stalin with time to redeploy about 400,000 troops stationed in Siberia, once he became convinced Japan wouldn't attack from the east. These troops, equipped with full winter gear, soon began to score victories against the overextended, exhausted, freezing Germans. On Oct. 16, the worst day of the panic in Moscow, Stalin was not yetconfident of such an outcome. An Air Force officer saw him sitting at his desk asking himself again and again, "What shall we do? What shall we do?" Two days later, the Soviet leader went to the station where his special train was waiting. As Pavel Saprykin, who was part of the work detail that prepared the train, recalled in his old age, he saw Stalin walk up to his carriage, then pace the platform beside it. But he didn't board it. Instead, he left the station. It proved a fateful decision, signaling that all was not lost. Vowing to remain in Moscow, Stalin suddenly took charge again, reverting to the tactic he had always relied on-brute force. He declared martial law on Oct. 19, and NKVD units were ordered to shoot looters along with almost anyone who looked suspicious. Surviving members of those patrols, such as Yevgeny Anufriyev, are cautious in describing what they actually did. "We had an amazing order to shoot spies and deserters on the spot," he said. "But we didn't know how to figure out who was a spy." However many Muscovites were shot, the looting and the unrest stopped. But the memories of the breakdown of law and order, and how close Moscow came to falling, remain sensitive to this day. Stalin's mistakes were never mentioned in the official histories. Nor do those accounts admit that if it weren't for Hitler's even greater mistakes, Stalin wouldn't have been able to save his capital-and, quite possibly, might never have prevailed in the larger struggle.

NOTE: "The Greatest Battle," a new release by NEWSWEEK International's Senior Editor Andrew Nagorski, provides a thorough account of this battle based on recently declassified Soviet documents.
LINK:http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20546330/site/newsweek/
Source: “ACTION UKRAINE REPORT - AUR", A Free, Private, Not-For-Profit, Independent, Public Service Newsletter

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Does the Jepp quad's U.S. birth show that Canada's healthcare runs like clockwork?

I liked Graham Muirhead’s cheeky idea in his Feedback post in the St. Catharines Standard (Sept.5 , 2007): It would be wonderful to have a fully equipped hospital on every corner in Canada! (I’d settle for even one fully-equipped, fully-functioning hospital in St. Catharines!)
Wasn’t that the shiny promise that conman Tommy Douglas peddled to us in the 1960’s? (Wasn’t that coincidentally the decade when St. Catharines last saw a hospital built?)

It’s hard to take seriously Muirhead's strained position that sending Ontario patients to the States shows that our superior system runs like clockwork. What propaganda. What it shows is that the clock is behind the times and needs repair.
Canadians pay enough taxes to expect the best healthcare system, but what we get is rhetoric and promises and wait lists (on this topic, also see Greg Weston's story "Medicare's not free" in the Sept.14, 2004 Toronto Sun, pg.19)
What we get in Ontario's single-payer monopoly is a status-quo “with insufficient equipment, space and expertise” - which is somehow perceived by leftist propagandists to be a success.

If, for example, we’re satisfied with one patient being shuffled off to Buffalo because Ontario’s much-vaunted system failed... (yes, failed; how else can you see it? Why else would we send them? Why else would they go?!) ...to provide timely medical services, then why not advocate simply taking the next step and outsourcing most or all medical services to the States?
Let’s not pretend we can buy our way out of our own responsibilities by outsourcing to the country whose system the lib-left loves to deride. The straw-man of “bankruptcy” is countered with the fact that it is OHIP’s monopoly which sets the stage for these instances to develop. What choice is there for individuals to opt out of OHIP’s clutches and OHIP’s “solutions”? None!

We’ve seen what the OHIP bureaucracy, along with its political masters, can do to patients in Ontario - as was revealed by Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin's investigation of the Suzanne Aucoin situation.
And whether it’s the Jepp quad’s case in Alberta, or any other instance, the cost is not 'free'.

Ontario’s healthcare budget represents somewhere in the range of 45% of  Ontario's entire provincial budget.
Would we see improvement if our healthcare monopoly’s budget doubled to, say, 90% of our entire budget? How much is enough? And what would we be willing to forego in lieu? I believe that being at the mercy of a government monopoly making all the decisions is not the best option for patients, or taxpayers.

Dr. W. Gifford-Jones wrote in the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix (Jun.2, 2007) about an Ontario man’s torturous ordeal after he suffered third-degree burns, and his doctor, Glenn Gibson, could not find any burn facilities in Ontario to take him to. (see Burned by Ontario's health system, patients flown to United States for treatment)

Wrote Gifford-Jones: “Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto had five burn units - but no staff to service them, so Dr. Gibson turned to the U.S.”
"NO STAFF"???! How is this even possible in Ontario, a province with nearly 13 million people?

After unreal delays... (which honestly one has to read the full story - see: No burn unit staff in Ontario: patient flown to States - to believe it, because you’d think this can’t be happening in 2007 in Ontario) ...the patient was flown, without paramedics, and through the heroic efforts of Dr. Gibson, to Strong Medical centre in Rochester, N.Y., at which point, OHIP demanded he be flown back from Rochester to Canada, as apparently, they didn’t want to pay for skin-grafts there! So, after four days, the patient was sent back to Ontario to get the treatment which Ontario's Liberal government should have been able to provide him within hours of his accident, in the first place.

Shall we proudly portray this too as a 'Muirheaded' triumph of Ontario’s healthcare system?!

Does the suffering of patients mean anything to a government monopoly? Or is this just ‘anecdotal’ evidence of a flawed health system?
For good measure, the Peterborough Examiner reported on Aug. 21, 2007 that another burn victim was sent from Ontario to Rochester, for treatment that our $38 billion health monopoly couldn’t seem to be able provide.

What is Ontario's burn treatment capacity should a busload of people get burned and need immediate care?

By the way, an Ontario election’s coming up. Why don’t we get some answers from the Liberal scoundrels running for re-election? Handing another five-year mandate to the McGuinty crew who deride the American system while utilizing it to prop up their own broken promises will create a code blue for all Ontario patients. We can do better.
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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Jepps: triumph of Canada's health system, or America's?

Re: St. Catharines Standard (Sept.4, 2007, pg.B8) article: “Quad’s birth triggers U.S. questions on ‘flawed’ health system in Canada”. (story also appears, in a longer version: “Americans question Canada’s health system” on Canoe News, Sept.1, 2007)

In this Canadian Press story reporter Bill Graveland wrote: “The precious gift of American citizenship comes to the Jepp quads because there were no hospital facilities anywhere in Canada able to handle four neonatal intensive care babies,” writes Blue Zeus in another entry.” But the way Graveland’s story is written, it gives the impression that this quote is from the anonymous “Blue Zeus” , when in fact, the quote was written by Thomas Lifson, the editor of American Thinker, and was posted by Lifson on Aug.17, 2007, two days before Zeus’ entry. (Zeus does provide a link to American Thinker)

In any event, the Jepp’s U.S. birth does represent an ever palpable pattern revealing the myths of the superiority of Canadian medicare. Let’s not pretend that only Americans are looking askance at the failure of Alberta’s fabled universal health system to provide for their birth in Canada. The Calgary Herald reported Aug. 17, 2007 that five women have been transferred this year south of the border because of neonatal shortages in Calgary. And then to read some Calgary Health Region official say that American critics “don’t have all the facts and information” is laughably outrageous. After “exhausting the options”, what answer is there BUT that Canada’s single-payer system, as practised in Alberta, failed to deliver the Jepps (so to speak) in their own country; failed them when they needed it most! When healthcare rhetoric met healthcare reality, universality’s fa├žade crumbled. The symbiotic nature of the Canada/U.S. healthcare systems cannot be ignored. Thankfully the States are there as Canada’s back-up system when our socialized health system can’t deliver. Michael Moore left that little inconvenient truth out of his crockumentary, Sicko.

And let’s not forget the story here, right in Niagara, in the St. Catharines Standard (“Hospital backlog forces twins’ cross-border birth”, Feb. 18, 2006), which told of the Coote twins being born in Buffalo because in Liberal Health Minister George Smitherman’s Ontario, there were NO hospitals available to accept their expectant mother. To this day, I don’t recall local St. Catharines Liberal Jim Bradley, or Smitherman (both of whom desire to be re-elected) giving any explanations for why that occurred on their watch.

They want us to believe that these are obscure and anecdotal incidents.

Burned by Ontario's health system, patients flown to United States for treatment

I’m writing to express my concerns regarding two more recent healthcare related incidents reported in the press. Both have to do with Ontario patients being sent to Rochester N.Y. for emergency burn treatment.

The first story is regarding an article by Dr. W. Gifford-Jones titled “Dr. Gibson deserving of medal” (Saskatoon Phoenix-Star, June 2, 2007):


This story (...see my link at the very bottom of this post for the full article...) by Dr. Gifford-Jones tells volumes about the sorry state Ontario’s health system is in today.
The difficulties encountered by Campbellford Hospital's Dr. Glenn Gibson in getting timely treatment for third-degree burn victim Charlie Godden of Campbellford were astounding.
Incredibly, in George Smitherman’s Liberal healthcare system, there were no burn trauma units available anywhere in Ontario. “Sunnybrook hospital in Toronto had five burn units, but no staff to service them, so Dr. Gibson turned to the U.S.”, wrote Gifford-Jones.
He detailed all the problems Dr. Gibson encountered with the air ambulance and its crew, then having to arrange an airplane flight instead, in order to fly across Lake Ontario to Rochester, New York, only to find that it would have no paramedics or necessary ventilation equipment on board, forcing the doctor to “keep his patient alive by hand ventilation”.
Also, the doctor had no passport ready for this unexpected journey, and was worried about that. Gifford-Jones wrote that several hours into this ordeal, “Godden’s temperature by this time had dropped due to shock and the low temperature of the airplane.
Doctors at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester N.Y. were amazed Dr. Gibson had been able to keep him alive.
Unbelievably, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) then insisted that Godden be returned to Canada for treatment, but the Strong doctors refused to move him until he had been stabilized. Then the Strong doctors had to “debate” with OHIP about who was to do the immediately-necessary skin graft – so, after three days, Godden was to be sent back to Sunnybrook, because “economics won”, as Gifford-Jones said.
(But really, did “economics” win, or, did the patient lose?)
The helicopter that was supposed to take Godden back across Lake Ontario to Canada was too large to land at Sunnybrook Hospital, so another one had to be found. And despite the fact that the ventilator on board this one was broken, it was decided that Godden would survive the flight back home to Canada. “Rochester physicians were so shocked at this decision, possibly a life-or-death one, that they loaned the plane a ventilator. Once again, thanks to our generous U.S. friends.”
Godden, after all of this pain and suffering, finally received his skin grafts “four days after the Campbellford accident, rather than the normal few hours”.
Will single-payer-pushing-hack George Smitherman be held accountable for this abject failure of his socialist, no-choice Ontario healthcare system?
Where were Ontario’s burn unit staff?
Second - Re: news item “Burned man in hospital” (Peterborough Examiner, Osprey News, August 21, 2007):
This story reported that a Peterborough, Ontario area man was also airlifted to New York State, to Rochester's Strong Hospital burn unit, with life-threatening third-degree burns.

Liberal health minister George Smitherman has constantly derided the U.S. healthcare system, but keeps sending Ontarians to the States for treatment which his single-payer medicare Nirvana can’t provide citizens at home.
Why are we sending patients to the States?
Why are facilities in Ontario, which last year cost some $38 billion to run, not available to patients? Why should patients be suffering for Smitherman?
How much more of this Liberal treachery can we take?
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See more on the Charlie Godden story here)
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Sunday, September 2, 2007

Ontario Liberals loathe to axe their own tax.

A headline in the St. Catharines Standard (Aug. 30, 2007) read: “Axing health premium will result in service cuts, Smitherman says”.
Why are we still seeing McGuinty’s health tax being commonly referred to as a “premium”?
Not long ago, the St. Catharines Standard (Feb.16, 2007) wrote: “After 3½ years of broken promises not to raise taxes, to balance the budget, and to close coal fired power plants, McGuinty agreed his own credibility will be an issue leading up to the October election.” The Standard quoted the Liberal premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, saying:

I don’t expect to get a free ride from my opponents. I raised the health tax. I didn’t do that to raise my popularity. I did that because I needed more money for health care.

So if Dalton McGuinty himself has openly admitted: “I raised the health tax”, why does his devious health minister, George Smitherman, still pretend that it is something other than what it was – a massive, unprecedented, and unwarranted tax grab by Ontario’s Liberal government?
McGuinty’s flimsy excuse back then that he “needed more money” is now clearly seen in context today as his Liberals have amassed a near $3 billion dollar budget surplus.
The Standard also reported (Aug.30, 2007) that while in Niagara Falls, Smitherman “was careful not to make commitments when questioned about local health issues by reporters.”
In Smitherman’s mind, Ontario’s health care system is theoretically just dandy! This Liberal doesn’t need to be pestered with insignificant local questions which might expose his pretensions and undermine his credibility!
Hopefully, these Liberals will not get a free ride this election, and will pay at the polls.
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