Rex Murphy wrote in "The private life of Danny Williams" (National Post, Feb.5, 2010, here):
"Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland, had or is having major heart surgery in the United States.
I'm sure everyone wishes him and his family the very best with the operation.
His going to the U.S. has stirred a great volume of controversy and comment - almost as much, by informal measurement, as the prorogation of Parliament. Both here and in the U.S. Heavens, it's even been brought up in that Shangri-La of Socratic disinterest, FOX News' Bill O'Reilly show.
Not surprising, many might say. Danny Williams is a lightening rod of his own construction. He's aggressive, combative, partisan - and back home, largely without any real opposition. My own personal take on him, for what its worth, is that I admire the ferocity of his feelings for Newfoundland while I sometimes deplore the bullying and bluster it occasionally leads to.
But I see it as more than awkward that his surgery, and his choice - perhaps on the advice of his Newfoundland doctors - of where to have it, has become the great political football that it has. I've never been a fan of that wretched slogan "the personal is political" for the very obvious reason it demolishes the barrier that should - must - exist between our genuine private lives and the wide-open, reckless and supercharged arena of politics.
It's his heart, it's his surgery, and it's his choice. Danny Williams, Premier or no Premier, and his family are the only ones at this point who have any real say about where he chooses to have life-threatening surgery. Further, as most commentary admits, the actual facts upon which he made his choice, and the counsel he has received from his Newfoundland doctors is not known to us - nor, by the way, should it. So the river of commentary, both here and in the states, is taking place in a vacuum of fact.
A larger reason for refusing to politicize the moment however is a simple one: It parallels Trudeau's dictum that the state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation. Likewise, politics should stop at the edge of the operating table. It's his life and it's his business.
He hasn't, using his standing as Premier, jumped some queue, lined up an MRI by cutting off someone less connected, hasn't displaced some other Newfoundlander waiting for surgery. Something like that would make a genuine case for debate of condemnation.
So - the decent civil course would be to wait till the operation's done, wish him the best, wait for his recuperation - and if then, he wants to unfold his personal circumstances, and offer some thoughts on the "politics" of his choice, we can all hear him out.
But for now, leave him be. Politics, as I've said, should stop when the man in the white coat is reaching for the scalpel.
For The National, I'm Rex Murphy."
I think Rex Murphy misses a major point here: it isn't only about 'Danny Williams the person'; it's about THE IDEA which Canadian monopoly-pushing politicians - like Williams - represent.
It's about Williams as the political embodiment of an idea that is forced on us, but not good enough for him.
That's the point.
That was the point the day before Danny Williams revealed his intention to get surgery in the States; that's still the point now.
There's NO "vacuum of fact": Williams has become yet another Canadian goin' down the road to Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, etc. for healthcare. What we do have a "vacuum of" is honest healthcare debate - and that's a fact. Every politician is afraid to discuss the obvious private-parallel system that must be implemented to supersede Tommy Douglas' failed socialist construct.
Murphy's use of Trudeau's old 'state has no place in the bedroom' phrase in the context of this story is pointless here: single-payer health care is nothing BUT state involvement in your private affairs!!
Meddling in the healthcare choices of Canadians is WHAT THIS IS ALL ABOUT, REX!!
Sure, leave Williams alone, as Murphy pleads - but the ideology of the health-monopolists is beyond 'Williams, the person'; we should not stop demanding answers from all these single-tier-pushing despots across Canada.
William's situation simply highlights the hypocrisy of single-tier health care. Health care IS politicized in Canada. Let's not pretend otherwise.