Lorne Gunter wrote in "Leaving Canada's health care myths behind" (National Post, Dec.21, 2011):
I was reading a fascinating piece on Canadians’ newfound national confidence in Maclean’s on Monday when a story moved on the newswires reporting that six of 10 provinces are unhappy with federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s new health-care transfer plans. It may be a bit of a stretch, but I think the two are related.
The contrast between the two shows how ordinary Canadians have escaped the insularity and smugness that have driven our elites’ image of Canada for at least four decades. No longer do we find it necessary to define ourselves through comparison with other countries, notably the United States, or by constantly reassuring ourselves that being a “soft power” makes us morally and intellectually superior.
Nicholas Kohler’s Maclean’s article claims Canadians are among the most optimistic people in the world about the future of their nation; 86% of us believe Canada is the greatest country in the world, 87% that it is the best place in the world in which to raise kids.
In a way, that’s not surprising. Majorities in most countries like to think their nation is best. But what makes it remarkable is how our sanguinity stacks up against that of other countries’ residents. Just 61% of Americans think the United States is the best place to bring up children, while 50% of Brits believe Canada is a better place for families than the U.K.
And while just 42% us of believe Canada’s best days lie in the future, rather than the past, that is considerably higher than the 36% of Americans who believe the same. Fifty-eight percent of the British are convinced their glory days are gone.
This new pride has been emerging for a while, but I think it broke through in a big way at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010. Athletically, we nearly won the thing outright. But it was culturally where we truly shone. The performers at the opening and closing ceremonies, and at various venues, were all world-class and all Canadian. But they didn’t make a big deal about being Canadian. They let their talent do the boasting.
The street parties were hip, the organization second-to-none. And we, as hosts, were neither apologetic about our success nor sneering about how this showed our way of doing things is ethically purer. We simply welcomed the world in, offered guests as good a party as they would find anywhere, then joined them in the fun.
That’s the new Canadian spirit.
Now contrast that with the way six of 10 provincial finance ministers reacted to Mr. Flaherty’s plan to solidify federal health-care transfers through 2024. The federal Finance Minister announced Monday that the federal government would continue to increase its annual health-care transfers to the provinces by 6% a year until 2017. By that year, Ottawa will be shipping the provinces about $38-billion annually to help pay for doctors, nurses, hospitals and medical equipment. Thereafter, the increases would be tied to economic growth (currently about 4%), but will never fall below 3%, no matter how bad the economy gets.
Admittedly, Ottawa sprang this “deal” on provincial governments without warning. The current 10-year health funding arrangement runs out in 2014 and the provinces had expected to have until then to make their case for more money. Mr. Flaherty and the Harper government were eager to prevent a lot of drama and political grandstanding, so they short-circuited the process.
Manitoba NDP Finance Minister Stan Struthers whined: “This is not fair, it is un-Canadian.” His Ontario counterpart, Dwight Duncan, mewled that Ottawa’s plan “destabilizes the federation” and puts at risk “access to quality health care, from sea to sea to sea, in French and English.” (Funny. I thought the point of the health-care system was to make Canadians well, not to promote bilingualism.)
Clearly many of our politicians haven’t caught on to the new confidence and independence most ordinary Canadians are feeling. Having emerged from the shadow of the United States, we no longer feel the need to define ourselves as a nation by claiming our health care is morally superior to theirs.
Provincial politicians, though, seem mired in the notion that our single-payer system is sacred. The only solution they can imagine for its shortcomings is more money from Ottawa, when what is really needed is for them to move on. Take the cash Mr. Flaherty is offering, experiment with new delivery models, permit Canadians greater health care choice and get with the new national spirit.
In response to Gunter's above story, Linda Silas wrote "In defense of public health care" (Dec.23, 2011, National Post):
Re: Leaving Canada's Health-Care Myths Behind, Lorne Gunter, Dec. 21.
Lorne Gunter accuses provincial politicians of wanting to keep the single-payer health-care system for no particular reason. I am so tired of evidence-empty arguments calling for more corporate involvement in health care. Let's debate the merits of a single-payer public provider versus a parallel for-profit, based on fact and reason.
The national spirit that created medicare is one of a caring society, so that the sick and the poor do not have to worry that they will not get timely quality care because their health-care provider is working at the rich person's hospital.
Choice means fend for yourself and since when has that been our national spirit or even an option for those who want to see public policy based on research and evidence?
We're tired of an unaccountable Tommy Douglas recklessly staggering around Canada, killing patients at will, while forcing them into Silas's single-payer socialist nirvana. Silas isn't talking of 'public' health care, as the headline suggests, she is propagandizing about monopoly health care. Leftists like to use the term 'public', as it doesn't sound so authoritarian, though, of course, it is, seeing as it is being used as an euphemism for no-choice.
The public should be entitled to the health care of their choice.
Silas trots out the ole 'national spirit' canard (another example of Keith Martin's noted head-in-the-sand tactic) and can find no 'corporate reason' to show why Tommy Douglas' zombie killed some 40 C.diff patients in Niagara, despite all the phony promises, all the deceptive research, all the false assurances, all the incompetent unaccountability, in Niagara's 'poor people's' monopoly hospitals, run by monopolists Jim Bradley and Kim Craitor.
It's as if patients must first shove the Constitution and the Canada Health Act in front of the faces of these despotic agents of Tommy Douglas, for them to see that they have no right to force a statist health monopoly upon the public.
Choice does mean choice - but Silas has no idea of the concept: Silas' status-quo is despotism; is the demonization of choice; is the absence of choice; is forced dependence on the state, mandated by the state.
That's exactly what statist Liberals Jim Bradley and Kim Craitor want in Niagara, and exactly why - when their monopolist health charade goes haywire, and when they no can no longer slough off the blame on "harris" boogeymen, or on some fictitious 'privatization', or on some dreaded "Americanization" red-herring - they simply vanish with their rhetoric while Tommy's dead continue to pile up in Niagara.
Yeh... that's the ticket: Ole Tommy did it.
see also here; here