Skip to comments.Where is the political accounting in Canada?
Posted on 11/22/2003 6:27:42 AM PST by knighthawk
TORONTO - These have been 10 glorious days for Canadian socialism. In Ontario, they pulled off the trifecta: endless Liberals in Ottawa; Liberals at Queen's Park; NDP at City Hall. "The socialist Utopia has arrived!" -- as my anarcho party-boy Mr. Toronto ex-boyfriend wrote, or something like that (the message makes me so cross I can't read it again). There is simply going to be no one left to blame, though head offices had better watch out. Anti-corporate sentiment in downtown Toronto is so coruscating one would not wonder if the Royal Bank picked up her gleaming gold skirts, (crinkling sounds) and moved to the 905 area code, just so she could feel among friends.
Not to mention that the new Ontario Premier, Dalton McGuinty, this week rescinded the last tax cuts of Ernie Eves's government, promised to raise the minimum wage and first day out, the new Mayor David Miller said property taxes must start sliding up. In a clutch of three, these boys have confidence.
Then in an almost deus ex machina move, Conrad Black drops into town to shill a 1,200-page biography, while in full financial meltdown. The most talked about man in Canadian business, felled on the very week that Canadian Socialism reigns triumphant! On the same day, Black's nemesis, Jean Chrétien, is sent to the showers! It's pure Tom Wolfe. It's more -- it's Greek. Canadian TV news is suddenly must-see television, with real swoops and ladders and actual CanCon, for which someone should get a grant. Mr. Black perhaps, since he is now a minority, someone actually being punished.
I'm taking bets that Ontario turns into Gray Davis's California in under four years. Everyone looks at me with owlish blinking eyes, when I say this, but I can't see any other future. The province's unions have been held back for 10 years and every single interest group will want their piece of the action, and the case will be made: To live in the most livable city, is that not worth a few more snips off your paycheque here and there? Hydro is expensive, especially clean hydro. Small- and medium-sized business will relocate. Others won't start. Disposable income, which fuels growth, will shrink. Inexorable decline will follow. This is such basic economics that it could be taught in kindergarten.
So, why can't we sue the government? Conrad Black can get sued. He can trace back through the minutes and procedures of his company, and say that payment was unauthorized, not properly accounted for, not strictly documented, so here, I will write you a cheque for $7,000,000. His major shareholder can say, "Gosh Darsh it Connie, whas all this fine living doin' for the little people?" And force him to resign from his various posts. He loses most of his money and all of his power. He has to go through expensive, boring and infinitely complex legal manoeuvres, possibly ending up in court, or courts in different countries, lasting years. People will mock him in more ways than we can yet dream.
Yet he must now account for a fraction of what Sheila Copps misspent in any of her years at Heritage, where she had discretion over a budget of $6-billion. While she can't be accused of taking money for herself, Sheila lived large, taking whole floors of hotels, travelling constantly and fruitlessly, not to mention the insane crapola she funded, while Canadians languished with substandard medical care. Have any of the other billion-dollar blow-outs of the past few Liberal years, the gun registry, the Jane Stewart, HRDC misplacement of $1-billion, had an impact on the lives of the sloppy and venal politician? Not in the slightest. Are they mobbed when they come to read their books? Are they punished? Are they humiliated? Do they pay any of it back? No, they're honoured, they give tearful speeches about how much they love Canada, especially its minorities, and are allowed to drift onto the backbench, their sins forgotten.
Why is it not possible to sue the government under the Canada Health Act for poor provider service? For agonizing suffering and for accessory to murder? In a private system, the threat of malpractice ensures careful service, but in our system there is no one to blame. Exhausted doctors and pathologists misdiagnose regularly. At the Hamilton Super Hospital (HHSC), doctors work 30 or 40 hour days. How'd you like a surgeon who has been up for 36 hours doing your angioplasty? People in New Brunswick this week were told they were shot up with dirty needles and might have HIV or Hep A or C. Ooops! Sorry!
Cost-cutting in health services has meant that the latest pharmaceuticals for cancer treatment are not available. My math is rough, but at $90-billion a year for 30 million citizens, that's about $3,000 a year per individual. In British Columbia, I pay another compulsory $600. In the States, that money would get me some very fancy Major Medical, private hospital, first class, cutting edge drugs and technology, no waiting. I'd get the whole great hoopla of U.S. medicine, that brings sick (and rich) acquaintances back from Seattle or New York, their health and spirits restored. I would get an MRI the day I needed it, instead of 120 days later. I would not have to wait 18 weeks for radiation therapy for breast cancer. I would not have to humiliate myself by trying to queue-jump to save my life.
The private market is efficient. Every other country, especially Sweden which all my idiot socialist friends cite with such fervour, has integrated the private sector into universal health care for that reason alone. Sweden has privatized all medical care, keeping public funding. South Africa has private insurance schemes. Britain contracts out operations to the private sector. Ditto Finland, Singapore, the Netherlands, Israel. Universal access is maintained.
Paul Martin and his provincial counterparts must follow. Immediately. Or like their predecessors, history will judge them for handing an entire generation of Canadians early death sentences. And that will be immutable.
You can't imagine how many people I know that point to Canada as the model for U.S. healthcare. The general public lacks an understanding of basic economic laws.
Sounds like a pretty safe bet.
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