Thursday, June 09, 2005

Supreme Court Slaughters Sacred Cow

The Supreme Court of Canada has now graciously granted the Canadian people the right to have an honest debate about health care reform, now that it has decided that paying for private insurance for medicare-covered procedures does not violate the Charter.

From CBC :

In its ruling Thursday, the court said the provincial policy violates the Quebec charter, but they ruled it does not violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, meaning there is no immediate impact on the Canadian health-care system as a whole.

The two men had separate complaints, but the court decided to hear their court challenges together.

In 1996, Montreal businessman George Zeliotis waited a year for hip replacement surgery. While waiting, he asked whether he could purchase insurance that would allow him to skip the public queue and pay directly for the surgery.

When he learned it was against the law, he took his case to court.

Canadians can buy private health insurance for things outside of public medicare such as prescriptions, physiotherapy or private hospital rooms.

The 73-year-old Zeliotis argued the year-long wait for surgery was unreasonable, endangered his life and infringed on the charter's guarantee of right to life, liberty and security.

The second plaintiff, Dr. Jacques Chaoulli, wants the court to overturn a Quebec provision preventing doctors who don't operate within the medicare plan from charging for services in public hospitals.

Chaoulli, who had tried but failed to set up a private hospital, represented himself before the court.

The Liberals now have the perfect cover under which to steal health care reform as an issue from the Conservatives; they can distinguish Liberal health care reform as a defence of Charter/Canadian values from Conservative health care reform motivated by greed.

All hail the Supreme Court, infallible magisterium of the sacred Charter!

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