A cancer patient who was told he would be "lucky" to live another eight months says his constitutional rights were violated when he was forced to travel to England to obtain a life-saving liver transplant at a cost of almost $500,000.
Nearly six years later, lawyers will ask Ontario's Divisional Court this week to let them argue that Adolfo Flora's Charter rights were infringed when he had to choose between dying or the crushing financial burden of obtaining treatment overseas.
If lawyers are successful Friday, it will build on a previous legal challenge using the Charter of Rights and Freedoms against Canada's health-care system.
"It is intolerable in a civilized society that a man should be forced to choose between bankrupting his family in order to pay for life-saving treatment or facing certain death," Mr. Flora's constitutional lawyers, including Mark Freiman, say in their submissions.
The 56-year-old retired high-school teacher is fighting his case on two fronts: In addition to the constitutional argument, he is appealing a decision of the Health Services Appeal and Review Board, which refused to order the Ontario government to reimburse him for $447,000. (The board hears from Ontario patients trying to recoup costs for treatment received out of Canada.)
Mr. Flora is using the section of the Charter that guarantees the right to life, liberty and security of the person. Quebec physician Jacques Chaoulli used the same provision to argue successfully that prohibiting private health insurance jeopardizes the well-being of those who badly require medical treatment.
This man's story could form the basis of a home run negative ad for the Tories the way that the Willie Horton ad was for George Bush père in 1988. It gives the lie to the Liberals' claim to be champions of the Charter, and to their claims that the medicare monopoly is a sign of Canada's superior compassion.
He would be dead had he done his Canadian duty and waited in line.
His story had a happy ending; many others did not. Their stories need to be told, and the victims' faces shown, to illustrate a simple message: WE DIED TO DEFEND THE LIBERAL MEDICARE MONOPOLY.
Source: Globe and Mail