Sunday, December 04, 2005

Two Tier Without Tears

No sooner have I condemned Jack Layton for elevating ideology over compassion than I find myself having to eat my words:

Campaigning in Vancouver's Chinatown Sunday, NDP Leader Jack Layton said private clinics are a “fundamental aspect” of the health-care system founded by former Saskatchewan premier Tommy Douglas and not much can be done about them.

Mr. Layton says he wants to stop tax dollars from boosting the bottom lines of big health-care corporations.

“Our focus is to keep public health-care dollars going to public and non-profit facilities,” Mr. Layton told confused reporters. “What happens with people in the privacy of their own relationship financially, that's up to them.”

When pressed on the issue, he said private clinics have been around from the beginning.

“There is nothing new about that,” he said. “Our focus is on what happens to the public tax dollars that we all contribute to help take care of Canadians.

“We want them going to non-profit and public facilities and services.”

Until now, the furthest that any political leader would publicly venture from the received orthodoxy of the Canada Health Act was the suggestion that public funds might pay for services contracted out to private clinics.

In condemning this lesser heresy, Layton advocates the greater one: freedom of choice between parallel public and private systems.

Until the NDP invoked the holy name of Tommy Douglas to defend health care reform, the debate was between two strawmen. We could choose between a non-existent state monopoly used nowhere else outside the few remaining Communist dictatorships, or between an imaginary "American" purely private system that allegedly left the poor to die in the streets untreated.

With Layton's solemn proclamation of magister dixit, the truth may now be openly admitted, and real debate held.

SIDE NOTE: Unless, of course, Jack Layton was merely reassuring his audience that the NDP would still defend the one element of private health care that is sacrosanct to the left: abortion clinics. No leftist would ever dare touch the foundations of the new society of mandatory irresponsibility.

Source: Globe and Mail

1 comment:

MAW said...

There's no doubt the Liberals are desperate, but Hargrove pimpin' out the autoworkers just goes to show you the moribund NDP will be looking for a new leader soon too.
Cutting the GST was a master stroke, but talking above the fear and loathing created by the Liberals and NDP is reminicent of the Davis juggernaut, hitting the sweet spot just like a pro.
But most satisfying of all is the fear written all over Paul Martins face, no hiding the flesh sagging in defeat. Therefore, steady as she goes Stephen.