NDP Leader Jack Layton acknowledged yesterday he visited a private Ontario medical clinic to treat a hernia in the mid-1990s, but dismissed suggestions it undercut his credibility as a public critic of corporatized health care.
Mr. Layton said he would think twice before returning to the Shouldice clinic if he needed hernia treatment again.
"I think now I would question, because of the controversy about the growth of private health care . . . I would actually ask my doctor, 'Is it possible to do this any other way?' " he said. "At the time, everybody was going to Shouldice."
Mr. Layton said he didn't know it was a private clinic. "I frankly wasn't aware."
Shirley Douglas, the daughter of medicare pioneer Tommy Douglas, defended Mr. Layton's actions, saying the clinic existed before medicare began and was grandfathered when public health care was launched. "Shouldice clinic has been there for a long time."
Jack Layton might not have known that Shouldice Hernia Centre is a private clinic, but his doctor certainly did, as it's the world's leading clinic for hernia treatment and surgery. The most effective method of hernia surgery is called the Shouldice method for a reason, after all.
And why should Layton have denied himself the best treatment? Such suffering is neither noble nor necessary, and it's rather silly to claim solidarity for the principle of one-tier health care by stoically suffering the pain of a hernia.
Nice touch to have Shirley Douglas offer absolution on behalf of her late father, though.
Source: Globe and Mail