Arthur Milnes, research assistant to Brian Mulroney, has an amusing article in today’s Toronto Star about the curious lack of effort by either Stephen Harper or Michael Ignatieff to openly defend our healthcare system as his former boss did 20 years ago when he told the White House press corps: “We’re very proud of the special health-care system that we’ve developed over the years. It’s an integral part of our citizenship.”
Depending on who you listen to (and particularly if it’s coming from the American right), Canada’s medicare system is something Americans should fear. We are the land of socialized medicine where bureaucrats (imported from the Kremlin?) make the health-care decisions, or so the story goes.
So with all this going on, you’d think that either Harper or Ignatieff would consider hopping on a plane, heading to Washington and demonstrating they’ve learned from those pages in Mulroney’s book. […]
Without getting into the merits of the medical system (thankfully) bequeathed Canadians by Tommy Douglas, John Diefenbaker and Lester Pearson, you’d think the brain trusts surrounding the Prime Minister and Leader of the Official Opposition might consider lining up an appearance for their leaders in the States right about now.
For some inexplicable reason, however, that hasn’t been the case.
Last week, the polling and research firm EKOS published a survey demonstrating what good politics a foray by Ignatieff or Harper into
America to defend medicare might be right now.
While Canadians disagree on many things, we’re very much united over medicare. EKOS reports that 87 per cent of Canadians believe Canada’s health-care system is better than the one in the United States. Only 7 per cent prefer the American model.
“Whatever the pitfalls of Canada’s system, it is seen as dramatically better in serving the needs of its overall citizenry,” EKOS president Frank Graves says.
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a little fed up about turning on my television and seeing some guy (or gal) from Kentucky or a right-wing congressman safely protected by his congressional health plan attacking my country on this issue. Call me old-fashioned, but I think – especially in light of what EKOS has discovered – that many Canadians are like me and would enjoy seeing our Prime Minister or Leader of the Official Opposition defending our country in America during this health-care season.
And for the life of me, I simply can’t figure out why Harper or Ignatieff won’t seize the medicare moment – like Mulroney once did – and defend our nation’s most prized social program in America when it is under attack. (And for Harper, who many still believe harbours a hidden agenda that doesn’t include a fulsome belief in medicare, to pass this up really makes no sense).
I wouldn’t really expect anything of Harper in this regard as he would probably rather privatize the system if he possibly could, but what’s Ignatieff’s excuse?