Go Keith!

Nice to see that Dr. Martin has (finally!) got a decent website up and running, so I just wanted to give it a plug. Nicely executed for the most part and, oh look… it has a blog that actually works and takes comments. Imagine that!

For whatever it may be worth, I’ll be providing a little “better know your riding” profile on my bailiwick of Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca and a rundown of the candidates in due course, but in the meantime I’d encourage any voters in my specific neck of the woods to check out Keith’s new site (just click on the picture above) to find out more.

33 Replies to “Go Keith!”

  1. RT, do you know this guy personally? Asking because I read statements he made in the past, where he stated he believes a private system should be allowed to function alongside our public system.

    And whatever else he said, what I remember from it, was that his tone was dismissive and gave an attitude of ‘Canadians better just suck it up’. He really put me off. Has he had some miraculous change in attitude on healthcare?

  2. Carrie — No, I don’t know him personally.

    My understanding is that he maintains that there should be private healthcare options, or at least that we shouldn’t be completely averse to the concept. Without getting into the nitty-gritty of it, I’m inclined to agree with him. This is already the case in Britain and it doesn’t seem to have irredeemably undermined the NHS. The dogmatic position taken by politicians doling out pleasing rhetoric for public consumption is actually at odds with the reality of the situation.

  3. This is already the case in Britain and it doesn’t seem to have irredeemably undermined the NHS.

    It hasn’t been undermined because it’s never been very good. My niece is living in England now and she’s appalled at the tier of public health care delivery that’s reserved for her class. She’s opted for private whenever she can. And that’s the problem. Middle class people abandon the public system and eventually, support for it weakens.

    My problem with people who are pushing for private “alternatives” is that they’re free markerters…and seeing as how that’s working out, I don’t feel inclined to put any more trust in their solutions.

  4. Fair enough and I’m not saying I necessarily support it, but there’s a lot of uninformed, knee-jerk reactions to the very idea of privatization when in fact this is already taking place in the system. It’s a massively complex issue and I won’t presume to really know the first thing about it, my attitude is more one of being at least open to possible alternatives given that the present system leaves a lot to be desired.

    In any case, there are a number of positions that I don’t agree with Martin on, but he’s a tireless advocate for any number of local causes and initiatives and a proponent of the “rational” solution to our sewage treatment problem, a light-rail service to the Westshore, better utilization of the E&N and so on. His Conservative opponent is offering a highway overpass. Yippee! And the NDP guy… well, what can I say? A very congenial fellow, but utterly clueless.

  5. Not that any of this really matters, despite attempts by you, others, and your party at capitalizing on the gaffes. In fact, I think these “stories” are the cause of the recent rise in Tory support.

  6. Okay, so Trusty Tory has attention deficit disorder – what the hell does his comment have to do with health care?

    He wants to gloat….it ain’t over yet dude.

    Some experts from Britain were on Steve Paikin’s, The Agenda, last year telling Canadians NOT to follow their path…it isn’t working out well at all.

    I have no problem with “specialty” private clinics like Shouldice, that are paid with public funds. They specialise in hernias and this clinic was set up just after WWII for the veterans. Different levels, 2 tier is not a good idea.

  7. Two tier health care is the only way our Health Care system is going to survive. It must be nice living life with your head buried in the sand, but the sad fact is with the aging boomer population, revenues are bound to decrease. As a result, we will become more reliant on private health care in this country. Do you even know any nurses or doctors that you can actually ask? Or is your opinion based on ideology?

  8. IMO, two-tier is a reasonable alternative to full spectrum socialized medicine. TT touches on it from a tax load, carrying capacity perspective.

    More importantly, two-tier would dampen “demand” in the waiting rooms. People would think twice before rushing off to their local MD to have that hangnail looked at.

    Without ownership, there is no responsibility, as for any widget, so also for a service. A menial, out-of-pocket payment towards one’s own health would contribute towards such “ownerwship.” If it also served as a push/motive towards assuming responsibility at the front end, i.e. preventative medicine, then all the better.

  9. Do I know? Sure as hell do. I have friends in the medical field – a couple of nurses, a doctor, a pathologist, a hospital administrator. The biggest problem is a shortage of staff.

    You want to go the way of the US? Well, that’s working out well.

  10. Yeah, but the condition of “shortage of staff” i.e. supply, is a reflection of demand coming through the doors. If the demand is dampened via two-tier, then pressure on supply is eased. I know it’s much more complicated and convoluted than that, but the overall principle remains valid, I believe.

    BTW, two-tier is not exactly “going the way of the States.”

  11. I never said we should go the way of the US, my argument is simply in favour of private-public partnerships. Nobody seems to be worried about the future in this country, from EI to CPP, to Health Care. It’s all about living in the now. Quite frankly, I’m concerned that the boomers will dry everything up and the rest of us will be left to our own devices. There is a definite need for private partnership in order to make public Health Care work in this country. I also know doctors and nurses who are telling me the aging population is putting one heck of strain on the system, hence why wait times are through the roof. When my youngest son was born a month ago, they had people on stretchers lined up in the hallway, all of whom were over the age of 50.

    Look, I am for public health care, but we cannot sustain a strictly public system forever. We have to do something now.

  12. TT re “Quite frankly, I’m concerned that the boomers will dry everything up and the rest of us will be left to our own devices.”

    For the most part, I would suggest that has already happened. The senior years will likely bleed it dry.

    Pressure on the health care system is merely one facet. Leaving behind a real estate glut will translate into reduced market value, prices. That may not be such a bad thing, i.e. bring real estate values in line with McJob incomes…for those that are still held once this financial and economic firestorm has burnt its course.

  13. Red when you right something that Ti-guy disagrees with and Trusty Tory thinks is right wouldn’t you agree it’s time to reconsider? There is absolutely no place in health care for the Greedy private sector no matter how much fat boomers want to buy their way to the front of the line to get themselves new knee’s or hips or whatever body part they need to replace because the one they were born with no longer supports their tremendous girth.

  14. Carrie — Thanks. As I said, I’m inclined to agree with some of his thinking on that issue, but that’s all just hypothetical at this point. As an MP who understands the needs of the local community and is looking towards the infrastructure requirements of the future as well as the social needs of today (especially amongst those who tend to get lost or otherwise forgotten), we really couldn’t ask for a better representative in Ottawa imho. I’m actually proud to say that he’s my MP and that’s not such a bad thing…

  15. TT — Why did you feel the need to preface your comment with “Not that any of this really matters, despite attempts by you, others, and your party at capitalizing on the gaffes”?

    I realize that you like to paint with a broad brush, but you really should get your facts straight. I think I’ve mentioned the Ritz comment all of ONCE (I’m also not one of those demanding his resignation, by the way — quite the opposite) and the incident outside of Cannon’s campaign office was discussed yesterday with that being regarded as not much more than a dumb comment by a staffer (but with a more interesting back-story that hasn’t been explored). Am I missing something?

    I know think that all Liberals should, as you frequently put it “shut the fuck up” and just stand idly and quietly to one side while the grand parade of Harper’s imagined “big blue wave” washes over us sweeping the Dear Leader to a majority government and a new dynasty of righteous purity and all-around fantastic, super-terrific, boffo Tory goodness, but we’d be a little remiss if along the way we didn’t at the very least point out that the Emperor and his courtiers have no clothes, now wouldn’t we?

  16. Militant — Heh. Yes, you’d think some cognitive dissonance would be kicking in as a result of that, wouldn’t you?

    Look, first of all, I disagree with most of what TT has to say on lots of issues, but that doesn’t preclude our opinions from intersecting at points. In a similar fashion, I agree with most of what Ti-Guy has to say, but our opinions diverge on various issues as well. Such are the vicissitudes of being a moderate.

    I’m not advocating a “two tier healthcare” system, but I’m not averse to private solutions where they’re complementary to the public healthcare system. As the beneficiary of the latter in recent months, I can fully appreciate how wonderfully it can work in catastrophic situations like mine, but for many it simply isn’t addressing their needs.

  17. Not that any of this really matters, despite attempts by you, others, and your party at capitalizing on the gaffes

    May I say that is one of the silliest polls to point to.

    Here’s the margin of error.

    British Columbia battleground ridings 390 (+-5%)

    Ontario battleground ridings 420 (+-4.8%)

    Quebec battleground ridings 405 (+-4.9%)

    That’s a pretty big error. It means in Ontario and Quebec, it’s potentially a statistical dead-heat.

    The varation is probably large because of the small sample size. I notice that they don’t note them in the article. I found an earlier one which gives them as the following:

    “The B.C. and Quebec battleground ridings both have a sample size of 450 people and the margin of error is plus or minus 4.6 percentage points.
    The Ontario battleground ridings have a sample size of 480 people and the margin of error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. ”

    Okay, for the BC and Quebec, the poll is looking at 15 Quebec ridings and 10 BC…. so that breaksdown to polling 18 individuals per riding.

    For Ontario it’s tracking 20 ridings breaking down to a 24.

    Note, the error is higher in the poll Trusty Tory is pointing to so it points to a potentially smaller sample size. I guess someone was too sick that day to answer the Strategic Counsel’s questions.

  18. I think the numbers coming out of the Strategic Counsel are really the only ones worth focusing on in this election. They deal more with just the “swing ridings” across the country and are therefore a lot more significant.

  19. Yah Red what’s up with you moderates? Always looking for reasoned arguments and facts to support an opinion. Being respectful to both sides and engaging in concensus building discussion. Disgusting. It is actually a very Canadian position to take and admirable, however I’m sure your aware that Conservatives are aware of this and act accordingly. Preston Manning coincidentally talking about health care mentioned that the way to get Canadians to agree to private Health care was to present it as a compromise. The hard left , the narrative goes is staunchly against any change and the hard right is advocating a US system. A true Canadian would find a compromise. What is left out is that the compromise has already been made, any move to privatize healthcare is a step in Preston’s direction. Hardly a moderate position. You can pick up some of these Fraser institute talking points in Trusty Tory’s comments. “I never said we should go the way of the US, my argument is simply in favour of private-public partnerships.” That is classic Manning.

  20. but I’m not averse to private solutions where they’re complementary to the public healthcare system.

    Most of our health is delivered through private agencies….doctors, labs, hospitals are all private institutions (not government run). The issue that really should concern us are the imperatives of profit in the system. Remember, we’re living at a point in time when the principle of “privatised benefits, socialised risks” can no longer be denied.

    Finding ways to promote greater entrepreneurship among potential health care providers is a way of getting more people into the system whose motivation is primarily patient care, not profit.

    However, with health care corporations salivating over the prospect of establishing control over another area of human activity and with no-nothing ideologues hell-bent on imposing their beauteous solutions (Two-tier! Private-public partnerships! Health care savings accounts managed by Bear Sterns!) we should all be a little leery of radical change at this point.

    Besides, the problems with the health care system have been overblown by propagandists and people who, when sick, rarely ever get a standard of care they’re happy with because…they’re sick and not in the best frame of mind. And some people are just lying.

  21. Militant — I try to maintain an awareness of the “slippery slope” that ideologues would happily take us down when considering available options. It’s a matter of achieving balance and knowing where to draw the line. As far as I’m concerned any privatization has to be complementary to the public system — preferably an enhancement of it. Unfortunately, as with so many things (and partisan politics especially) we tend to get into a zero-sum game of either/or and black/white, but it’s never that simple or clear cut.

  22. I think the numbers coming out of the Strategic Counsel are really the only ones worth focusing on in this election. They deal more with just the “swing ridings” across the country and are therefore a lot more significant.

    Yes, swing ridings ae important. I have a problem with their methodology and how they present their results. They’re leaping on every small tick forward and back as being truly significant, but practically all of these movements are within their margin of error and therefore not that significant. I guess satistical dead heat day in and day out is less “newsworthy” than harping on minor gains.

    I’m actually proud to say that he’s my MP and that’s not such a bad thing…

    And not something not all voters can say.

    On the case of public vs. private health care.. we need more medical school spots.

  23. Ti-Guy — Yes, a lot of our healthcare system is indeed already “private” — from self-incorporated groups of doctors, to laboratories and clinics and so on. But when talking about “privatization” I think it’s clear that what’s of most concern is, as you say, the for-profit healthcare corporations honing in on the deal. And I’d certainly agree with you that this is something to be more than a little leery about given the experience south of the border.

  24. What is left out is that the compromise has already been made,

    Exactly. The compromise was single payer health care insurance and excluding dental, optical and pharmacare from the entire system. What the system is labouring under now is lack of resources, resources being mismanaged/misallocated and certain people (young, healthy) unwilling to pay for anything they don’t think they need, while blowing huge amounts of disposible cash on trivialities (but I digress). It doesn’t help that we’ve had an entrenched economic orthodoxy (the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of which is now very plain to see) that claims the market can do everything and the government can do nothing.

    Multi-dimensional bullshit.

  25. Sharron — Definitely! We need more doctors and nurses and that’s the bottom line here. Public, private… whatever doesn’t matter diddly-squat if the system isn’t sufficiently staffed and that seems to be the major problem we face right now.

    I was only able to get a family doctor here though connections. Don’t know what I would have done otherwise. I was never able to get one the whole six years we lived in Windsor. It’s an appalling situation and one that fundamentally undermines the preventative approach to healthcare (amongst other things).

  26. “On the case of public vs. private health care.. we need more medical school spots.”

    More than that – we subsidize the education of Canadian students. I believe they need to practice medicine in this country for a minimum period of time before they pack up and leave for the US. When I was in university I knew a lot of med students whose sole goal was to get that degree and move south.

  27. Sharron — Definitely! We need more doctors and nurses and that’s the bottom line here. Public, private… whatever doesn’t matter diddly-squat if the system isn’t sufficiently staffed and that seems to be the major problem we face right now.

    That would solve quite a few problems. Not being sarcastic about this either.

    From Blaming the Victim (a medical doctor from the US wrote this book in the 1970’s)

    “One of the curious facts of American economic life is the shortage of doctors. One would think that, in a free enterprise economy, the enormous demand of physicians would generate an increase supply. But the doctor business seems to have frieed itself from normal economic patterns….. Hospital charges have more than doubled in ten years. Meanwhile, the number of physicians in private practice has declined in relation to the total population… New medical schools appear with less frequency than new members of the United Nations, their gestation period being so super-elephantine as to guarantee a continued slow growth rate.

    “From a purely practicaly point of view, one can see the doctor’s point: in a town of 100,000 people spending a total of $5 million on doctors bills with only 97 doctors to carve up the take, it would be quite a different matter than if there were, say, 125 doctors. Quite different. about $12,000 year less per doctor in what businessmen calll gross receipts.

    “So the price of tonsillectomies, office visits, and hospital beds keep rising; the health of the middle classes gets a little better; the health of the poor remains bad. The doctors get rich. And one out of five black men in America dies before his time.”

  28. When I was in university I knew a lot of med students whose sole goal was to get that degree and move south.

    And what’s the motivation, eh? Practising health care in lovely, gated communities with healthy people who’ve had insurance all of their lives who, at best need a tit- or bum-lift and getting filthy rich while doing it. Something I don’t think is going to last too much longer.

    When my uncle graduated from medical school (in the 50’s), he went up to Inuvik to practise for two years and he remembers it as the most rewarding work he ever did. That’s a mentality you don’t see much among people these days.

  29. I’m with Gayle but I think we should go even further. Let anyone with the grades into Med School and fund it 100 percent with the caveat that the person must practice in Canada for ten years or longer. During that ten years they would not recieve payment per service like they do know but instead a salary. After the ten years they would be able to enter into something similiar to the current system or run off to America like they do now. They could also opt out by paying in full for medical school up front. This would no longer be subsidized. A little off topic Red but isn’t your boy Martin hopelessly on the wrong side of the Afghan war?

  30. I like your thinking Militant Liberal.

    As it stands, our current system allows for private practice for physicians (whose education was in large part subsidized by tax payers). The public element is in regulating how much they can charge and ensuring that they cannot selectively choose who they treat (although there are loop holes). Those services not covered or inadequately covered in the Health Act are being provided by private clinics. There is absolutely no need for two tier medicine in my view and the NHS system in the UK is not a good example.

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