Healthcare: Stephen Harper’s Worst Nightmare

Julian Wolfe
April 19th, 2011

It is clear that Stephen Harper doesn’t value Canadian healthcare – among other social programs that makes us the caring people we are. In the past, Harper and his pals have tried to reform healthcare to match it up to American standards. As Michael Ignatieff’s Liberals hammer away at the Tory misfortune in such an important campaign issue, they ask for pardon after all of their ads against Ignatieff. Harper is making a big deal about a Liberal misrepresentation of the Conservatives when the Conservatives have spent years misrepresenting the Liberals.
From the iPod tax to the fact that Ignatieff has traveled the world to abusing Ignatieff’s caucus rally, the Conservatives have a lot to be ashamed of. For instance, below are two ads that the Conservatives released and were forced to pull after 24 hours due to its class act at taking Michael Ignatieff out of context and using his own words to attack his character.

Probably the most ruthless of the two lies.

Now let’s keep Michael in context, here is what he really said.

Michael’s actual speech

If Harper’s Conservatives lied about these ads, what about the others? How much credibility do they have?
Let’s look at that great iPod tax ad, one would hope it is a joke! A university professor by the name of Michael Geist said that this rhetoric was “borderline fantasy.” Read More

Now, Harper comes after Michael Ignatieff over two mistaken quotes in his attack ad and demands that he pulls it. Did Harper and his Tory friends consider that before releasing their non-stop ads over the past 2 years? Michael Ignatieff remained a gentleman and for the name of fairness said he would tweak his ad and will even let the people choose the quote that takes its place. You can vote here.
The video has since been replaced with the corrected version and will receive further updates soon.

The Liberal Party writes the following update in their description:

The Globe and Mail has corrected a quote Liberals used in the original Stephen Harper is a “health risk” ad. Accordingly, we updated our ad. Stay tuned for more…
“Stephen Harper is demanding absolute power. Can you trust him with your health care? He said the law that protects universal health care should be scrapped. And he’s open to American style private for profit health care. Last year Harper’s finance minister called for massive cuts to increases in health spending. Now Harper has a risky plan to cut 11 billion dollars from government spending. Where would Harper’s cuts leave your family’s health? The stakes are too high. Vote Liberal.”
Authorized by The Federal Liberal Agency of Canada, registered agent for the Liberal Party of Canada.

Healthcare isn’t Harper’s best friend. In a statement to reform party members, he tells them to dodge Medicare altogether and say that it is strictly provincial jurisdiction.

In the Firewall Letter that was sent to the National Post in 2001, Harper and a handful of conservative academics argued that Alberta should move ahead with plans to implement its own healthcare agenda that is independent of the Canada Health Act and made the case that they are ready to pay the fines that come with it. They wrote:

“Resume provincial responsibility for health care policy. If Ottawa objects to provincial policy, fight in the courts..
Albertans deserve better than the long waiting periods and technological backwardness that are rapidly coming to characterize Canadian medicine. Alberta should also argue that each province should raise its own revenue for health care — i.e., replace Canada Health and Social Transfer cash with tax points, as Quebec has argued for many years.”

The quotes regarding Harper’s plans for the Americanization of Healthcare are endless.
Harper pitted the solution to our healthcare woes as the following:

“…what we clearly need is experimentation — with market reforms and private delivery options within the public system. And it is only logical that, in a federal state where the provinces operate the public health care systems and regulate private services, that experimentation should occur at the provincial level.”

On the Canadian Alliance Leadership website in 2002, Harper told the crowd, “Our health care will continue to deteriorate unless Ottawa overhauls the Canada Health Act to allow the provinces to experiment with market reforms and private health care delivery options.”
It is no wonder that Harper told his reform colleagues to “avoid  problems, stick to the themes and the Party priorities. Do not talk about Medicare – that is a Provincial issue. Because Medicare is not a Federal issue, the Reform Party does not have a position on it.”
Maybe it is time that Harper stop lying when he tells Canadians that he will maintain the 6% federal funding transfers when he has shown the discontent for the Canada Health Act and his minister Maxime Bernier has already attacked it in October 2010.

“This [bringing back a balanced federalism envisioned by the founders of Confederation] would be done by putting an end to all federal intrusion into areas of provincial jurisdiction. Instead of sending money to the provinces, Ottawa would cut its taxes and let them use the fiscal room that has been vacated. Such a transfer of tax points to the provinces would allow them to fully assume their responsibility without federal control.”
“There would no longer be any ambiguity if each province stopped depending on federal transfers and raised the amount of money necessary to manage its own problems.”

In other words, Bernier wants to scrap federal transfers to the provinces and make each liable for its own costs – that includes healthcare.
Without federal control over provincial finance and affairs, provinces that have poor fiscal management and a weak economy will not be able to fund such programs which would lead to either large tax hikes or program cutting. Based on the economics and lack of economic power, these programs would be cut severely or completely dismantled. A Statistic Canada study published in 2004 predicts that, “These changes [An increase in retirement rate with a lower replacement rate] will fundamentally affect the workforce. A scarcity of workers may lead to rising wages. This could encourage older workers to stay in the labor force longer or deter younger people from pursuing long-term postsecondary education. Also, employers may institute more automation and strive for greater workplace productivity.” With this reality among us, the healthcare system could be privatized, and so would medical insurance. If this were to happen, Canada’s healthcare framework will crumble, and so will the budgets of the average middle and lower class Canadian.
You can read more on the consequences of Bernier’s proposal here.
May 2 is about choosing the path of Canada. Harper has lied to us before and will so so again. Can you really trust him with your healthcare and the Canadian Identity?

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   Categories: Attack Ads, Conservative, Election, Families, Featured, Harper, Healthcare, Ignatieff, Liberal, Population

On Monday, the longest campaign in modern history will come to a close and if current polls are any indication, Canada may be seeing a change in government after 9 years of Conservative rule under the leadership of Stephen Harper. Accountability was his calling card in 2006 and today, accountability may very well be one of the defining reasons for his departure.

In its length, in its cost and in its debate schedule, this election is unusual. The first and possibly only real debate of the campaign ended and here are the highlights of what happened.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper left Rideau Hall this morning with Governor General David Johnston’s approval to drop the writ and Canadians are now officially headed to the polls on October 19. For the first time since fixed election date legislation was brought in by the Conservative government, a fixed election date has been followed.

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