Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Good For McGuinty

I have been waiting for someone to stand up for our public health care system. Harper seems to be sending mixed signals, on the one hand affirming the feds commitment to the public system, while simultaneously giving Alberta's plan some latitude:
"This government is committed to the Canada Health Act," Harper said "My understanding is that the Alberta government is not just committed to the Canada Health Act, but the Alberta government has enshrined the Canada Health Act in Alberta's own legislation."

I don't think there is any question, that if Alberta is allowed to move forward then the notion of equality is dead. Klein may tinker to appease, but his proposals will dismantle the public health system. Enter the McGuinty Liberals, who looks poised to provide some forceful rebuttal that is sorely lacking:
McGuinty says Premier's Ralph Klein's so-called Third Way on health reform is not Ontario's way.

He says wait times, for example, should be reduced for everybody, "not just for those who can afford to jump to the front of the queue.''

McGuinty says Harper told all the premiers last week to stay within the Canada Health Act and so should take action against Alberta.

He says the ball is clearly in the prime minister's court.

Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman calls Alberta's health-care reforms a threat to medicare, and a "pretty deliberate'' violation to the Canada Health Act.

The Conservatives are taking the entirely useless, wait and see attitude, while Rome burns. We desperately need someone to put politics aside, and call a spade a spade. Obviously, the opinion of the Ontario premier will have no traction in Alberta, but at least McGuinty can keep the pressure on the Conservatives to honor their role as protector of public health. Given the political dynamics, McGuinty may be in the best position to defend the rights of equality.

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