Tuesday, June 05, 2007

A dangerous direction

It would be easy enough to read Chantal Hebert's column on Quebec's health-care situation and figure that anything which poses political difficulties for Deceivin' Stephen can't be all bad. But based on a quick look over the Cons' history in office, there's precious little reason to think they'll do anything to stop any move toward two-tier health care in Quebec - meaning that barring a surprisingly quick federal election, it'll be the fight within Quebec that determines whether or not Canadian health care survives universally in anything approaching its current form.

Remember that potential violations of the Canada Health Act are nothing new - and when the Cons first took office, Tony Clement wasted no time in shutting down Health Canada's investigations. When questions about double-dipping surfaced in Quebec, Clement was quick to take the province's claim that he didn't need to look into it. And to top it off, Clement then publicly backed the False Creek pay-for-treatment clinic, again based on bare provincial assurances.

Sadly, none of the above received as much attention as Harper's one attempt to position himself as a defender of the Canada Health Act by writing a single tepid letter to Ralph Klein.

But there's no reason to think that a party which has happily shut down any attempt to enforce the Canada Health Act against real activities will change its mind now - especially if there's little argument against a privatized or two-tiered scheme within Quebec. And it's hard to see the Cons paying any particularly large price for their continued negligence when their past actions have barely been noticed.

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