Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wednesday Morning Links

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- Scott Stinson is the latest to note that the Libs' sudden concern for health care looks to have been fabricated solely for campaign consumption:
In the month of March, which ended with the dissolution of Parliament, the Liberal party asked many questions about tax rates, election financing and ethics. It asked questions about prisons, Bev Oda, the CBC and the Champlain Bridge. It asked questions about the environment, child care and fighter jets.

It did not ask any questions about health-care funding.

The same is true of February: zero questions about health care, save for a couple here and there that asked why the government wasn’t rushing to hold clinical trials for the controversial “Liberation” treatment for multiple sclerosis.

It’s a record that is tough to square with the Liberals’ newfound zeal for health care, the latest evidence of which was an announcement on Tuesday that former prime minster Jean Chrétien would join leader Michael Ignatieff on the campaign trail “as the Liberal team shares the Liberal commitment to protect universal public health care.” That statement came just a few hours after Bob Rae and two other Liberal candidates held a press conference in Ottawa to accuse the Conservatives of plotting to slash health-care funding in order to balance future budgets.

But if the Liberals had always intended to make this long-awaited election about health care, they sure took their sweet time getting around to it. The NDP asked at least 10 questions about health care in the House in the past few months, from the sanctity of the Canada Health Act to the need for drug coverage to, er, bedbugs.
The Liberal party position as the only champion of public health would be just a touch easier to buy if its platform included anything about long-term funding other than a mushy promise to be “at the table for Canadians” when negotiating an extension to the 2004 deal with the provinces. Quality would be improved, costs would be contained, pressure on families would be relieved. Possibly pixie dust would be involved.

Mr. Ignatieff has been Liberal leader for more than two years, and he’s never said much about long-term health-care funding until now. But it seems to be the message he has chosen to try to revive a waning campaign. The question is, is it too late for the defibrillator?
- The Star calls for an end to the treatment of elected MPs like potted plants:
MPs of all political stripes ought to stand up for themselves – and, more importantly, their constituents. In a minority government situation, where a party needs each and every vote, MPs may find they have more power than they realize to effect the positive changes they feel they were elected to do. The parties – so eager to blame their rivals for turning Parliament into a gong show – should look themselves in the mirror. They need to examine how they choose candidates, and the kind of discipline they enforce once MPs get to Ottawa.
- Ho-hum, just another story about the public face of the Prime Minister's Office trying to arm-twist an independent organization into hiring the Cons' choice of chairs, then falsely denying that he so much as had any contact with the group involved. No need for ministerial responsibility here.

- Also, under-the-table cash payments to cleaners at 24 Sussex Drive. Move along, nothing to see here.

- Finally, Wheatsheaf points out the sad excuse for a response from Kelly Block when the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting asked about her position on funding the CBC:

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