Mar. 26, 2022

Liberals and NDP agreement is nothing but a sellout

It is hard to describe the agreement reached by the Liberals and NDP other than a sellout. 

Trudeau’s motivation is simple. He has to get a spring budget passed and has no intention of reducing growing deficits. He wants to spend even more on ridiculous programs. He is short of justifications, so he needs a distraction.

Neither party has principles or differences worthy of mention. Neither party gives a rats ass about Canadians. They want to sell programs that make them look good irrespective of consequences.

Trudeau has promised to spend $ billions to make up for cancelled surgeries and to shore up health care services. However, federal meddling in health care has resulted in stagnant, antiquated and inadequate health care systems in every province.

Pouring money into failed systems is insane. Our healthcare systems are management-heavy bureaucratic nightmares detached from the facilities they were created to manage.

Under the Constitution Act, 1867, the provinces are responsible for establishing, maintaining and managing hospitals, asylums, charities and charitable institutions. The federal government is given jurisdiction over marine hospitals and quarantine. The federal government was also given the power to tax, borrow, and spend such money as long as this did not infringe on provincial powers.

The federal government passed the Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act in 1957, which offered to reimburse, or cost-share, one-half of provincial and territorial costs for specified hospital and diagnostic services. This Act provided for publicly administered universal coverage for a specific set of services under uniform terms and conditions. Four years later, all the provinces and territories had agreed to provide publicly funded inpatient hospital and diagnostic services.

For further information on the development of replacements of the Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act, See: Health care.  

 

 While the initial federal legislation helped establish the equality of health care systems in every province and portability of coverage between provinces, it long ago lived out its usefulness. Contrary to the constitution, the federal government has used its legislation to stifle innovation at the provincial level. Private delivery of health care services has been banned, allegedly under terms of the Canada Health Care Act.

Eyecare, dentistry, chiropractic, psychiatric, medicines and several other health care services are delivered by private providers but are not insured or only minimally insured. 

The Trudeau – Singh cabal plans to extend provincial health care systems to include dentistry and drug coverages without first addressing highly stressed and dysfunctional health care systems. That is direct interference in provincial jurisdiction.

Part of the solution is to rescind the Canada Health Act, transfer tax points to the provinces and enable the provinces to innovate and improve efficiencies in their systems, including provision for private health care delivery. 

No government can build a hospital or clinic for anywhere near private enterprise’s cost. The province is still in charge of payments for services. Payments to private hospitals and clinics, adjusted to compensate for the cost of land, buildings and equipment the province does not have to provide, will be equal to existing costs.

Socialists screaming about the horrors of ‘two-tiered health care,’ where patients with the means can pay an extra fee for services, are nonsense. Allowing fees for services for those who have the means results in reduced wait times for those who cannot or do not want to pay the price. People are already travelling out of the country to obtain medical services when they are not prepared to wait.

Another part of the solution is to require the federal government to provide services it is responsible for; First Nations people; Inuit; Métis; serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces; eligible veterans; inmates in federal prisons; and some groups of refugee claimants. (See the link above).

The constitution does not restrict coverage to First Nations People living on reserves. The federal government is also required to maintain marine (military) hospitals which it does not do.

The federal government has dumped its constitutional healthcare responsibilities on the provinces, further stressing the provincial systems.

Provincial governments need to take a stand and refuse to extend health care coverages until systemic problems with the basic systems can be addressed. The federal government cannot be allowed to continue to use funding as a lever to interfere in provincial sovereignty.

Flashback to the 1990s: austerity and health care Although at the periphery of federal budget debates, transfers the provinces were put in focus again this week.  The Chretien government, with Paul Martin as finance minister, put Canada through the most recent cuts to program spending to erase the deficit starting in 1996.  Part of the result was cuts to provincial transfers, which in turn created a crisis in health care funding.

When the federal government is finally forced to face the results of years of uncontrolled spending, provinces have no protection against arbitrary reductions in federal transfers. That makes the transfer of tax points to replace federal health transfers a top priority.