Medicare has no friends in political elites

Since its establishment by Tommy Douglas, Lester B. Pearson and others, medicare continues to be consistently supported by 80 to 90 per cent of Canadians. The concept of American health care enjoys much less popularity Ð below 10 per cent. Interestingly,

Since its establishment by Tommy Douglas, Lester B. Pearson and others, medicare continues to be consistently supported by 80 to 90 per cent of Canadians.

The concept of American health care enjoys much less popularity Ð below 10 per cent. Interestingly, polling figures regarding universal medicare option are similar all over the world, even in the U.S.

Stats are often used by the technocratic elites to pull the wool over our eyes, but if one can sort of double or half figures and they still explain common sense, it might be useful.

The introduction of medicare at the time was just a start-up program with an understood mandate to be strengthened over time with options such as dental care, nutritional medicine and other low-cost options like the licensing of mid-level practitioners.

The policy trends Canadians face are the exact opposite of the democratic mandate we are expressing.

My question is: How is that possible?

The federal government has now started to make good on its long-held intentions of gradually defunding medicare.

Locally, NDP leader Liz Hanson gave a response that reached about as far as two feet before falling flat to the ground. It was very symptomatic of federal and Yukon NDP positions, also in elections more than just recently.

We get general feel-good exclamations combined sometimes with the nostalgic invocation of the CCF and NDP authorship of medicare.

Yukon Premier Pasloski appears to have bought in or been bought out to support the federal strategy against the other provinces and territories.

Pointing this out together with a lukewarm warning against privatization and no hint of context is not helpful.

It withholds the privatization reality that is already here, which amounts to just more cover up for American health-care trends.

The positions we see may in actuality be choreographed very differently to their appearance, and deserve scrutiny.

The NDP is perceived as historic guardian and steward of medicare, which offers the party leadership an extraordinary shield behind which to stick the knife into it.

All that was missing and what the elites were waiting for was an opportunity like the austerity theme.

All parties are busily avoiding addressing re-regulation of the financial sector, which would allow a return to the fiscal responsibility that was lost by Mulroney’s banking deregulation from 1987. (Think: to renew a separation of commercial banking from derivative and hedge fund speculation).

From there, follow quite a few distortions and cover-up items that are promoted in an elegant fashion. This is possible because they are legitimated by the moral high ground of the NDP leadership, which arms with substantive consent the right wing in its attack on health care.

Examples are cuts in denticare (medicare dental) for seniors and children, which has, nation-wide been reduced to half of what it was a few years ago. They are consistently ignored by these medicare “advocates.”

Further, for one third of the population with no dental coverage, there is no effective dental care. Good research is available but it’s easier to have a look around the inabilities to chew food, the Dickensian tooth gaps and brown stumps in the smiles of the people around us.

This is corroborated by the Yukon Health Status Report from 2009 with much detail and anecdotal evidence for lack of dental care.

The shortfall includes patients with coverage, but is conspicuously ignored in the report’s summary and recommendations, as it is in politics.

A recent report in Canadian Business by the economist Armine Yalnizyan concluded that universal denticare would result in cash savings for medicare.

Observations and studies are increasing and demonstrate a dramatic link between lack of dental, and breast cancer.

Of course. oral and root infections are already a well-understood factor with regard to heart disease, but ignored by all parties.

Tommy Douglas warned in a speech from 1984 in response to neo-liberal attacks on medicare by Ralph Klein and others: “There’s not any doubt at all that the present medicare program in Canada is in serious danger of being sabotaged. One danger is extra-billing, which is growing and which has meant only one thing: that we are rapidly developing two types of people in the health-care field.”

Class-oriented vanity is not necessarily a sign of incompetence in our political party elites but as far as not being treason, it has the possibility of intellectual cowardice, which people will not support in elections to come during a deepening crisis.

Peter Becker


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: COVID-19 strikes another blow at high-school students

They don’t show up very often in COVID-19 case statistics, but they… Continue reading

The Cornerstone housing project under construction at the end of Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. Community Services Minister John Streicker said he will consult with the Yukon Contractors Association after concerns were raised in the legislature about COVID-19 isolation procedures for Outside workers at the site. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Concerns raised about alternate self-isolation plans for construction

Minister Streicker said going forward, official safety plans should be shared across a worksite

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, pictured at a press conference in October, announced three new cases of COVID-19 on Nov. 20 as well as a new public exposure notice. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New COVID-19 cases, public exposure notice announced

The new cases have all been linked to previous cases

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

The City of Whitehorse is planning to borrow $10 million to help pay for the construction of the operations building (pictured), a move that has one concillor questioning why they don’t just use reserve funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Councillor questions borrowing plan

City of Whitehorse would borrow $10 million for operations building

Most Read