Nice to see Kinsella thinks the new Liberal attack ad is great. I guess the high ground got washed away under Ignatieff, but I digress. I actually really like the ad, but for a completely different reason. Liberals are looking at getting walloped in Quebec, according to Chantel Hebert in her column in the Star. So when one looks at the ad, it claims quotes from Stephen Harper show him as one who would undermine Canadian health care. The one quote that stands out is this:
"Private, for profit health care (Hansard 10/01/2002)
The problem Ignatieff now faces goes by the name of Gilles Duceppe, who's main claim to fame is having the federal government keep it's nose out of what Quebecer's feel is provincial jurisdiction. So one would surmise from the quote in the Liberal ad that Ignatieff is against private, for profit health care, right? Well, coming on the same day the Liberal Party announced Paul Martin would be joining the campaign, it looks as though Donolo might have just set up some land mines for Ignatieff. Why? Read this:
"Many provinces are following Alberta’s lead. Ontario announced in June 2005 a $30 billion public-private-partnership fund for new schools and hospitals. All this money will go to for-profit corporations. The Cambie Surgery Centre in Vancouver boasts that it is Canada’s “most advanced private surgical centre in Canada” with “more operating capacity than most BC hospitals.” It is proud of its record servicing “famous athletes and celebrities” and known for the outspoken private-sector advocacy of its founder, Dr. Brian Day – or “Dr. Profit,” as he is often referred to. British Columbia has 14 private clinics, which looked after 50,000 paying customers in 2004.
Montreal was labelled the “private health care capital of Canada” by the Montreal Gazette, which conducted an investigation in February 2005. There is a “parallel system for the wealthy” in that city, said the newspaper, which reported that 90 doctors in Quebec have opted out of medicare, more than in all other provinces combined. One of them, Dr. Sheldon Elmer, is Prime Minister Paul Martin’s doctor. There are at least a dozen private medical imaging clinics and a number of knee and hip replacement clinics. The going rate for hip replacement is between $14,000 and $18,000. Montreal also has the first private emergency clinic and was, not surprisingly, the launching pad for the Supreme Court challenge.
So will Michael Ignatieff denounce the private. for profit health care in Quebec? Will he close private providers in Quebec? Will he tell Dalton McGuinty that Ontario cannot go ahead with the $30 billion private public-partnership? What about BC? Alberta?
More importantly, will any journalist question the contradiction of the Liberal attack ad and their 13 years in office? And will Ignatieff stand up for full public health care, risking backlash from Quebec voters?
I sure would like to know.