--> Getting It Right: Health Care Leadership from Victoria

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Health Care Leadership from Victoria

When was the last time you heard true vision from Canadian politicians? They usually fiddle around the ragged edges of our health care and education systems, but no one seems to have the guts to actually advocate for broad change.

They are just like the rest of us and fall back on trying to keep the least amount of people angry with them at any given time.

That might make for pleasant going in talk show land, but it does nothing for a country crying for decisive leadership.

In the words of Harry S. Truman, “Men make history, and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.”

It is fun being a leader? Probably not. Does change threaten vested special interests. Absolutely. Do threatened people get angry and say nasty things? Sure.

Which brings us to the controversial Throne Speech given Thursday in Victoria as the BC Legislature met for its new sitting.

Gordon Campbell, like him or not, has shown some pretty decisive leadership on health care in our province with this speech.

While other provincial leaders pussy-foot around the real and systemic problems of our public system, Campbell and his team have substituted leadership for the habitual provincial government blame game.

According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, Canadians spent a total of $142 billion for health care in 2005, up from $102.5 billion in 2001. 70% of this spending was in the pure public system and represented an increase of 7.7% over 2004.

So, all this money is going from our pockets to pay for the system. Ask yourself, are we getting better health care?

Across Canada, we’re waiting longer for surgery. It is difficult to find family doctors. Emergency rooms are overcrowded. This is not simply a BC problem or a Saskatchewan problem. Regardless of the stripe of political party in charge, Canadian provinces are struggling to fulfill the unclear principles of the Canada Health Act.

The BC Liberals have launched a “dialogue” program that will ask us: “What are the fundamental changes we must make to improve our health and to protect our precious public health-care system for the long term?”

If you listened to the NDP’s Carol James, the HEU’s Judy Darcy, and the various other bit players in the anti-anything crowd you would think the sky is falling on publicly-funded health care in BC.

Which makes me wonder if they actually listened to the speech or did they simply act with typical knee-jerk fashion because a leader has dared to question how we deliver public health care in BC?

What is the best way to make sure that all Canadians, regardless of income, have access to health care – for the long term?

Let’s have the discussion that Victoria’s leadership has offered. Because public health care in Canada isn’t going to fix itself.

(as seen today in 24 Hours)


At 1:25 a.m., Anonymous Larry said...

Health care having both public and private seems best. Reasons: The money stays in Canada and less line ups at the public health care system./ As for a leader,when ever someone puts fourth their ideas publicly, some will appreciate it and their will always be the ones against it. People who always agree and don't put fourth their thoughtout opinions are safe from criticism and this is okay. But the greats and even the greatest Jesus Christ get critized even for doing good for society.

At 10:24 a.m., Anonymous Armchair Politician said...

Wow! This editorial hits the nail right on the head. It has little to do with "health care" per se, but rather how we Canadians carry on (or don't, in this case) dialogue over issues near and dear to the heart.

Unless we sincerely believe Medicare is perfect, why is it deemed treasonous to look around and at least attempt to cherry pick the best of what's out there, in the hopes of perhaps improving on what we now have?

Bravo, to you!


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