Stephen Harper and his Conservative government are quietly dismantling Canada’s public health care, according articles appearing in independent news sources such as Briarpatch, rabble.ca and iPolitics.
Montreal-based freelance journalist Stefan Christoff notes in Briarpatch that threats to universal health care are largely absent from mainstream media reports and the talking points of major political parties.
Journalist Linda McQuaig – an NDP candidate in the upcoming federal election – writes in iPolitics that Canadian citizens will experience a two-tier health care system for the first time if Harper is re-elected. The Conservatives began to deconstruct the nation’s non-discriminatory system in 2011 when he declared his government would not renegotiate the expiring health accord with provinces. They declared tax cuts of an estimated $36 billion for the next decade in lieu of renegotiation.
The cuts will leave the already underfunded provinces searching for new ways to cover growing monetary and resource costs. Private, dollar-driven corporations will be more than willing to seek business partnerships with the burdened provinces, which will create an unforeseeable cost on a once-nationally accessible health care system. The public will be told that Canada simply cannot afford a public health care system, but the truth is that the revenue meant to pay for public health care has already been spent in tax cuts, said McQuaig.
Mainstream media sources have first buried these changes in stories about federal-provincial spending formulas. The full picture has not been revealed, aside from short letters to the editor about general tax cuts and indirect commentary pieces.
Maude Barlow and Linda Silas, “Pull Together for Public Health Care.” The Star, June 30, 2012, http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/12/27/stephen_harpers_historic_taxcutting_legacy.html.
Janice M. Bernier, “Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Medicare in Saskatchewan.” Rabble, July 9, 2012, http://rabble.ca/columnists/2012/07/celebrating-50th-anniversary-medicare-saskatchewan.
Stefan Christoff, “Addressing the Conservative Attack on Canadian Health Care.” Briarpatch, February 3, 2015, http://briarpatchmagazine.com/blog/view/addressing-the-conservative-attack-on-canadian-health-care.
Eugene Lang, “Stephen Harper’s Historic Tax-cutting Legacy.” The Star, December 27, 2013, http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/12/27/stephen_harpers_historic_taxcutting_legacy.html.
Linda McQuaig, “How Harper Killed Medicare– and Got Away with It.” iPolitics, January 7, 2015, http://www.ipolitics.ca/2015/01/07/how-harper-killed-medicare-and-got-away-with-it/.
Student Researcher: Kendall Latimer (University of Regina)
Faculty Evaluator: Patricia Elliott (University of Regina)