On November 22 and 23, Canada's premiers are holding an economic summit in Halifax. Stephen Harper was invited, but he's not coming. Harper's quiet absence at the first ministers' meeting in Halifax speaks volumes about his commitment to universal health care.
Harper is well aware that his refusal to negotiate a 2014 Health Accord and the downloading of almost $40 billion will encourage provinces to charge patients out-of-pocket and bring in more for-profit services. This is the most expensive and least efficient method of delivering health care -- if you need proof, just look to our southern neighbours.
Medicare and the CHA have reached mythical proportions in Canada. It is an untouchable "sacred trust." Those that dare question it -- much less talk of reform -- are virtually branded enemies of the state.
I experienced this first hand last year when as a candidate in the general election I had the temerity to point out a simple fact: Canada does not have the "best healthcare system in the world," as all politicians have told us for years. In fact, that is a cruel deception. And CHA is nothing more than a hollow and toothless statement of intention and principles, has been the most untouchable of scared cows of Canadian politics since 1984. All three national parties kneel at its altar.