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"The House recognises the member from Dooce"
October 18, 2006 12:34 PM   Subscribe

Canada's governing Conservative Party has expelled one of its Members of Parliament -- for blogging. Garth Turner, Conservative MP for Halton, author of "The Turner Diaries Report" (link) was today suspended from the ruling party's caucus because of his blog. "There is [sic] attacks that were made on individuals, including the Prime Minister," explained Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer. "The theme of confidentiality was not being respected, in their opinion, and it restricted the ability for members to operate in a confidential way." At least one national pundit compares the exiling to 1984.
posted by docgonzo (75 comments total)

 


Some of Turner's sins (may) have included:
  • Questioning the party's move to exempt religious groups from performing same-sex marriages: "with any such law, it will always be useful to substitute the word “black” for the words “same sex” and see if it still passes the smell test";
  • Urging readers to contact the Minister of Finance to change plans on tax reform;
  • Urging the government to confront today's "real estate mania";
  • Predicting what is in the Conservative's upcoming budget.

  • posted by docgonzo at 12:35 PM on October 18, 2006


    The hilarious irony is that this so-called Conservative Party grew out of the Reform Party, which was all about grass roots and individual members being able to express their opinions (and/or opinions of their constituents) without being muzzled by the party line.
    posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:46 PM on October 18, 2006


    I hope he now regales us with real inside dope on Harper. The Tories will learn it's better to have him inside the tent pissing out that outside the tent pissing in. Control freak image managing dickwads.

    And did a single party ever have two more sycophantic little shits than Rahim Jaffer and Jason Kenney? As wgp notes, they've come a long way from Reform, and in the wrong direction. Assholes.
    posted by Rumple at 12:56 PM on October 18, 2006


    Wow. A minority party ejects a member. Keep ejecting 'em boys and soon enough we'll be back to the Liberals!

    And an Ontario MP too... seems like poor politics. I wonder if someone could convince a Quebec MP to blog. Probably not.

    Maybe Harper's strategy is to just get Calgary to grow so stinking huge that he can win a majority without Quebec. Then he can kick out all the Ontario MPs.
    posted by GuyZero at 1:07 PM on October 18, 2006


    two more sycophantic little shits than Rahim Jaffer

    What's particularly offensive about Jaffer is that he does not support the party's social conservative positions -- he's a straight-up fiscal conservative, all about reducing the size of government, yadda yadda yadda -- but he muzzles that distaste to stay in Harper's good books. Which, given his ethnic background, brings to mind certain phrases.
    posted by docgonzo at 1:12 PM on October 18, 2006


    GuyZero writes "I wonder if someone could convince a Quebec MP to blog. Probably not."

    Not to worry, I doubt the CP will get half as many votes in Quebec next elections as they did the last time around...
    posted by clevershark at 1:30 PM on October 18, 2006


    This is too bad. Turner should not have violated caucus confidentiality (if he did), but Harper would do well to show he can tolerate a little dissent and appeal to 905ers who may be somewhat "softer" conservatives.

    "The Prime Minister's office denied any involvement in Mr. Turner's removal from the caucus."

    Oh. I guess that clears that up, then.

    Actually what is most interesting about Turner is not his blog (other MPs have blogged in the past, including current cabinet minister Monte Solberg), but his MPtv webcasts. They really blur the line between politics and journalism, and are a quite radical way for an individual MP to advocate for his constituents in Ottawa. Though I suppose now he'll have trouble getting people to agree to interviews.

    For those in Canada, Turner is giving a press conference at 5:00 ET.
    posted by Urban Hermit at 1:42 PM on October 18, 2006


    Even more remarkable is that Jon Kay has denounced his chicken-hawk ways (via the Wells blog link). Can't be much that stings more than that for a self-righteous hack.
    posted by gompa at 1:44 PM on October 18, 2006


    "The Prime Minister's office denied any involvement in Mr. Turner's removal from the caucus."

    Oh, that's fucking rich. Ambrose is a human tape recorder that just keeps repeating "the PM thinks this" and "the PM thinks that". This is the same guy who muzzled every single Conservative MP for the first several months? I mean, it's only now that we hear MacKay, Day, Ambrose and Oda actually speaking in public and with the press, unsupervised. And we really expect to believe that an MP in a minority government was eject without his involvement? Exactly who makes this decision then?
    posted by GuyZero at 1:59 PM on October 18, 2006


    Oh, and as for journalistic bias:

    Toronto Star: Tories suspend MP Turner
    Globe: Garth Turner suspended from Tory caucus
    CBC: Garth Turner suspended from Tory caucus

    seems pretty neutral...

    CTV: Outspoken MP Turner suspended from Tory caucus

    warming up... "Outspoken"

    Nat'l Post: Tories dump maverick MP from party
    Canada.com: Maverick MP Garth Turner suspended from Conservative caucus
    Vancouver Sun: Tories dump maverick MP from party
    Toronto Sun: Maverick MP suspended from caucus

    "Maverick" seems pretty popular on the right side of the journalistic fence it seems. Because no one wants a maverick. I mean, these headlines are almost begging the question.

    So, just to cheer up you Americans reading this thread, we have our own "fair and balanced" news organizations up here too.
    posted by GuyZero at 2:08 PM on October 18, 2006


    GuyZero: Not to dispute your underlying point, but I wonder if the distribution of headlines might have something to do with the source of the copy, ie the NatPost/Canada.com/VSun and TSun might have all used CP copy, and the others not.
    posted by docgonzo at 2:15 PM on October 18, 2006


    Er, sorry, CanWestNewsService copy. CanWest papers aren't in CP anymore I don't think.
    posted by docgonzo at 2:15 PM on October 18, 2006


    Hm. Vancouver Sun, CanWest; Toronto Sun, CP; Post, CanWest; Globe, staff; TorStar, staff.

    Having said that, the Star's latest article is "Tories give Turner the boot" - I'm not sure whether that's sympathetic or schadenfreude or what.
    posted by GuyZero at 2:30 PM on October 18, 2006


    At least one national pundit compares the exiling to 1984.

    Why stop there? This is worse than 1984! This is like hell itself! The nation is in hell! You know what, scratch that -- think of the worst situation possible, ever, and multiply that by eleventy billion times. Got it? Well this is worse.
    posted by Krrrlson at 2:56 PM on October 18, 2006 [1 favorite]


    GuyZero: Garth Turner used to give financial reports on CFTO news. CFTO is the Toronto CTV affiliate. That might explain CTV's more "positive" spin. Please note, the Tories are not a minority party. Garth was a backbencher in the government.

    weapons-grade pandemonium: Garth was a holdover from the Progressive Conservative party. He was elected in the past under the PC banner. He was never a Reformer.

    DocGonzo: here's a sin for you: Garth makes cracks about "Canadians of convenience" cracks after the evacuation from Lebanon earlier this summer. Suggesting that Canadian citizens should be stripped of their rights because they left the country is totally asinine. The Star had some good analysis on this issue. Compare and contrast Garth's remarks with the more measured remarks made by the other MP from Burlington, Mike Wallace.

    If you ask me, good fucking riddance Garth Turner. He will be gone after the next election. The Halton riding is fickle and votes with the Ontario political trends. When Mulroney was in, Garth was in. When Chretien was in, some Liberal was in. Garth rode the Tory wave right back into political office. Don't bite the hand that feeds you, Garth. Your constituents don't like you that much.
    posted by crazycanuck at 3:00 PM on October 18, 2006


    Even more remarkable is that Jon Kay has denounced his chicken-hawk ways (via the Wells blog link). Can't be much that stings more than that for a self-righteous hack.


    gompa-- I read that too. But you know, what the little shit actually says is:

    You can't hide from your mistakes. All you can do is own up to them and apologize. And so, for whatever it's worth to anybody, mea culpa. jkay@nationalpost.com

    Which is an "I'm sorry" short of an apology.
    posted by Rumple at 3:05 PM on October 18, 2006


    "Maverick" seems pretty popular on the right side of the journalistic fence it seems. Because no one wants a maverick. I mean, these headlines are almost begging the question.

    So now he can be somebody's wingman? Or somebody can be his wingman?
    posted by srboisvert at 3:43 PM on October 18, 2006


    More games of tag, none of which seem to be the usual game described as the default on Wikipedia.

    I now realize that I am firmly opposed to memetic engineering of tag games. They should be left alone to evolve naturally, lest they be artificially mutated into something lame.
    posted by sfenders at 4:51 PM on October 18, 2006


    err, yeah, that was the other thread. The Conservatives are doomed.
    posted by sfenders at 4:52 PM on October 18, 2006


    Compare and contrast Garth's remarks with the more measured remarks made by the other MP from Burlington, Mike Wallace.

    Okay. Wallace is less foolish there, but also too dismissive for my taste of those few of the complaints about the evacuation process that seemed legitimate. He's more restrained and polite, but it doesn't seem obvious whether he's actually more reasonable on the question of citizenship, which has an obvious right answer. Clearly he's skilled at evading it. But anyway, yeah, if the quotes in there from Garth are representative, then he deserves to be labelled "maverick".
    posted by sfenders at 5:11 PM on October 18, 2006


    For the record: I'm not a particular supporter of Mr. Turner. Just thought the issue was post-worthy. (And hadn't heard his 'Canucks of convenience' crack. You stay classy, Garth.)
    posted by docgonzo at 6:13 PM on October 18, 2006


    You know, I vastly dislike Harper's Conservatives, and even so, Turner's not really what I'd consider good government material. He comes off as a pissed off guy who sits in the back and yells a lot. Or mumbles, I guess. The ten page blog posts (I read it every so often during the most recent election campaign) were a bit much, and eventually I just took to frowning at it and moving on, not much one can say.

    But anyway, Harper sucks, Ignatieff sucks, and hopefully the Liberals can get their shit together and pick someone who can do something with this vacuum of competence (*cough* Gerard Kennedy *cough*).
    posted by blacklite at 6:26 PM on October 18, 2006


    Rick Mercer is doing a weekly show in the vein of TDS/CR; satirical reporting. Anyway, he recently did an interview with Bob Rae (running for Liberal head) by taking him out on a fishing trip. It was, in a word, awesome. Must-see-tv.

    On the basis of that interview, I'd elect Bob Rae as Prime Minister any day.
    posted by five fresh fish at 8:16 PM on October 18, 2006


    weapons-grade pandemonium: Garth was a holdover from the Progressive Conservative party. He was elected in the past under the PC banner. He was never a Reformer.

    You completely misread my point, crazycanuck. Try again.
    posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:45 PM on October 18, 2006


    On the basis of that interview, I'd elect Bob Rae as Prime Minister any day.

    Good thing most people still remember what he did to Ontario.
    posted by Krrrlson at 10:30 PM on October 18, 2006


    Urging readers to contact the Minister of Finance to change plans on tax reform;

    An elected official urging the public to take up an issue with, effectively, someone higher up in their own organization? Maybe he should just pass him a note in gym class.

    I’m no party-discipline hardliner, but that’s immature and unprofessional.
    posted by dreamsign at 11:33 PM on October 18, 2006


    Krrrlson: I suppose Ontarions remember. I can't say as we in BC really paid attention to what he was doing; had we, perhaps we wouldn't have our current premier.
    posted by five fresh fish at 12:47 AM on October 19, 2006


    Good thing most people still remember what he did to Ontario.
    posted by Krrrlson at 6:30 AM GMT on October 19 [+] [!]


    Yeah, he introduced minor austerity measures during a world-wide recession to try to reduce the government deficits and keep the budget functioning so that the government could continue to provide services.

    Thank god we god rid of him. Everyone knows that good governments cut taxes irresponsibly, destroy public services, sell off public assets for tiny amounts to their friends, and then lie about the state of the government accounts, and leave the incoming government with a massive debt and deficit - all during a world-wide economic boom.* Increasing the debt is fiscally responsible!

    * (which the said tiny Canadian provincial government takes credit for - I love how Ontario is the main engine behind the US and European economies.)

    /sarcasm

    Frankly, the former Ontario Tories should be charged criminally for fraud for their business practices. They stole money from the public purse.
    posted by jb at 2:14 AM on October 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


    Thank god we god rid of him.../sarcasm

    I've been hearing a lot lately how Rae "destroyed" Ontario. I tend to take the Right's over the top reaction to the NDP governments with a grain of salt. Maybe it's because of the hit job the MSM and BC Liberal (in name only) party did on Glen Clark in the 90's. Back then, the opposing Libs managed to pin the Asian economic meltdown on the NDP, too. Not to mention having their finger prints (along w/Canwset) all over the laughable Patiogate affair.

    Today, we have a provincial government that is out spending their predecessors in Olympic proportions, more accountable to their corporate masters than the public, run by a Premier who's actually been convicted of an offense while in office.

    If the Right is screaming loudest about Rae, he's probably our man.
    posted by btwillig at 7:57 AM on October 19, 2006


    True, that.

    Certainly in the interview he came across as a humble, honest, and slightly pissed-off Canadian.
    posted by five fresh fish at 9:15 AM on October 19, 2006


    You completely misread my point, crazycanuck. Try again.

    ok, sure. First, let's clean up here what the Reform party was and wasn't, and how Reformers got to be Tories.

    The Reform party was formed to help deal with the feelings of western alienation. It may have been grassroots, but it was never really about the independence of party members. After it was reinvented as the Alliance, people were expelled from the caucus left and right for failing to support the party leadership (more specifically, for taking potshots at Stockwell Day). And it was the Alliance, and not the Reform party, that merged with the Conservatives. So even then, the Reform/Alliance/CCRAP party has a history of not tolerating dissent.

    I mentioned Garth's political history to prove a different point. He's not some young upstart grassroots guy all about helpin' the people. He is an older, grizzled, veteran politician (and old-school Tory) looking out for number one (himself). Probably in a fit of pique about not being picked for a cabinet position, he elected himself the unofficial party mouthpiece. I think his blog was not so much a grassroots effort to keep in touch with the people, rather it was an opportunity to hear himself talk. After all, he did work on TV after he was booted from Parliament the first time.

    And the voters didn't vote for Garth for the sake of Garth. After all, if the voters really liked Garth the man, he would have been re-elected instead of ousted when the Liberal tide swept Ontario. I think that's pretty convincing evidence that his constituents voted for the party, not for the man.

    I think the Lebanon thing really had a lot to do with it. After all, Stephen Harper's unconditional support of Israel's right to invade really chapped a lot of asses. Stephen Harper flew to Lebanon to assist the evacuation in an attempt to make himself look a bit less like an asshole without having to back down from his original position. I bet at that point the party was trying to sweep the whole incident under the rug a bit, so that voters would forget about their first (somewhat embarrassing) foray into foreign affairs as a government. Instead, not only does Garth start fanning flames, he also takes up this bizarre right-wingnut view that is far to the right of the more moderate views held by the SUV-driving soccer-mom populace of his suburban Halton riding.

    Anyway, he broke the party line somehow and he was disciplined. It had nothing to do with his blog, and everything to do with not respecting the party leadership. In Canadian politics, people get booted when the leadership is not respected. It happened in the Alliance (Reform) party too.

    It was the right thing for the party to do. When the government is sitting in a minority situation, they cannot afford to have one of its own members stirring the pot. It's dangerous and could lead to the downfall of the government before they are ready for election. The Conservative party leadership did some risk analysis and decided it was better to boot Garth (and basically hand his seat to the Liberal party) well in advance of an election than to allow him to say that he represents the party in any way, shape, or form and accidentally or otherwise engineer the government's downfall. In that way, collateral damage is contained and limited to the one Halton seat that Garth occupied. That's party discipline at work. Dennis Hastert should be taking notes.
    posted by crazycanuck at 9:22 AM on October 19, 2006


    And while I'm ranting about Canadian politics, I'll take up the issue of Bob Rae. He is still hated in Ontario. His main sin was the "Rae Day". He broke union contracts and unilaterally cut the pay of teachers, nurses, and other core supporters, and that really pissed off the civil servants and labour unions. My mom (a nurse) is STILL pissed off about that over 10 years later. Of course, Mike Harris came in and fucked them over worse, but that's a different story. Gerard Kennedy would appeal much more to the Ontario voter.
    posted by crazycanuck at 9:28 AM on October 19, 2006


    You stay classy, Garth

    For those who don't remember, here's Garth's not so classy side. Influence peddling, not so hot.

    Being an independent whistle-blowing MP is actually Garth's true calling. It's takes a wrongdoer to catch a wrongdoer. As long as he's kept away from the public purse, things will work out well all around.
    posted by storybored at 9:51 AM on October 19, 2006


    The Conservative party leadership did some risk analysis and decided it was better to boot Garth

    Well, technically, the Ontario caucus got PO'ed at him and voted him out. The leadership simply did nothing to stop it. An amazing devolution of leadership, in so many senses.
    posted by GuyZero at 10:13 AM on October 19, 2006


    Yes, jb, the fact that Harris failed to do any better makes Rae a saint... they couldn't have both screwed up because Rae is on your side... he can't be wrong.

    If the Right is screaming loudest about Rae, he's probably our man.

    You sure know how to pick your leaders. Good luck with that.

    On the one hand, I wouldn't mind a quick dose of Rae for Canada, ensuring a Conservative majority for years thereafter. On the other hand, it'll give Conservatives carte blanche to screw up (a Canada-wide Harris effect, if you will). It's all pointless speculation, however, because Rae will never win if he runs.
    posted by Krrrlson at 6:46 PM on October 19, 2006


    A Conservative majority for years? Gahd, that would be the end of the nation.
    posted by five fresh fish at 7:09 PM on October 19, 2006


    crazycanuck - I remember the unions being angry about Rae at the time, but in vilifying him, they only ended up hurting themselves, their members -- and the rest of us poor and working class Ontarioans who were already doing worse than the unionised workers. They reacted so strongly to what were, in actuality, moderate steps to try to stave off serious government finance issues (stemming from the world recession and the spending of previous governments). They were angry at Rae, and they go their revenge, but they just left the province open for something far, far worse.

    There were only about 3 Rae days for schools a year - that's a 3 day pay cut. Under the Harris Tories, people on welfare saw a 20% cut. Teacher's pay was frozen the whole time the Tories were in office and their teaching hours increased. An entire generation of kids went through schools with no extracurricular activities - because their teachers wanted to show the government.

    The unions made a huge mistake in going so far with their opposition of Rae, and the rest of us paid for it. They needed to find a middle road; instead, they opposed the moderate government, and got the fanatics. Corrupt fanatics who not only vilified the poor, but also fleeced the public purse and should be facing theft charges, not running again for office.

    The NDP made mistakes, of course. They were in government for the first time - none of the ministers had any experience in their departments. But it wasn't Bob Rae who wrecked the provincial government, and he is still a man with some good ideas and who really cares about making Canadian government work.
    posted by jb at 6:51 AM on October 20, 2006


    A Conservative majority for years? Gahd, that would be the end of the nation.

    Same way I feel about an NDP majority.

    They needed to find a middle road; instead, they opposed the moderate government, and got the fanatics.

    If the NDP is moderate to you and the Tories are fanatics, how would you describe the other extreme, exactly?
    posted by Krrrlson at 11:09 AM on October 20, 2006


    I doubt the NDP would be quite so eager to make Canada a state, Krrrlson. They'd be a disaster in other ways, but selling us out isn't one of them.
    posted by five fresh fish at 12:05 PM on October 20, 2006


    You sure know how to pick your leaders. Good luck with that.

    I'm only half serious. Actually, I made the comment based on this story. I think it's Rae the Cons don't want to run against. I don't believe for a minute the memo was a leak.

    With Rae, the Liberals would draw on NDP support (and lose some too, but I think it would be a net gain)

    As for Ontario, don't underestimate a politicians ability to reinvent themselves. Many, in Canada, have taken a second kick at the can... some have done better than others. I think it would depend on who he surrounded himself with.

    I like what I've seen of Rae, and would be glad to see him lead the Liberals in the next election -- win or lose.
    posted by btwillig at 1:19 PM on October 20, 2006


    I doubt the NDP would be quite so eager to make Canada a state, Krrrlson. They'd be a disaster in other ways, but selling us out isn't one of them.

    I find that basing one's politics solely on opposition to the US is a good measure of intellectual maturity, especially considering our military capabilities and how our economy is structured. There are plenty of opportunities for the Tories to screw up, and I'm sure they'll take advantage of quite a few, but the whole "Harper will suspend habeas corpus, invade Iraq, herd brown people into camps, and force everyone to praise Jesus in hick accent" angle sounds ridiculous to me.
    posted by Krrrlson at 4:04 PM on October 20, 2006


    Sounds ridiculous to me, too. But don't let me puncture your strawman.

    I point to Harper's softwood lumber solution as an example of how he sells us out.
    posted by five fresh fish at 4:14 PM on October 20, 2006


    If the NDP is moderate to you and the Tories are fanatics, how would you describe the other extreme, exactly?

    Graduate students, obviously.
    posted by jb at 4:31 PM on October 20, 2006


    Ugh, Ignatieff. Total parachute candidate in my husband's riding. Maybe I'm wrong, but didn't he attempt to justify the use of torture? That's worse than the Tories - they may have been corrupt, but torture is just evil, in the actually evil I'm-not-just-using-this-as-a-word-to-describe-a-rude-store-clerk way, but actually criminal and wrong and against all that is moral and good. (Yes, always.)
    posted by jb at 4:35 PM on October 20, 2006


    Sounds ridiculous to me, too. But don't let me puncture your strawman.

    More power to you then, but reading some comments from the election thread and hearing about the idiotic outbursts of a certain member of freaking parliament, I really think that it's not a straw man with many Canadians.

    I point to Harper's softwood lumber solution as an example of how he sells us out.

    The Conservatives were under tremendous pressure to produce a solution -- I certainly got the impression that it was seen as the first major test of the new government. In that light, it's not a fair example, especially since it's highly doubtful that someone else could have reached a better deal. Several more years of litigation would have harmed the industry even more.

    If this becomes a pattern, you'll have a point. Until then, I haven't seen Harper rushing to embrace missile defense or much else of the sort.
    posted by Krrrlson at 5:59 PM on October 20, 2006


    hearing about the idiotic outbursts of a certain member of freaking parliament

    Hells bells, don't talk about my MP that way! Darryl can't help it. We have to make allowances for his disabilities.
    posted by five fresh fish at 9:12 PM on October 20, 2006


    There are plenty of opportunities for the Tories to screw up, and I'm sure they'll take advantage of quite a few, but the whole "Harper will suspend habeas corpus, invade Iraq, herd brown people into camps, and force everyone to praise Jesus in hick accent" angle sounds ridiculous to me.

    The Tory government will introduce new legislation next week that would make it easier to designate criminals found guilty of a third sexual or violent crime as dangerous offenders, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday.

    Yes, for third-time convicts, they'd like to make indeterminate sentences the default. But nooo, not looking to go the way of Bush at all. Terrorism isn't their particular goat, but "tough on crime" is. Same effect on liberties.
    posted by dreamsign at 10:52 PM on October 20, 2006


    That's not so much the way of Bush as the way of California, isn't it?

    The problem with Harper isn't that he wants to be Bush, but that he wants to be American. He's in support of a number of ideas that are strickingly counter to our Canadian traditions.

    My consolation is that the asshole isn't likely to be in power for long.
    posted by five fresh fish at 9:04 AM on October 21, 2006


    Terrorism isn't their particular goat, but "tough on crime" is. Same effect on liberties.

    In Toronto, for instance, gun crime and gang violence have been making the headlines so much lately that I'm sure tougher measures will be welcomed by many.

    How are your liberties going to be affected? Are you a two-time convict in danger of strike 3?

    He's in support of a number of ideas that are strickingly counter to our Canadian traditions.

    You mean overtaxed pseudo-socialism that cannot possibly keep working as our population grows? Or meaningless "neutral" foreign policy statements we make every now and again even though no one really cares?
    posted by Krrrlson at 10:29 AM on October 21, 2006


    c/strickingly/strikingly/

    Although strickingly does look like a useful sort of word.

    How are your liberties going to be affected? Are you a two-time convict in danger of strike 3?

    What a defective worldview that indicates. Things are only bad if they're going to personally affect you?

    California has already proven that three strikes is an asinine system. Why on earth would we wish to use it? What's next, using Diebold election machines?
    posted by five fresh fish at 1:42 PM on October 21, 2006


    And a sincere question for you, Krrrlson: why do you remain in Canada? It seems to me that much of what Canadians have traditionally aimed to achieve runs contrary to the ideas you have wrt the way things should be.

    Wouldn't you be happier living in a country that is more supportive of your ideals?
    posted by five fresh fish at 1:44 PM on October 21, 2006



    You mean overtaxed pseudo-socialism that cannot possibly keep working as our population grows?


    Its good to see you acknowledge that our overtaxed pseudo-socialism works and has worked. Now, I look forward to your concise analysis of why, given your acknowledgment it has worked through population growth in the past, it would stop in the future. Indeed, what economic mechanism might you have in mind to posit an inverse relationship between population growth and the success of "over-taxed pseudo-socialism"?
    posted by Rumple at 1:50 PM on October 21, 2006


    A nice little article on Harper, written by an American.
    posted by five fresh fish at 2:45 PM on October 21, 2006


    Things are only bad if they're going to personally affect you?

    Actually, I fail to see how it will affect anyone who hasn't had multiple convictions. Forgive me for my lack of sympathy towards violent offenders.

    And a sincere question for you, Krrrlson: why do you remain in Canada? It seems to me that much of what Canadians have traditionally aimed to achieve runs contrary to the ideas you have wrt the way things should be.

    Excuse me, Supreme Arbiter of Canadian Tradition, but there is a Canada of 10-12 years ago that I found an excellent place to live, and I remain here despite the continued efforts of the federal and provincial governments to screw it up (or, more accurately, fail to ensure its continuation). Would you care to specify what these mystical traditional values are that run so contrary to my backwards fascist mind?

    Now, I look forward to your concise analysis of why, given your acknowledgment it has worked through population growth in the past, it would stop in the future.

    I don't see where I acknowledged anything of the sort, and your statement is silly in its own right -- if it's worked once, it'll always work, eh?

    My claim is based on the overwhelming evidence of increasing failure of public health, education, and other social services in light of population growth. In order to achieve previous levels of service, we would have to pump a quantity of money into the system that we can no longer afford, even with overtaxing. On the contrary, with our half-assed attempts to keep the dead horse going without any drastic reforms, we get negative feedback where we create an unfavourable environment for economic development and limit tax revenue.
    posted by Krrrlson at 2:50 PM on October 21, 2006


    I may well pose the same question to you -- Canada is clearly not socialist enough or anti-American enough for you. Why, the fuckers dared elect a Conservative government! Why not head over to a warmer political climate?
    posted by Krrrlson at 2:55 PM on October 21, 2006


    Actually, population growth is the best thing for the social welfare system. It has nothing to do with the overall size of the population - many larger countries like Britain do quite well, despite the fact that Britain has twice as many people.

    In fact, the greatest danger to the social welfare, health and social security system is a stagnant population, because that means more older and retired people for the number of working people. We need more population growth, either babies or young immigrants, to get our population profile back into a nice pyramid shape, with lots of working age Canadians to support the older Canadians.
    posted by jb at 6:03 PM on October 21, 2006


    My claim is based on the overwhelming evidence of increasing failure of public health, education, and other social services in light of population growth

    Do you have any evidence for this whatsoever, that doesn't come from the scare mongering media? I realise that "the sky is falling" always sells newspapers/raises tv ratings, but I didn't realise anyone with an ounce of intelligence fell for it. We have more health services today than when my mother was a child, more education - children learn more in schools and a lot more people go to univeristy. I read about this some years ago, but in the 1960s many fewer Canadians went to university than Americans proportionally, something like 10-20% vs 30%, but now it's moved up closer to 30% (or more?) in Canada.

    We don't have to pump anymore money per person into the system to serve the growing number of people. Something like health care costs have increased, but you can blame that on progress. If the scientists would stop inventing expensive life-saving technologies, it would all be cheaper. Also, we are living longer - older people with long retirements and possibly also chronic health problems do cost the system a lot more money than people who nicely drop dead at 65. (Actually, a few years ago a study in Britain found that smokers saved money for the National Health care system, because instead of living full into old age, and then having a wasting disease like Alzheimers, they died earlier and more quickly of things like lung cancer - cancer is expensive to treat, but over so quickly that it's an overall savings. It's horrible, but true.)

    So if you really wanted to save money for the system, you would want more babies and more young immigrants, and euthanasia at 65. I think I have a Carnival tent I'm not using.
    posted by jb at 6:13 PM on October 21, 2006


    In fact, the greatest danger to the social welfare, health and social security system is a stagnant population, because that means more older and retired people for the number of working people. We need more population growth, either babies or young immigrants, to get our population profile back into a nice pyramid shape, with lots of working age Canadians to support the older Canadians.

    Firstly, don't confuse an idealized social welfare system with our bloated bureaucracy. Secondly, where are these young people going to work if there is insufficient incentives for businesses to come to Canada?

    Do you have any evidence for this whatsoever, that doesn't come from the scare mongering media?

    Right, it's the media's fault. You alone know that everything is just fine. How much of, say, this article is "scaremongering" and how much is a statement of fact? Judging by your words, you know that news like this crops up fairly regularly. What good is having more health services if they cannot be provided to those who need them? ER wait times, doctor shortages, waiting periods for MRI and other complicated procedures... all a fabrication of the media, yes?

    Education-wise, our universities are sadly underfunded in comparison to their American counterparts and tuition has to rise to compensate for this.
    posted by Krrrlson at 8:42 PM on October 21, 2006


    where are these young people going to work if there is insufficient incentives for businesses to come to Canada?

    Gosh, yes... why, that must be why Canada's economy has been booming for the past decade.

    Why on earth do you try to bluster us with your bullshit? Your lies are absolutely transparent.
    posted by five fresh fish at 9:27 PM on October 21, 2006


    I've lived in three different countries in the last six years, Canada, the US and the UK. The best health service I've had has been in Canada, followed closely by the UK, and the service I received from private health care in the US was substantially behind. Of course, if I return to the US with my husband, he will have no health care whatsoever (since my workplace will not cover spouses).

    The Star article is just more bellyaching. Yes, of course health care could be better. Health care can always be better. Canada also spends about 1/2 per person what is spent in the US. But god forbid we raise taxes to pay for it. At least I know that no matter how bad Canadian waiting rooms are, at least we all can get the healthcare we need, which is more than 15% or more of Americans can say. And our health outcomes (infant mortality, life expectancy) show that. We should better the service, but that takes a committment on behalf of all Canadians to invest in the system; yet those who bellyache the most seem the least willing to contribute.

    Ontario tuition has increased, but nothing like the increases south of the border, because they are funded far worse than Canadian universities. An education at a Canadian university is still cheaper, even paying full international fees, than many state universities in the United States.

    ------------

    The social welfare system has some serious problems, and they will get worse, but you have shown that you not only do not understand the causes, but have fixated on the complete opposite of the source of the problems.

    What I'm saying about population is based on what every demographer knows: the structure of the population of the first world is changing. Population in Canada used to be as it is in the developing world - more young people than old. It was like a pyramid. Because of increased lifespans and falling birthrates, that pyramid is a lot more top heavy now, and that means a higher proportion of retired people (who draw on social security and health care) to working people (paying the bulk of the taxes). There are problems here, but population growth is not the problem. It is one possible solution -- such as opening up immigration to young working age people from around the world.

    fff - they aren't lies. I think he actually believes this. It saddens me that someone can have so little understanding of the social welfare system works, and yet still believe themself to be informed. I know that I am ignorant about many things, and it helps me learn.
    posted by jb at 4:22 PM on October 22, 2006


    But god forbid we raise taxes to pay for it.

    What's the maximum level of taxation you'd be comfortable with?

    at least we all can get the healthcare we need

    No, we can't, that's the point. If people are dying in emergency rooms and going south of the border to pay for an MRI, then we are not all getting the healthcare we need.

    We should better the service, but that takes a committment on behalf of all Canadians to invest in the system; yet those who bellyache the most seem the least willing to contribute.

    I would not bitch if my tax money were not being wasted. As it stands now, we keep throwing money at the problem and the quality of service keeps dropping. What's the conclusion here?

    An education at a Canadian university is still cheaper, even paying full international fees, than many state universities in the United States.

    Even with the current levels of tuition, university facilities in Canada are way, way behind America, leaving our students disadvantaged in research options and quality of instruction. These days, funding barely gives enough to grow while sustaining current standards; improvement is out of the question. And where is the money from increased funding going to come from?

    The social welfare system has some serious problems, and they will get worse...

    The social welfare system is seriously broken, and unless some radical changes are made, it will not get better ever again. Higher taxation in particular will mask the problem in the short-term, but make things even worse in the long term. Time will tell which one of us is right.

    ...but you have shown that you not only do not understand the causes, but have fixated on the complete opposite of the source of the problems.

    If you say so.

    Gosh, yes... why, that must be why Canada's economy has been booming for the past decade.

    The majority of our economy is providing goods and services to the US. Even today, when our economic growth outpaces that of the US, numerous young professionals head south after failing to find jobs here. What will happen during the next US recession, which, given America's spending practices lately, is likely to come soon?

    Why on earth do you try to bluster us with your bullshit? Your lies are absolutely transparent.

    Why on earth do you keep arguing with me then? Or, more accurately, why do you keep insulting me, since that's all your arguments generally amount to?
    posted by Krrrlson at 5:51 PM on October 22, 2006


    Er, excuse me? You are the one that took us down this path. You're the one that pulled out the vulgarities and insults.
    posted by five fresh fish at 8:14 PM on October 22, 2006


    Care to point out my "vulgarities and insults?" After you suggested I get the hell out of Canada, the closest I came to insulting you was calling you a "Supreme Arbiter of Canadian Tradition" (you never did answer my question, though). After this, you said I was a bullshitter and a liar.

    I guess it's no wonder that you can delude yourself about the socio-economic situation in Canada given how easily you delude yourself about the words on the screen in front of you.
    posted by Krrrlson at 11:00 PM on October 22, 2006


    I said "get the hell out of Canada"? An admin simply must have deleted it; I can't find confirmation of your claim in this thread.

    I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and simply apologize. I'm sorry, Krrrlson, for telling you to get the hell out of Canada.
    posted by five fresh fish at 11:29 PM on October 22, 2006


    Even with the current levels of tuition, university facilities in Canada are way, way behind America, leaving our students disadvantaged in research options and quality of instruction. These days, funding barely gives enough to grow while sustaining current standards; improvement is out of the question. And where is the money from increased funding going to come from?

    Are you comparing Canadian universities, which are all state/public universities, with only American state universities, or with American private universities? Because comparing state and private is like comparing apples and oranges. Yes, the private universities have better for research and more small class instruction, as well as incalcuable opportunities in the forms of social networks and cultural capital. (I would say that in many cases the actual quality of the instruction is the same, not better and sometimes worse, than a public Canadian university, and I say that as one of the teachers, as well as a student). But those same private universities are also incredibly expensive to attend, waste a great deal of money trying to attract students to up their ratings, and do not have students who are as economically diverse as a Canadian public university.*

    The majority of American university students do not attend well funded universities (mostly private, though some are public - and all charging hirer tuition than Canadian universities). What I see in American tertiary education is a small minority of very well funded universities, a large group of universities with similar service to students as one would find in a university in Ontario, and another large group (larger? I don't know) of universities and two year colleges which are worse funded than Ontario universities, and offer fewer opportunities to their students than a Canadian university. York University may not be as respected as a research institution as Yale University, but it offers more research and learning opportunities than the University of Southern Connecticut, though York serves students from similar social economic backgrounds as UofSC. By serving these people (and giving them a solid education that can lead to graduate school anywhere, if they want it), I believe that York delivers more educational bang for the buck than somewhere like Yale.

    (Also, I think you may overestimate some of the "university facilities" at well-funded American universities. Graduate students in history at York have offices; graduate students at Yale do not, even when teaching, and the main library has shorter hours than the University of Toronto. Scholarship support at Yale is much better, but that is not true at all well-funded US universities.)

    It seems to me that the United States just has more disparity in its tertiary education than Canada. It's excellence in research is offered only to a tiny minority of people. As much as I would like to see Canadian universities grow in their research potential, I would not want them to do so by neglecting their educational calling to provide solid tertiary education to a wide swath of Canadians. More than just making Canadians on average more educated, I think it does open up social mobility and opportunities for people with ability and the desire to work.

    Also, having followed the debates on university admittance and fairness in both the US and the UK, I think that Canada is really lucky that there is less disparity between our institutions and the opportunities that they provide (both educational and in terms of social and cultural capital, which may matter more than education in the end). We don't have to worry about national exams or admittance procedures, because we have far more places at our best universities, compared to our population. And from those solid universities, you really can go anywhere in the world.

    I am biased in this - all of my opportunities for a life that does not involve flipping fries (and now I am looking at many opportunities) are due to my education at a Canadian public university.

    I think that Canadian universities do need to focus on building endowments to increase their own funding, though it will take a cultural change amongst Canadians (who, like the British, don't have the tradition of alumni donations that the Americans do). Aside from increasing the amount of funding available for both research and education, it could help to buffer universities from political fashions (the ups and downs of university funding having been particularly disruptive in the past 15 years).

    Actually, Oxbridge in the UK is the worst - the two universities neither serve a diverse group of students, nor are they particularly well-funded in terms of faculty salaries, labs, graduate support, etc. They do offer a very low faculty-student ratio, but necessarily the best teaching methods, and waste a great deal money. They really need to look at management practice from Canada and the US - or even from other UK universities.

    --------------

    on to health care:

    Of course, I think it is shocking when Canadians don't get the health care they need. But that is a rare occurence, that's why it is news. Not receiving treatment is an everyday occurence elsewhere, including in the US. Because the media only ever focuses on the failures of our health care system, no one ever hears about the sucesses -- and I think that is leading to a unbalanced understanding of our health care system among the people (the voters) who are directing where it does. Our health care system is creaking, but not broken. You will know when it is broken - and that's when it starts being like the American health system, which itself is still better than elsewhere in the world.

    For example - waiting times for hip and knee replacements. They are longer in Canada than in the US, and this is serious, and everyone in the health care system, especially those who study or treat arthritis, are trying to reduce them. (The replacements are not life-saving, but they are vastly life--improving). This has been in the news. But what the news didn't talk about are how the waiting lists in the US don't even include all of the people who need that procedure - just the ones who can afford it. That, to me, is a much more broken system.

    Much of the media also pushes an agenda which says that the only way to reduce waiting times is to go private. This, however, goes against research and reality. Britain has gone half private; waiting times have increased.

    It's not the lack of private services, it's that the American system simply does not serve as many people proportionally, and they spend a great deal more - about twice as much per person. The Canadian system is actually more efficient, as found by a study in the New England Journal of Medicine -- the Canadians spend less money on overheads and administration. So to get the same service out, we do need to spend more, but not as much as the Americans per person.

    --------------

    I care a great deal about our social services system. I think it is what us civilized, the fact that we try to care for all in society, it is what draws the line between us and the middle ages.

    But I think it's really important to understand how it actually works, and what we are complaining about, so that we can fix it effectively.

    As for how much tax I'm willing to pay? I'm not going to lie and say I don't privately gripe every April as I do up my taxes. Everyone does. But I also remember that I owe my life and my education to that system, and that I owe back more than I can ever pay. So I gripe quietly, and I pay. It's what I do to support the society which has given me so much - a peaceful and healthy childhood, educational opportunities, a peaceful and not crime ridden but prosperous place to be an adult.

    I do think that people should pay according to their ability. 15% of $10,000 is far more money to that person than 15% of $30,000. I think that everyone in the country (in the world) should be able to afford a place to live, nutritional food and essentials, and to have the opportunity for a good life. If someone's ability to pay for their housing is threatened by their tax burden, that tax is too high.

    But it's a balance, just like business taxes. Business taxes which actually make companies lose money are too high. But when banks are posting record profits, I think they can afford to pay back to the government which makes it possible for them to make that profit (by providing them with a healthy and educated workforce - both directly to them, and to all the other businesses which drive the economy - and a society ruled by law. Bank profits would go down a great deal in anarchy).
    posted by jb at 6:47 AM on October 23, 2006


    Just for the record - attending a not particularly prestigious Canadian university, I didn't feel "disadvantaged in research options and quality of instruction" versus my friends and colleagues who have attended prestigious American universities, except in ways that no one could do anything about, ie. my economic situation. I couldn't afford to do anything like a year abroad for intensive language instruction, for instance, or to take a summer off from working for the free Canadian French programs, and this has been limiting in my career (though I could have worked around it with effort). But those opportunities were there, if I had had the money, and the same is true in the US.
    posted by jb at 6:53 AM on October 23, 2006


    I fail to see how it will affect anyone who hasn't had multiple convictions.

    Wow, serves me right for giving up this thread for dead.

    I fail to see how de rigeur unjust sentencing is not a dark day for Canada as a whole. Or do you think that it would stop there? If criminals don't deserve to know when they're getting out, maybe they don't deserve other things. Maybe they don't deserve to be present at their trial. Or for it to be speedy. They're guilty, after all. Make no mistake, a lot of people give as much of a damn about the charged as they do the convicted, and the whole "tough on crime" stance takes its power from the quick-and-easy judgment of a stranger.

    Harper resembles more than just California because -- I believe -- he's willing to suspend liberties to a much greater degree to fulfill his black/white version of the world.
    posted by dreamsign at 8:44 AM on October 23, 2006


    Sorry, I should let this go, but this is my degree of disbelief -- you don't see throwing convicts into a black hole one step on the road to Guantanamo? Or do places like that not matter cause good people don't end up there?
    posted by dreamsign at 9:09 AM on October 23, 2006


    But that is a rare occurence, that's why it is news. Not receiving treatment is an everyday occurence elsewhere, including in the US.

    The issue is not the frequency of occurrences, but the increase in frequency. Also, you cite a lot of failings of the American system. I am not advocating that we adopt it, nor am I saying it is better than what we have. I am saying that the performance of our system is degrading steadily and it is not likely to improve without some fundamental reforms.

    It appears that the main concern with privatization is the fear that less funding and attention will go to the services which remain public. But at the same time, it is ridiculous to deny private health care to those who want it and see that the public system cannot fill their needs -- it's like saying "I can't help you, and I won't let you get help." Especially since such people are likely to reduce the load on the public services by going to private providers. I'm sure that there is a way to implement this without letting the public system wither. I believe the shortcomings of private and semi-private systems in other parts of the world stem from poor implementation, not from inherent flaws.

    Just for the record - attending a not particularly prestigious Canadian university, I didn't feel "disadvantaged in research options and quality of instruction" versus my friends and colleagues who have attended prestigious American universities, except in ways that no one could do anything about, ie. my economic situation.

    I studied in the US but have worked quite a bit in a university research environment in Canada -- I have also had substantial exposure to the labs and facilities in both countries and have heard the testimony of many friends. I can say that, in my field, there is a very big difference in facilities available in the top-tier schools across the border.

    Also, we do have some disparity between top-tier and bottom-tier schools -- it's just less apparent because we have far fewer universities than the US. At the moment, our lower disparity means that our worst schools aren't quite as bad as American schools, but unfortunately it also means that our best schools lack the tools necessary to be at the cutting edge of research and education. Finally, my bet is that our tuition rates will eventually start to approach American private rates in order for our universities to maintain their current quality and expand to accomodate larger numbers of students.

    Finally, as far as taxation goes, I have no qualms about paying taxes per se (as long as I make a decent living, I have no desire to pull in obscene amounts of money). What I resent is that my tax money is being wasted through inefficiency and bureaucratic overhead, which grow every time we throw money at the problems in our social services without implementing the reforms necessary to correct these problems. It remains to be seen whether the Conservatives will own up to their name and attempt fiscal responsibility and "small government," but I can think of some parties that definitely won't.


    I said "get the hell out of Canada"? An admin simply must have deleted it; I can't find confirmation of your claim in this thread.

    First you accuse me of bringing vulgarities and insults into the thread, and, when called on your lie, you hide behind semantics. I think this is a good time to end our conversations, and I do hope you have better luck trolling elsewhere.

    I fail to see how de rigeur unjust sentencing is not a dark day for Canada as a whole. Or do you think that it would stop there? If criminals don't deserve to know when they're getting out, maybe they don't deserve other things. Maybe they don't deserve to be present at their trial. Or for it to be speedy.

    It's your slippery slope, we just live in it.
    posted by Krrrlson at 8:08 PM on October 23, 2006


    I can say that, in my field, there is a very big difference in facilities available in the top-tier schools across the border.

    That's definitely true, but I still say that you can't compare them directly (because of the big difference between public and private). I think a better comparison for Canadian universities would be to Britain, where they have a completely public university system. Or talking about how our universities can increase their funding (e.g. through alumni donation and endowment building), while not foresaking their educational responsibilities. I do wish that our universities had more support (and I vote for this whenever I'm given a choice), but I don't want them to change what they do well.

    But at the same time, it is ridiculous to deny private health care to those who want it and see that the public system cannot fill their needs -- it's like saying "I can't help you, and I won't let you get help."

    We aren't denying people help - we are saying that they will have to wait their turn, and that their spot in the queue will be determined by their actual health need, not their money. If you had two little girls who needed a liver transplant, would you let the healthier but richer one buy a liver, while the other has to wait longer, even if she was sicker? (Yes, I know that's a "think of the children" type example, but that is exactly what partial or complete privatization means).

    Because the patients would not be leaving the health care system as a whole, they would just be taking resources (doctor hours, hospital services, etc) out of the public system.

    It's a zero-sum game. We have a limited number of doctor hours in Canada - for every private patient that gets their two hour or six hour appointment this week through the private system, that's a public patient that can't have an appointment and has to wait even longer.

    This is exactly what has happened in Britain - partial privatization has increased NHS wait times. If you need to see a doctor, he or she will offer to see you in six months on the NHS, or next week privately. Same doctor - and they are doing their practice in publically supported hospitals. The number of doctor hours available for NHS has dropped, because there aren't any additional doctors
    in the country since they went private. They just now do less work for the NHS.

    To give a hypothetical example, if there was once 100 doctor hours available for 100 people, now there are 40 private doctor hours for 20 private patients, and 60 doctor hours for the other 80 people still with the public health care. Quality of health care goes up for a rich minority, but at the expense of the majority. And in Britain, this has become very clear - the majority of people have seen their health care go down in quality, and the health care outcomes (mortality, morbidity, etc) show this objectively.

    If we seriously want to reduce wait times, we need to increase the number of doctors available in Canada. That means increasing the number of places at medical schools (since qualified applicants still far outstrip the places) and fast-tracking immigrant doctors to be certified.

    But lobbyists for privatisation are not truthful when they say they want to better the public system; they are supported by private health care interests in both Canada and the US. Some might try to argue that because more money would be coming in, there would be more doctors, but this is not true. We already have far more qualified people who apply to medical school than are accepted; Britain has not seen a big increase in doctors, just a decrease in the numbers of hours doctors are willing to work for the NHS.

    It remains to be seen whether the Conservatives will own up to their name and attempt fiscal responsibility and "small government," but I can think of some parties that definitely won't.

    I think all of us can agree that waste in government spending is bad - along with corruption. But what worries me is that people seem to rely more on media stereotypes and party propaganda to judge the political parties on these issues than on what they actually do while in office.

    You seem like an intelligent person. Surely you must realise that the "tax and spend" NDP were ousted out of office for trying to balance the provincial budget during the recession (I don't know if they were sucessful, but at least they tried). Whereas the suposedly "fiscally conservative" Ontario Tories not only were not even fiscally conservative - they created more deficit during a world-wide economic boom - but showed far greater wastage and outright corruption in the provincial finances.

    Fiscals conservatives should be aghast at the Ontario Tories claiming to be acting in their name; they acted like the current Republican party in the US, which has completely wrecked the American finances. (In fact, apparently the Republicans have not been fiscally conservative for over 30 years - I had heard that every Republican president since Regan, except maybe George Bush Sr, has increased the debt and deficit).

    I can respect true fiscal conservatives, even if I disagree with them (in that I think that public spending is a worthy investment, from which we all receive incalcuable dividends). But they are good to have around; someone has to be watching the account balance, because we don't want to be in debt.

    What disgusts me are lying politicians who use the excuse of "fiscal conservatism" take money out of health care, education and social services not to keep the government's books balanced, but to fleece their own and their friends' pockets (like selling off power plants below market rate, selling Highway 407 instead of keeping the tolls to make money to pay for its construction - and in the end, the drivers just paid higher tolls to a private company). This is outright corruption, and should be vilified as such (and criminally prosecuted). And they don't even do what they say -- they don't balance the books. They break the system and make things even worse. The public has to then pay back the money that they stole. And the whole time, they go one and on about how "fiscally responsible" they are, lying through their teeth, and so many people believe them. It's pure propaganda, lies, and destructive lies that gets people to vote for exactly the sort of people who will continue to cheat and steal and lie.

    I don't know what the current federal Tories are doing right now, since I haven't been in Canada since before they were elected, but I don't trust them to be actually fiscally conservative until I see the results.

    The problem is that while the accounts don't lie, the politicians do, and the media doesn't seem to even care.
    posted by jb at 9:37 AM on October 24, 2006


    Sorry, that's a really long comment, and I should have broken it up more with lines or something.
    posted by jb at 9:38 AM on October 24, 2006


    Because the patients would not be leaving the health care system as a whole, they would just be taking resources...

    If a proper system of checks and balances were introduced in a system with limited privatization, I believe it would be possible to ensure that the resources of the public system are not compromised. We certainly cannot have anyone buy their way through a transplant queue, but if there is a company out there willing to offer, say, MRI services using their own equipment and staff, how would this hurt the overloaded public system? If the number of doctors is the limiting factor, then allow privatized services in those parts of the system where the bottleneck is equipment availability and not doctor availability. With appropriate regulations and incentives, it will be possible to ensure that doctors do not overly favour the private system.

    I agree that most privatization lobbyists probably have financial gain in mind rather than public benefit, but why should a potentially good idea go to waste because of it?


    Whereas the suposedly "fiscally conservative" Ontario Tories not only were not even fiscally conservative - they created more deficit during a world-wide economic boom - but showed far greater wastage and outright corruption in the provincial finances.

    No one is arguing that the Ontario Tories lived up to their promises, which is partly why my faith in the federal Conservatives is quite limited. Nonetheless, I don't subscribe to the whole "Harper is the devil" or "Harper is Bush" philosophy -- if anything stems from an over-reliance on the media and on party propaganda, this does. As it stands right now, the Conservatives are very limited in what they do by the nature of the minority government. If they survive to win another election with a majority, we'll truly be able to see how well (or how horribly) they do.
    posted by Krrrlson at 5:54 PM on October 24, 2006


    but if there is a company out there willing to offer, say, MRI services using their own equipment and staff, how would this hurt the overloaded public system?

    If that were possible, it wouldn't hurt the public system - and it already is going on. There are many medical services which are already private - labs, I believe, are one example - and even in the doctor's office, the receptionists, assistants and nurses are hired privately by that doctor. (Not really the most efficient system actually - it leads to higher costs, wastage and a lot of duplication - one or two doctors in practice together have one waiting room, one or two assistants, etc. As opposed to a clinic where there is one waiting room for 5 or 6 doctors, with maybe two or three assistants. Throw in the use of Nurse Practitioners for all but the most serious cases, and you could really save money. There is are good fiscal reasons American healthcare is moving toward an HMO model, which is very centralised, more so than our own public healthcare in Ontario.)

    But the bottle neck on something like MRIs really is the people. We might have a shortage on machines (someone told me this wasn't so, but maybe it's changed), but we definitely have a shortage on technitcians.

    Interestingly, I've heard the reason that we have a shortage on MRI is because we don't have enough gunshot victims. MRIs are useful, but not lifesaving, to someone with a pulled muscle. But where they really save lives is for gunshot victims, and that's why the American hospitals have so many more.
    posted by jb at 3:45 AM on October 25, 2006


    "Harper is Bush" philosophy

    Actually, Harper has himself shown a great affinity for the current Republican administration, hiring people who have worked for them as campaign strategists, using their rhetorical strategies and praising the current American "conservative" movement as an example to Canadian conservatives.

    Harper is clearly not Bush; he's a much better speaker, for one, and I think is a shrewder thinker. But he does agree with many of the current American adminstrations policies, and he definitely is taking plays from their playbook.

    And if you asked him whether he would like to see Canada become even closer (economically, diplomatically, possibly even militarily) to the US (something which I seriously disagree with - you don't get in beds with elephants), I doubt that he would deny this. The only thing he's done that would suggest otherwise is to support the patrolling of the North West Passage (so essential to maintain soverignty up there, and it might already be too late).
    posted by jb at 3:51 AM on October 25, 2006


    I guess we'll see.
    posted by Krrrlson at 10:08 PM on October 25, 2006


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