09 January 2006

Reality Check

Paul Martin tonight invoked the name of his father and Tommy Douglas, saying that it is unfathomable for Canadians to imagine building a health care system on a dollar a day. This is in reference to his number-crunching on the Tories' child-care plan. Funny thing about that, I'll turn it over to Mr. Douglas himself:
"Mr. Speaker, $50 per capita gives every man, woman and child . . . security from the cradle to the grave. It takes care of their doctor bills, dental bills, hospital bills, optometric care and appliances. The only thing for which there is a deterrent fee is drugs, and that is very small. It gives them unemployment insurance, baby bonuses, and pensions when they are physically disabled. It provides benefits in the event of death, and it provides adequate pensions for widows and their children. I say that if any government, of any country, can give its people that kind of security for less than $50 per capita, then it is worth the price, and many times over." Tommy Douglas, "Medicare: The Time to Take a Stand (1961), in Katherine Fierlbeck, ed., The Development of Political Thought in Canada, (Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2005), 120.

So it would seem that Mr. Douglas openly talked about not only a medicare system, but also EI, child care, pensions, and death benefits, for $50 a year. Now if I do my math, that works out to 13 cents per day. Just imagine what Douglas could have done with a full dollar per day!!!

Additionally, Martin said that Harper would have had Canadians in Iraq. This is something I've dealt with so many times now that it's not even funny anymore. If Martin were PM instead of Chretien, he would have done the exact same thing. Sheila Copps has said as much, Kinsella has posted a number of quotes saying as much, and Martin himself said that he couldn't fathom disarming Saddam without removing him from power, so draw your own conclusions there. Like I said before, it's all counterfactual because Harper wasn't the PM at the time!

Martin also promised to undergo a constitutional amendment to remove the federal government's ability to utilize the notwithstanding clause. Really? You want to open up that can of worms? Do you not remember how difficult it is to amend the Canadian Constitution? This is desperation in its absolute rawest form, because he is hoping to capitalize on the demonization of Section 33 of the Constitution when there is virtually no hope whatsoever that it could be done.

Paul Martin: "I don't believe that Canada was built on American conservative values." Hmm, given the number of conservative Americans who rejected the Revolution against the British and moved to Canada, not to mention the volume of British conservatives involved in the foundation of Canada, that's a highly debatable statement. To be sure, as Gad Horowitz has stated, "Canadian Conservatives have something British about them that American Republicans do not," but there is a strong tory foundation to Canada's origins that Martin conveniently overlooked this evening. I will again turn to Horowitz, who quoted Nelson in saying, "'the Tories' organic conservatism represented a current of thought that failed to reappear in America after the revolution. A substantial part of the whole spectrum of European . . . philosophy seemed to slip outside the American perspective.' But it reappeared in Canada." I'm terribly sorry, Mr. Martin, but what you choose to believe for the convenience of electoral labels in the middle of a losing campaign is out of whack with what many Canadian political theorists legitimately believe and more forcefully articulate than you can present to sway opinion.

2 comments:

Reg said...

Nice catch on the Douglas quote.

Blue Cross of California said...

The dollar a day health care system can be a great idea as it may be affordable by all and offer great coverage.