December 7, 2006

Canadian Context 2006.12.07

  • A Canadian evangelist denies he has special access to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

  • Harper recently initiated a motion to reopen the same-sex marriage debate. Mercifully, it was easily defeated in Parliament with MPs voting 175-123.

  • Harper's Conservative government is cutting a safe-tattoo program for federal prisoners, despite concerns the move will increase the spread of AIDS and hepatitis C.

  • Cam McCannell probes Tory values.

  • Allow me to introduce you to Stephane Dion, the new leader of Canada's federal Liberal Party (the official opposition party to the current minority Conservative government). But will he be as green as he claims to be?

  • Medication will be the second largest expense in Canadian health this year — second only to the cost of running hospitals. Broken down: physicians account for 13.1% of total health expenditure, hospitals 29.8% and drugs, both prescribed and non-prescribed, account for 17%. Canadians will spend an estimated $148 billion for health care by the end of 2006.

  • Hospital madness: Montreal's Lakeshore General Hospital quarantined several patients and shut down a ward to contain what officials believe could be an outbreak of the Norwalk virus. In London, Ontario, all surgeries were canceled at University Hospital after fears that medical instruments were contaminated with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (tests showed the fears were unfounded). And hospitals in Quebec are slow to respond to heart attack victims.
  • 1 comment:

    George said...

    Hi Martin,

    A couple of quick things come to mind.

    First, I think you're right about the bureaucracy. There are gross inefficiencies in the system that most Canadians are aware of -- and there have been repeated calls for reform (I believe a recent commission said as much). The system could be made much more efficient.

    But I also think that Canadians, unlike Americans, may be more inclined to opt into healthcare simply because the option is there to do it affordably. If you build a universal healthcare system, they will come. I have no statistics to back this claim, it's just a suspicion.