Two Very Telling Reports Say The Same Thing


One report was published by the Fraser Institute, the other by the Wait Times Alliance, and both outlined a rather dire situation for people awaiting referral to a medical specialist for treatment, delays that haven’t lessened despite injections of cash from whatever level of government. Global News aired the first report and followed up with a personal account in an on-line piece posted here (video also available).

The sum of the two reports is that we’re trying to achieve different results by applying the same processes and thinking, a mode almost universally acknowledged to produce little other than frustration. The underlying message, the same delivered several times in word and deed by Dr. Brian Day, is that we should carve out a rôle for the private practice of medicine in order to reduce wait times.

Certainly wait times might shrink for those who could afford to jump to the private side of the medical equation, but it would certainly torpedo any notion of universality and would, above all, line the pockets of some physicians and the investors who would expect to reap a benefit from the work of some and the misery of others. Piling on another ten per cent for investor profit seems a strange way to get out of the cash crunch unless the intent is to eliminate access for some clients while expediting the draining of the bank accounts of others.

There is an interesting benchmark that the two studies seem to have set for purposes of comparison: the baseline year being 1993. For those with short memories, this is the period immediately preceding Paul Martin’s book-balancing feats, accomplished largely at the expense of transfer payments, and specifically the unravelling of the universal health care system. My mother had a hip replacement in 1994 and my father had bypass surgery the same year. I don’t think either of them had time to get a referral before the surgeries were done to remedy the condition; in neither case did even a week lapse before the intervention took place.

These two reports smack of yet another stab at introducing the same chaotic and dysfunctional system of medical delivery that we see in the U.S., and what the reports scream at high intensity is that greed is the primary motivator of both these organizations.



I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.


It’s not a knee-jerk to speak ill of the dead, but when we see the wave of only mildly restrained praise for Bill Bennett, the Mini-Wack, on the occasion of his passing, it raises a concomitant tide of bile over the lack of willingness to point out the influence that this “titan” had on the lives of British Columbians, as well as the downstream effects that his administration has had all across the country as part of the tide of trickle-down or supply-side economics that were very much coming into fashion during the reign of Bennett II.

Bennett was well-placed in 1975 to shovel dirt on the grave of the Barrett régime when labour turned on Bullchip Dave and the media of record were full of reports of the provincial economy coming apart at the seams, all of it directly attributable to the Barrett tax-and-spend, a social-worker-on-every-corner, communist-at-the-door reign of terror.

Bennett is being hailed as an architect of fiscal restraint, meaning that he set us on the road to privatization, the swiss cheesing of the social safety net, the comforting of the comfortable and the afflicting of the afflicted, and the environmental degradation of pretty much the whole province. Some of this came briefly into sharp focus during the turmoil of a possible general strike and the resulting sell-out by Jack Munro when, for a brief moment, there was a pretty clear picture of the number of the potential dispossessed and the possible power to be wielded through unity. Didn’t happen: cold feet, trust in false idols, lack of trust, Bennett was a clear winner, and we’ve (almost) all been losers ever since.

Bennett came from a position of privilege and did all to protect and enhance that position for himself and the small élite of his ilk, and he set a pattern for a succession of premiers who continued the good work of the Rockefeller Republicans. When a person makes life so much more difficult for so many people, any praise ought to be verrrry muted and couched in the context of the deeds done.


February 1, 2016


Evidently, we’re not done praising Mr. Bennett. A memorial gathering was held this past weekend in Kelowna and much praise was heaped on the now-deceased Premier. I know this from hearing some tasty clips on CBC Radio’s On The Island, clips from a couple of my favourite people, Pattison and Spector, commenting that Bennett seemed tough, but that it was tough love and that he always had the interests of the people of BC at heart, in addition to which, he had a knack for telling the truth. Yes, yes he did care about keeping the people of BC in their place as contributors to the Pattison economy, and yes, yes he did tell the truth, exactly as dictated by folks like Pattison and Spector (Spector who worked tirelessly for the likes of Billy Bennett and Zalm, friend to Campbell and to that stirling example of moral rectitude, Brian Mulroney). These people are so generous that they would save us from the sin of greed by being taking on all the greed they can and showing us the true path of poverty and obedience. So now can we call it a day and let Bennett stay dead?