Doug Ford is plotting to privatize our healthcare—and Scheer won’t stop him

Jun 04, 2019

There’s nothing Canadians cherish more than our public, “medicare for all” health system.

Unlike in the United States, Canadians don’t have to worry about taking out their credit card in the emergency room or that major illness could bankrupt their family.

Universal healthcare is so popular, you’d think that no politician would want to undermine it—but you’d be wrong. In Ontario, Andrew Scheer’s close friend and ally Doug Ford has been secretly plotting with big corporate special interests to privatize healthcare services. As reported by Toronto Star journalist Bob Hepburn:

“Secretly ... a major multifaceted campaign is underway inside and outside the premier's office to develop a two-tier system of health care in Ontario, complete with specialized private clinics and the ability of some doctors to charge more than standard rates for medical procedures they perform outside of a public hospital or health centre.

The campaign is filled with closed-door meetings at such places as the Albany Club, a longtime Conservative bastion in downtown Toronto, and is funded by some of Canada's largest corporations. If successful, this privatization push could ultimately have a profound effect on every patient and resident in Ontario, including how long they must wait for specialized operations and diagnostic services and how much they must pay out of their own pockets.”

What would a “yes man” to Doug Ford in the PMO mean for our healthcare?

While provinces have jurisdiction over health care funding, it’s ultimately the Prime Minister’s job to defend the principals of the Canada Health Act—the law enshrines the right of every Canadian to free, universal healthcare.

If Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives are elected in October, Doug Ford will have a “yes man” in the Prime Minister’s office who will do nothing to stop his drive towards a two-tiered, US-style healthcare system in Ontario. In fact, Andrew Scheer has openly admitted that he and Ford are working towards the same goals and has said Ford’s “policies put people first.”

Canadian “medicare for all” under threat from corporate interests

The Star’s Bob Hepburn has also reported that “major financial interests in Toronto are quietly supporting a controversial lawsuit by Dr. Brian Day of Vancouver, founder of the private Cambie Surgery Centre, who has brought a constitution challenge to B.C.'s restriction to private health care. The case is now before the B.C. Supreme Court and is expected to land eventually before the Supreme Court of Canada. These interests are reportedly ramping up an $8-million war chest to help fund Day's court cases.”

According the Star’s reporting, these well-connected interests “are also planning to launch a major campaign portraying our current system as inefficient and overpriced. Insurance firms are excited about the possibility of increased private health care. They see huge profits in offering corporations private insurance programs for employees who visit private clinics and who must pay more than OHIP currently covers for services and treatments.”

Can you imagine a Prime Minister — like Andrew Scheer — who would do nothing to stand up to these special interests trying to bring private, Americanized health care to Canada?

Scheer’s team held $250 a ticket fundraiser on the “business of healthcare”

You should be particularly concerned that these efforts to undermine Canadian universal healthcare are coming at a time Andrew Scheer and his Conservatives are leading in the polls and could form a government in Ottawa this fall.

In April, senior members of Scheer’s team, including potential finance minister Pierre Poilievre, held a $250 a person fundraiser to talk about the “business of healthcare” over cocktails in Toronto. While it was dubbed a conversation to “reimagine” our healthcare system, Canadians know that’s code for one thing: privatization.

It’s clear that if Andrew Scheer becomes Prime Minister, he’s likely to say “yes” to wealthy interests trying to bring US-style private healthcare to Canada. And that means saying “no” to the kind of care you and your family rely on.

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