Media Distortion: Even the Master Media Tactician Jack Layton is Vulnerable

" - Layton softens stand on two-tier medicine:
Layton softens stand on two-tier medicine
Can't stop growth, NDP leader admits
Parties' differences blurring on private vs. public care"
"In a speech to supporters in Vancouver yesterday, Layton vowed that only the NDP would stop the "American-style" privatization of the health system.

But later his position blurred when he said his party would not act to close private clinics already in operation." Bruce Campion-Smith, The Toronto Star, 5 December 2005
The media really are masters at pouncing on the smallest word to distort the message. Since when is grandfathering existing clinics, one of which has been highly venerated for decades, a softening on health care? As Jack Layton pointed out,
"That's been available since medicare was established. That's a fundamental aspect of what Tommy Douglas established."
He remains committed to ensuring public funds go only to non-profit or public facilities, services, and doctors. And although he won't close down existing private clinics, he'll change the regulations so that they will not receive any more public funds. Whether I agree with his stand or not, is not the point. The point is that the media took "grandfathering" as meaning Layton is softening his stand on health care. Hardly. Ensuring only non-profit and publicly owned facilities receive tax dollars is not softening his stand. Ensuring people who've worked hard to set up private clinics do not suddenly find themselves out in the cold is not softening his stand. If he said he'd let private clinics receive tax dollars for their services, now that would be changing his stand.


On another note, I'm glad to see The Toronto Star has re-entered the real world and no longer requires me to register to read today's articles. It finally recognizes that people are willing to register only for so many things, and having to register to read today's paper is truly unreasonable.


Update: Thanks to Italics Mine for reminding me of the name of the hospital I was thinking of when I wrote this post. The Shouldice Hernia Centre does one thing and one thing very well and is a private hospital.

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Chimera said…
If you ever come acros another site that requires registration, try using this:

I have it posted to my sidebar on my site. It works about 95% of the time (it won't work if no one has posted a password).

On Layton's view of P3 health care -- I actually heard him say that if he or his wife were in a position of having to wait in line for essential care or go to a private clinic, that they would wait. The question was put to him by Peter Warren of the Corus Network, and it was worded very carefully (Peter mentioned hip replacement surgery, extreme pain, and a waiting period of 18 months -- as his wife had to wait for).

That doesn't seem to square with his agreeing to grandfather private clinics. Unless he is stating that he would wait the 18 months in line for public health care rather than go to an already existing private clinic in his area. And that just seems a little masochistic to me.

Or maybe political breakfasts have switched from pancakes to waffles...
talk talk talk said…
Thanks for the tip!

Tilting at Windmills has a good analysis of the NDP position on health care: and

Layton's answer to Warren seems to square with his position: he supports publicly-funded health care only. Private clinics paid for with private money, unsupported by tax dollars, have always been allowed, but as long as public health care worked well, they never really multiplied since the start of medicare. We're only hearing about them popping up now because of the breakdown in public health care and people demanding health care now. But if, like Layton, your ideology is to only support public care, then you will never go to a private clinic, no matter how much pain you're in. People do sacrifice for principles; this kind of sacrifice just happens to be a physical one. Now please pass the maple syrup while I wait. :P