P-106: To encourage provinces and territories to “further experiment with different means of delivering universal health care utilizing both the public and private health sectors.”The motion was hardly ideological and I would argue was actually a very modest and pragmatic proposal that would have allowed the Conservatives to work towards ensuring Canadians actually *do* have universal access to health care (as opposed to universal access to waiting lists) without going so far as to controversially call for privatization of the system.
Kady O'Malley blogged at MacLeans on the policy sessions, and made an astute observation on the debate of the proposal on the floor:
[Stephen Fletcher spoke] against the resolution - and, as the former parliamentary secretary for health, I think that is the closest we’re going to get to a signal from PMO as to how the government feels about it.I think she's right there, and I have a hard time believing that that signal wasn't meant to tell the clapping seals and party hacks which way they were to vote on this motion. ("Grassroots?" Whats that?)
There's been a lot made of Harper coming out on Thursday to urge Conservatives not to let ideology get in the way of... whatever. Power or something. (After all, you can't make sure there's blue on the government websites without power!)
I'm not masochistic enough to kid myself into expecting Harper to call for smaller government or fiscal restraint, so I wasn't surprised at all. I also wasn't surprised to see a story this morning in the Toronto Star reporting that the Conservative government isn't opposed to bailing out the failing automotive companies.
What I am surprised by is the fact that while Conservatives won't let their ideology get in the way of bailing out dying and often mismanaged industries, they also won't let it encourage them to help dying Canadians.
So much for "compassionate conservatism."
This is a copy of my post at The Shotgun Blog.