July 28, 2009
The Greatest Canadian of Them All

Most sentient Americans have heard the bleatings from the medical industry, repeated endlessly for half a century, about the unspeakable horrors of the Canadian medical system.

Those of us who are even marginally skeptical will have dismissed this nonsense long since as the paid propaganda it is. Others may find the list below of interest. Or not, since for most of them anything said loudly enough and often enough must be true.

Anyway, the list:

1. Tommy Douglas
2. Terry Fox
3. Pierre Elliott Trudeau
4. Sir Frederick Banting
5. David Suzuki
6. Lester B. Pearson
7. Don Cherry
8. Sir John A. Macdonald
9. Alexander Graham Bell
10. Wayne Gretzky

Two questions will immediately occur to low-information Americans: Why is Gretzky number 10, and who did the other nine play for?

The list, however, is of the ten Canadians most admired by their countrymen, in a 2004 contest conducted by CBC Television. More than 1.2 million votes were cast. A third question, then. Who the hell is Tommy Douglas?

Oddly enough, considering the horrors he unleashed on his suffering nation, the “Greatest Canadian of All Time” was the father of Canadian Medicare:

For more than 50 years, his staunch devotion to social causes, rousing powers of speech and pugnacious charm made Tommy C. Douglas an unstoppable political force. From his first foray into public office politics in 1934 to his post-retirement years in the 1970s, Canada’s ‘father of Medicare’ stayed true to his socialist beliefs — often at the cost of his own political fortune — and earned himself the respect of millions of Canadians in the process…

Tommy Douglas’s legacy as a social policy innovator lives on. Social welfare, universal Medicare, old age pensions and mothers’ allowances — Douglas helped keep these ideas, and many more, watching as more established political parties eventually came to accept these once-radical ideas as their own.

Well, yeah, but how about all those Canadians, doctors included, heading south to escape the vicious embrace of affordable medical care?

As far as the healthcare seekers heading south, see this. (And for Americans heading south for care — to Mexico — see this. As for Canadian doctors fleeing their homeland, here’s one Canadian’s take on it:

A large number of doctors trained in Canada, with an education hugely subsidized by Canadian taxpayers, immediately head for the United States, where they can make much more money (Canada deals with this by poaching doctors from places like South Africa).

Most stay, but a few come back, giving as a reason the complete lack of focus in the American system on actually caring for patients. In the American system a doctor is not a professional, but a cog in a massive profit-making machine.

The main advantage of single-payer, besides the oodles of money it saves, is that it maintains the doctor-patient relationship as a professional medical relationship, not solely an economic relationship. Patients understand this, if politicians and ‘journalists’ do not.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at July 28, 2009 11:59 AM
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I suppose that I shouldn't be surprised that Elijah Harper didn't make the list.

Posted by: James Stripes on July 30, 2009 3:23 PM

Wonderful post!

I would have loved to see the name Robertson Davies

Posted by: Weniger Gottquatsch on July 30, 2009 4:31 PM
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