We shouldn’t condone ‘legal bullying’ in medicare trial

Here’s an article published June 6 by the Canadian Healthcare Network

We shouldn’t condone ‘legal bullying’ in medicare trial

Ronald Kustra

Ronald Kustra

It is unfortunate that Dr. Michael C. Klein, a board member of Canadian Doctors for Medicare, supports the legal bullying of Dr. Brian Day by the governments of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier Christy Clark. (See Dr. Day’s trial: crying poor is hard to take seriously.)

As for the legal shenanigans, Dr. Klein’s reportage is totally contradicted by the accounts from the Globe and Mail and the Vancouver Sun’s legal/law courts correspondent, Ian Mulgrew.

Canadians should be alarmed and disgusted that the federal and British Columbia governments are using, misusing and abusing public, taxpayer dollars to bully Vancouver orthopedic surgeon Dr. Day and his co-plaintiffs into financial submission and capitulation in what has been described as “one of the most important trials in recent Canadian history.”

After launching the potentially landmark constitutional challenge seven years ago, Dr. Day and the remaining four co-plaintiffs (two have died!) have been forced to adjourn because they’ve run out of money after spending more than $2 million in legal fees and costs.

Canadians “may never know how much taxpayer money” the government has spent to prolong the case, but “a conservative estimate would be $20 million,” according to Gary Mason, the Globe and Mail’s British Columbia correspondent. Of course, neither Trudeau nor Clark are on the hook personally for one nickel of the $20 million.

Moreover, in lauding Canada’s publicly funded healthcare system, Dr. Klein is forced to rely on anti-privatization dogma because medicare’s abysmal subpar performance and high costs are well-known.

Canada ranks 10th among 11 advanced, industrialized countries and—guess what?—the private hospital and physician sectors play important roles in all nine countries that out-perform Canada’s medicare monopoly.

Medicare monopolists have spent more than five decades building a wall to protect the status quo and to shelter the unionized workforce. (When it comes to building a wall, they could teach President Trump a thing or two.)

Canadians, as patients and as taxpayers, deserve much, much better with a healthcare system that is sustainable and designed for the 21st century, not the 1960s. Like many patients in their 50s and 60s, medicare has a number of chronic conditions. Its performance is dismal and its future is bleak.

It is time to:

  • Provide Canadian patients with choice in their own country.
  • Provide patients with the same access that is available to professional athletes, WCB clients, the military and federal prisoners.
  • Introduce a Healthcare Guarantee, as described by the Senate committee chaired by former Liberal Senator Michael Kirby.
  • Make medicare sustainable and accountable.
  • Inject reality into the politics of healthcare.
  • Value and encourage the innovation and contributions that the private sector can bring.
  • Reframe and modernize medicare for the 21st century.

Ronald Kustra is the spokesperson and a board member of the Association of Canadians for Sustainable Medicare, a non-profit society registered in Alberta.


Canada’s government-run health care system – Medicare -- is a monopoly that prohibits private hospital and private physician care. Medicare is a subpar performer, ranking 10th among 11 advanced countries. Canadians deserve much better! Patients deserve timely access to quality care and choice of hospitals and physicians. Taxpayers deserve much more value for their tax dollars.

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