Paul Jacob

Chaoulli, according the The Times, "has long been viewed as a gadfly in political and medical circles." In 1997, he went on a hunger strike after authorities forced him to abandon a private emergency house call service. (Wouldn't you like to find a family doctor with some of this gadfly stuff in him?) It seems that Canada's nationalized medical establishment has fought a long life-and-death battle against individual initiative in health care.

Enter Prime Minister Paul Martin. He sees the ruling, as well as the necessary response, quite differently. He's trying to re-bag that cat. Pooh-poohing the idea that Canada must permit private health care, Martin said, "What today's decision does do, however, is accentuate just how important it is to act immediately, how urgent this situation is."

Yet, what is his new urgency? To save lives? Or to save the system? After all, the unhealthy waits have been around for quite some time. It's not a secret. The only thing new is the court decision allowing private medicine.

The prime minister adds, "What we want to do is strengthen the public health care system."

But what about the sick? We can be sure that Mr. Martin doesn't want sick people to suffer or die. He is all for saving lives. It's just that his commitment to the national health care system comes first.

In this way, he sounds strikingly like so many American educrats, who, when shown for the umpteenth time that American schools are failing, still refuse even to consider allowing the children an alternative for their education. Instead, the educrats demand ever more money to make the public schools work, somehow, no matter how many children are failed in the process.

Granted, America's education system isn't totally parallel to the Canadian medical system. Thankfully, Americans can still spend their own money to purchase the education unavailable in the public system. But similar indeed is the attitude that puts the system before the people it is supposed to serve.

In emphatic arrogance, Martin asserted, "We are not going to have a two-tier health care system in this country. Nobody wants that."

Well, nobody except the people dying for lack of care . . . or almost any Canadian with a lick of sense.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.