Canadian Health Quotes

From the most enlightening to most embarrassing

Charter Health Crowd

... and we quote ...

Waiting times under the Medicare system are "real and intentional"... Inevitably, where patients have life-threatening conditions, some will die because of undue delay in awaiting surgery. Access to a waiting list is not access to health care. As we noted above, there is unchallenged evidence that in some serious cases, patients die as a result of waiting lists for public health care. We conclude, based on the evidence, that prohibiting health insurance that would permit ordinary Canadians to access health care, in circumstances where the government is failing to deliver health care in a reasonable manner, thereby increasing the risk of complications and death, interferes with life and security of the person as protected by s. 7 of the Charter. The prohibition on private insurance creates an obstacle that is practically insurmountable for people with average incomes. Only the very wealthy can reasonably afford to pay for entirely private services.

Supreme Court of Canada Supreme Court of Canada

The State, in organizing security should not stifle incentive, opportunity, responsibility; in establishing a national minimum, it should leave room and encouragement for voluntary action by each individual to provide more than that minimum for himself and his family.

Sir William Beveridge Sir William Beveridge
Founder of the British National Health Service
(the template for Medicare in Canada)

Every single Canadian should be ashamed that such a situation has developed in our country. Nothing is more important to a person than their own health. Any obstacle placed in the way of any person using their own resources to restore their own health should be regarded as an inhuman act imposed by the healthy upon the sick. The Medical Services Commission of British Columbia has just done that by attacking one private clinic that provides such help. The commission should be condemned, not just for wasting public money trying to reinforce its powers, but for interfering with the desperate efforts of those in need to alleviate their own suffering by getting prompt treatment.

Dr. Pat McGeer Dr. Pat McGeer
former BC Cabinet Minister

BC Government spokesperson and Associate Deputy Minister of Health, in 1995, on being asked about BC patients on waiting lists seeking care in the United States: “If we could stop them at the border, we would”

Thea Vakil Thea Vakil
(Currently) Executive Director
Centre for Public Sector Studies
University of Victoria

So that in a sense the way the system is currently structured, the only person who suffers when they're on a waiting list is the patient.  The provincial government doesn't suffer in fact they actually save money with it, the regional health authorities, the hospital CEO's, the doctors don't suffer and so there's not really a union incentive to improve the system.  The only person who suffers is the patient - who's the only person in fact who can't do anything about the situation.  So the incentive that currently exists in the system for dealing with waiting times are all perverse in the sense that they put all the pressure on the one group of people called patients who can't do anything about it.

Senator Mike Kirby Senator Mike Kirby

Many of the lawyers who have disagreed with this decision have taken the position it is the decision of an activist Court...Whenever you hear the adjective activist in front of Court it has the same implications if you add political in front of the word decision.  A political decision by definition is a decision you don't agree with.  None of you would ever refer to decisions as a political decision if you agree with it.  None of you would ever refer to a Court decision as a decision of an activist Court if you agreed with it.  The word activist applied to Court is designed to be figurative. Now the thing that I find weird is many of the academic lawyers particularly in the University of Toronto who are appalled at the activist Court decision in this case, nevertheless did not describe the Supreme Court's decision on same sex marriage, on abortion, on native rights and on a variety of other things as a decision of an activist Court.  They were decisions of a good Supreme Court.  So I think you have to take much of the left wing criticism in this case, very much as an ideological criticism and not as a legal criticism.

Senator Mike Kirby Senator Mike Kirby

I don't see anything immoral, unethical or illegal for a person in a democratic society to be able to spend their own money on the health care of themself or a loved one.

Dr. Brian Day Dr. Brian Day
2007-2008 President
Canadian Medical Association

The Supreme Court of Canada has given prisoners the "right" to vote. Is it not time that non-jailed citizens were given reciprocity with a "right" that prisoners have; namely the freedom to bypass the public system when it fails to provide reasonable access?

Dr. Brian Day Dr. Brian Day
2007-2008 President
Canadian Medical Association

I understand that there are budgetary problems confronting the health care system.  I raise it in passing only to point out that there were a number of references to the effect of financial restraint on the treatment of this patient.  I respectfully say it is something to be carefully considered by those who are responsible for the provision of medical care and those who are responsible for financing it. I also say that if it comes to a choice between a physician's responsibility to his or her individual patient and his or her responsibility to the Medicare system overall, the former must take precedence in a case such as this.

British Columbia Supreme Court British Columbia Supreme Court
[1994] B.C.J. No. 979
Vancouver, BC
Spencer J.

It is false and tendentious to establish a link between a private-sector involvement in health care and the level of social advancement of a society. How can one pretend that societies like France, England, Sweden are socially less advanced than Quebec on the very ground of private involvement in the delivery of health care? That is obviously nonsense. Scandinavian countries have a private involvement in their health care systems. As far as I know, nobody accuses them of being conservatives or socially behind.

Philippe Couillard Philippe Couillard
(then) Quebec Health Minister
(current) Premier of Quebec "Couillard veut s'inspirer du modèle scandinave"
Le Devoir

If the egalitarian wishes to realise his ideal, given the unpromising nature of his material, he might consider rendering all persons equally dead, for perhaps only thus could he eradicate [any] difference.

Michael Quinn
"Justice and Egalitarianism"
Political Theory and Political Philosophy
ed. Maurice Cranston (New York: Garland, 1991)

We don't want two-tier health care in Canada – one tier for Quebec and another tier for the rest of the country.

BC Premier Gordon Campbell BC Premier Gordon Campbell
(commenting on the Chaoulli decision)

What the anti-privatization proponents invariably ignore is that there are other countries in the world beside the U.S. and other ways of delivering health care -- some better than Canada's.  That is why we applaud the Gordon Campbell government for its long-overdue intention, announced in yesterday's Throne Speech, to examine various European health-care models.

The Province, Vancouver, BC The Province, Vancouver, BC
February 15, 2006

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