Ralph Klein has gone and it is time to retire Ralph's World. Thanks to all of you who have supported this venture by contributing material and through your comments. It has been fun.

Should we get another blog underway? Let me know your thoughts by e-mailing me at johnnyslow@gmail.com.

John Slow
January 1, 2007

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

What is Mr. Harper's real position on health care? 

The media has been giving Mr. Harper a "free ride" on the issue of health care. They have generally ignored the position Mr. Harper has taken during the past eight years, and he has given no clear explanation as to what his position is now.

In 1997, Mr. Harper quit being a Member of Parliament for Calgary Southwest to lead the right-wing lobby group, The National Citizens Coalition. It is important to note that the National Citizens Coalition was originally formed to campaign against public health care in Canada.

Mr. Harper's avowed reason for the switch was that he wanted "to speak his mind more freely than being an MP allowed." And Mr. Harper certainly spoke his mind:

• In 1997, he said, "It's past time the feds scrapped the Canada Health Act."

• In 2001, Harper said, "What we clearly need is experimentation (in health care) with market reforms and private delivery options."

• In January 2001, in an open letter to Alberta Premier Ralph Klein on the "Alberta Agenda," Harper urged Mr. Klein to "resume provincial responsibility for health-care policy. If Ottawa objects to provincial policy, fight in the courts. If we lose, we can afford the financial penalties that Ottawa may try to impose under the Canada Health Act."

• In April, 2005, Harper's ideological colleagues Preston Manning and Mike Harris issued a joint report calling on Ottawa to get out of medicare and let the provinces experiment with private health services. They called for "critical surgery" on medicare. Ottawa, they said, should cease funding the system and transfer more tax powers to the provinces. They also recommended that the Canada Health Act should be scrapped or drastically reformed to eliminate all barriers to private services. Mr. Harper has never disavowed, condemned nor rejected this report of his Fraser Institute colleagues.

So just what is Stephen Harper's position on our system of public health care?

Has Mr. Harper changed his mind?

If so, how do the people of Canada know that, if the Conservatives take power in Ottawa, he won't change his mind back to the position he held before?

This article was sent in by a concerned Albertan from Edmonton.

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