The First Ministers of Canada (Canada’s 10 Provincial Premiers and the Prime Minister) will soon be meeting to discuss the application and financing of national healthcare.
One would assume that this meeting will therefore be relegated exclusively to finding better ways of providing and funding medical services throughout Canada. But one would be wrong.
As it turns out, it is all about Quebec. What a shock!
Quebec has its own unique concept of “national” healthcare. For example: Quebec is the only Province which does not recognize the medical service fees of any of the other provinces, making Quebec an outsider to the national program.
In other words, Quebec will only pay the doctors and health institutions of the other provinces what it will pay in its own province. Therefore; when traveling to Ontario (for example) from Quebec, it is wise to purchase private health insurance, since Quebecers are not fully insured, and sometimes not insured at all outside of Quebec, depending upon the need and treatment.
All other Canadians from the other 9 provinces are fully protected and insured since they respect each others’ rates.
Remarkably; because Ontario (for example) pays its doctors so much more than Quebec does, many Quebec doctors have opted to join the Ontario health-plan where they’re paid by the Ontario government for services rendered to Ontario health-card holders, even though the services are provided in Quebec.
My family doctor has chosen not to join OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan), and when I visit him for anything, I pay cash for his services which are reimbursed to me by OHIP.
But I pay the Quebec rate.
One visit for a general check-up in Quebec is just $18. Ontario would much rather have me visit him in Quebec, where they pay a fraction for his services, than they would, if they had to pay to an OHIP doctor.
The claim from Ottawa that healthcare is truly a national program is a lie, unless Quebec is not considered a part of the nation. The Canadian nation that is.
So; the first grumbling I hear, even before the First Ministers meet, is coming from so-called Quebec federalists who are making the point, that if Canada (Ottawa) puts restrictions upon how the provinces spend federal healthcare funds; it will force Quebec to once again look at separation.
The common belief amongst Quebec apologists, is that Paul Martin (Canada’s Prime Minister) should not hamstring Quebec’s Liberal Premier, Jean Charest, by making his position untenable by putting conditions on how Quebec spends federal dollars.
This is an old, weary and once-upon-a-time very successful strategy from Quebec. Quebec politicians have always believed that the best way to negotiate with Canada, was with a knife to Canada’s throat.
For more than a century it worked.
And it still might work. But not as intended. Canadians from outside Quebec no longer want to have a knife held to their throat by Quebec nationalists. Nor does the threat of separation carry that great national fear it used to.
If Quebec wants to go at this juncture of time in Canada’s not so great journey into the future, most Canadians would probably say goodbye. And not necessarily with malice. It just isn’t working.
And more than anything, the worn threat of: give us (Quebec) what we want, or we’re out of here, is just another step towards the deconfederation of Canada.
Besides; I’m absolutely convinced that Canada (Ottawa) should have no input whatsoever into health, manpower and education services in the provinces, since there are no real national policies or standards.
So why pretend?
I also happen to believe that Canada has outlasted its failed attempt to be a real country, simply because it tried to be many real countries in its gutless appeasement to everyone who wanted to be more equal and distinct than everyone else.
I can’t blame Quebec for wanting to have its cake and eat it at the same time. Especially since they’ve been able to do it so successfully since 1867 (Confederation).
In my opinion; deconfederation would be best for everyone. Even the Maritimes. It’s just time to get it done. And maybe some more whining and threats from “federalist” Quebec nationalists will speed up the process.
We can only hope.