Resisting the pull of cynicism since 1969.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Stephen Harper and Hillary Clinton

On the day before the U.S. election, I made a post about why a few more Democrats in Congress wouldn't have me rushing back south of the border. One of the statements I made was that "the Democratic frontrunner for the 2008 presidential race, Hillary Clinton, is to the right of Stephen Harper on almost every issue." My post was quoted in the "Americans" thread of this forum, where my statement was dismissed out of hand, and I was criticized for not backing it up with evidence. While the posts on that thread are currently temporarily unavailable, I still wanted to address that criticism now that I have a free moment.

The best way I could think to provide evidence for my statement is to compare the two politicians' stated platforms. To do this, I looked into their statements on a handful of issues that have been writ large in both the U.S. and in Canada in recent years, skipping things like child care and electronic voting that have only made a splash on one side of the border. Unless otherwise specified, my source for Harper's policies was the Conservative Party of Canada's 2006 platform, and for Clinton's policies, the issues section of her website and this wikipedia page. Here's how they each stack up:

Intervention in the Middle East

Stephen Harper: While he was initially strongly in favour of the U.S.'s war in Iraq, his December 2005 op-ed in the Washington Times stated that he wouldn't commit Canadian forces to that war, and that he was "greatly disappointed" in the U.S. failure to substantiate intelligence about Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction. He supports the coalition forces' efforts in Afghanistan and Canada's continued involvement in that war. He strongly supported Israel's bombing of Lebanon in their efforts to damage Hezbollah.

Hillary Clinton: She's been a strong supporter of the war in Iraq. Her most recent statements have been more cautious, however, leading to charges of waffling. She still opposes any sort of immediate pullout or fixed dates for withdrawal, but she's started sounding like she favours moving slowly in that direction. She supports the coalition forces' efforts in Afghanistan and the U.S.'s continued involvement in that war. She strongly supported Israel's bombing of Lebanon in their efforts to damage Hezbollah.

Verdict: This one's very close, since their positions are quite similar. Both have gotten more cautious about the war in Iraq over time, while stopping short of calling it a mistake. And both have never wavered in their support for Israeli interventions and the war in Afghanistan. Let's call it even.

Security

Stephen Harper: He supported the Anti-Terrorism Act when it was introduced in 2001, and his government continues to support the broad definition of terrorism as contained in that act. He supports repealing the current long gun registry, but leaving the existing registry and bans for other kinds of weapons in place, including handguns.

Hillary Clinton: She's known far and wide for her tough stances on security, which likely has something to do with the fact that she represents the state of New York. She voted in favour of the renewal of the PATRIOT Act this year (which, among other things, allows the government to access medical records, tax records, and library records without having to show probable cause) and supports funding research for a missile defense system. The right-wing Washington Times called her position on illegal immigration "more conservative than President Bush." She favours a new law that would require gun owners to register their handguns.

Verdict: They're both pretty extreme on this issue, but Clinton's hardline stance on illegal immigration combined with the fact that the U.S. PATRIOT Act is even more draconian than Canada's Anti-Terrorism Act still pushes Clinton a mite further to the right.

Health care

Stephen Harper: The following sentence appears in the CPC platform: "We are committed to a universal, publicly funded health care system that respects the five principles of the Canada Health Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms." As for what that actually means, the devil is in the details. The Canada Health Act requires universality, comprehensiveness, and public administration in health care solutions. What it doesn't require is a complete absence of private industry's involvement in the delivery of those solutions. Harper has been careful to stay pretty mum about his opinion on the issue of private delivery, but by phrasing his support for public health care as support for the existing Canada Health Act, he certainly hasn't ruled it out.

Hillary Clinton: She opposes single-payer health care as "politically unrealistic." She has two big ideas for reforming the U.S. health care "system," which is currently based on providing private health insurance as a benefit of full-time employment. The first is making it easier for uninsured Americans to purchase health insurance through existing group plans. The second is...wait for it...making it legal in the U.S. to import cheap drugs from Canada. Universal, publicly funded health care system? She got burned on that one when she was First Lady, and isn't touching it with a ten-foot pole. And as for those cheap Canadian drugs, one might argue that if certain powerful U.S. Senators were to propose keeping costs low through price controls (as they do here in Canada), then there wouldn't be any need for reimportation. One might argue that, but Hillary Clinton sure isn't doing so.

Verdict: Harper's so much further left on this one that they can't even see each other from where they each stand. I'd love to see what would happen in the U.S. if Clinton started advocating the kinds of policies that Harper takes for granted, though.

Campaign finance reform

Stephen Harper: The Conservatives promised to limit individual donations to parties or candidates to a maximum of $1,000, prohibit all corporate, union, and organization donations to political parties, ridings, and candidates, prohibit candidates from accepting large personal campaign contributions, and ban the use of trust funds to finance candidates’ campaigns. The Accountability Act that they introduced this year does all of these things. And of course, they will also continue the current cap on campaign spending for individual House of Commons races.

Hillary Clinton: Hmm. Well, on the pro side, she made the terrifically bold statement back in 2000 that she thinks the U.S. needs to "change the system of campaign financing." On the con side, she once argued with campaign finance reformer Russ Feingold about the issue at a Democratic Policy Committee luncheon. Other than that...nothing. Nothing on her website, nothing in her speeches. And most of what you find when you google on "hillary clinton" "campaign finance" is about alleged fraud.

Verdict: Um, yeah. Can you imagine Hillary Clinton--or any Democrat, for that matter--sponsoring a bill that would cap spending on Congressional campaigns to $80,000, cap individual donations at $1000, or ban corporate donations altogether? Ha ha ha ha, that's pretty funny. If the left-wing are communists and the right-wing are fascists, then when it comes to campaign finance reform, you can paint Stephen Harper bright crimson and teach Hillary Clinton how to goose-step.

Same-sex marriage

Stephen Harper: The only policy mentioned in the CPC platform on this issue is that of calling for a free vote on reopening the question, which is supposed to happen yet this fall. But Harper himself prefers a definition that confines marriage to opposite-sex couples. If he had his way, he would repeal the current same-sex marriage law and recognize same-sex couples with civil unions, which would recognize the legal, economic and parental rights of same-sex partners without allowing them to marry.

Hillary Clinton: When she first ran for Senate in 2000, she opposed marriage equality on moral, religious, and traditional grounds. She's also supported the Defense of Marriage Act, which states that for federal purposes, only the marriage of one man and one woman is recognized as valid. She's since moved a bit further left, though, stating that she believes in "full equality of benefits, nothing left out," and that "there is a greater likelihood of getting to that point in civil unions or domestic partnerships," but she still opposes calling same-sex unions marriage.

Verdict: Since Clinton's budged enough on this issue that they now seem to have identical positions, I call it a wash.

Now, I can hear some of you sputtering that this isn't really a fair comparison. Stephen Harper is currently moving a progressive country further right, you say, while a potential President Hillary Clinton would move a conservative country further left. If left to their own devices, you argue, Harper would almost certainly come up with far more conservative policies than he's presented to the country in recent years, and Clinton would surge left and make all sorts of radical changes. This may or may not be true--we can't exactly peer inside their respective heads--but sure, there's certainly a chance that it is.

But that only confirms the point I was trying to make when I made my original statement about the positions they each occupy on the political spectrum. In Canada, even a true-blue Conservative like Stephen Harper has to face up to the reality of a country that's decidedly to the left of him and modify his preferred policies accordingly. And in the U.S., the furthest left their current top Democratic presidential candidate is willing to go is still to the right of the most conservative government Canada has had in a long, long time. Believe me, I'm anything but happy with Harper and Co.'s sharp right turn for Canada, and I will certainly continue to criticize his policies in my blog. But the fact is that without a majority government--and possibly even then--he's still further left than most of the U.S. Democrats, including their current frontrunner for the presidential nomination.

And as for the forum participant who challenged me to back up my statement about Hillary Clinton with evidence, I'd now like to invite him to do the same--back up his own statements that I'm wrong. Show me that Hillary Clinton isn't "to the right of Stephen Harper on almost every issue." I'm listening.

42 comments:

Radical Centrist said...

Not related to your post, but... have you changed your layout or is blogger acting up?

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

RC,

Scroll back two posts! :-)

Altavistagoogle said...

That was a very convincing post. Good work.

pjgoober said...

Clintons stance on immigration is not hardline

1. Clinton voted nay on cloture for the fence bill. Basically that was the vote on whether or not to vote on the fence. Since it was required to move on, cloture is what really matters. She changed her vote after that because it was then for sure to pass, so she wanted to be on the winning side.

2. Clinton voted for Senate Bill 2611. That bill creates a path to legalization and citizenship for the 12 million illegals, and creates a guestworker program for 200,000 people and thier families. But they will balloon to many more, due to higher immigrant fertility, chain migration of relatives, more illegals being attracted to the prospect of future amnesty etc...

Whatever her relation to Harper, she is very pro-illegal alien/ pro massive unskilled immigration.

Here are some facts having to do with immigration you may not have known:

groups are left behind
"Differences in arrest and incarceration rates are also noteworthy, particularly among second-generation, U.S.-born, males. While only 10 percent of second-generation immigrant males in the survey had been incarcerated, that figure jumped to 20 percent among West Indian and Mexican American youths."
http://today.uci.edu/news/release_detail.asp?key=1529

Here is pro comprehensive reform supporter Linda Chavez: Before Bashing Immigrants, Get The Facts Straight "Only .7 percent of Mexican-born males were in prison or jail, compared with 3.51 percent of all U.S.-born males, which includes 1.71 percent of non-Hispanic whites, 11.6 percent of blacks and 5.9 percent of Mexican Americans."
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/opinion/viewpoints/stories/DN-lindachavez_28edi.ART.State.Edition1.3e554c6.html

Open Doors Don't Invite Criminals
By ROBERT J. SAMPSON (Harvard University)
Published: March 11, 2006
"Indeed, the first generation immigrants (those born outside the United States) in our study were 45 percent less likely to commit violence than were third-generation Americans, adjusting for family and neighborhood background. Second-generation immigrants were 22 percent less likely to commit violence than the third generation."
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/11/opinion/11sampson.html?ex=1299733200&en=be13bc1a15648c8d&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

Also see: Center for Disease Control National Vital Statistics Reports: Volume 52, #10: Births: Final Data for 2002 The hispanic illegitamacy rate is cited on Table 19 on page 57 at 43.5% .
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr52/nvsr52_10.pdf

pjgoober said...

that first cite was from a
University of California at Irvine study

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

altavistagoogle,

Thanks!

pjgoober,

I'm not sure how all those quotes were intended to refute my points, since you didn't contrast them with Harper's positions in any way. Wanna give it another shot? 'Cause if you're just trying to convince me of the legitimacy of a particular U.S. policy, then a) that's not at all what this post was about, and b) I don't even live in the U.S.

CoteGauche said...

This is not really a fair comparison.

While Canada and the United States share many aspects of culture, the political climates in each country are quite different. To really understand the differences, I think it is necessary to be emersed in each culture. I was born in Canada, lived my first 30 years here, the next 10 years in the US and the last 3 years back in Canada.

The United States, socially and policitally is well to the right of virtually every other western democracy (unless you count Israel in that group). It is true in general that most American Demcrates and Liberals, based on their public statements, would be considered centrists or moderate conservatives in Canada or Europe, that doesn't really get to the heart of the issue. Gore Vidal would be a centrist or moderate liberal in Canada.

In any country, politicians must temper their zeal for social change with a large dose of pragmatism. The prevailing zeitgeist in each country pulls all effective (electable) politicians towards the centre of the political spectrum in that country. Liberals and social democrats in the US therefor must curb their ambition for social change.

Senator Clinton tried, during her husband's adminstration, to put universal healthcare on the public agenda. This effort was successfully sold to the American public by the Republicans as "the government running our healthcare". Unless you have lived in the States, you wouldn't really understand the knee jerk, irrational, paranoid response that phrase in quotes illicits from the general public. So Clinton is right, universal healthcare is not politically feasible in the policital climate in the US today. But make no mistake, Clinton's liberal credentials are pretty solid.

In Canada, the public sentiment is significantly to the left of the US. As a result, Harper has learned to temper his ambition for social change. The scary social conservative Stephen Harper proved ot be unelectable. His public political positioning is now centre-right (for Canada). But you can still tell where the real Stephen Harper is. He is very clear and plain spoken on issues such as gassing the long gun registry, our involvement in Afghanistan, crime and the sustainability (code word for privatization) of healthcare in Canada - things that appeal to his real base. But when Harper starts talking about universality in healthcare, or our (thankfully) non-involvement in Iraq, or climate change etc. he become strangely vague and mealy mouthed.

In short, the real Stephen Harper is decidedly to the right of the real Hillary Clinton.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

cotegauche,

To really understand the differences, I think it is necessary to be emersed in each culture.

I lived most of my first 27 years in the United States (apart from a few short-term stays in Germany and Northern Ireland), and have lived in Canada since 1997. Does that count as "emersed" enough? *grin*

the United States, socially and policitally is well to the right of virtually every other western democracy

As I stated in the third-to-last and second-to-last paragraphs of this post, that was precisely my original point. The U.S. is such a conservative country that even someone like Hillary Clinton-- dismissed by the U.S. right as dangerously left-wing--ends up further right than the most right-wing prime minister Canada has had in years. So the guy who was trying to say that people like me should be going back to the U.S. because the Conservatives are in charge in Canada and the Democrats were taking over in the U.S. was pretty off-base.

In short, the real Stephen Harper is decidedly to the right of the real Hillary Clinton.

Again, like I said in the post, while we can't prove this, it may well be true. But in the end, that simply doesn't *matter* that much when the political culture here is relatively progressive and the political culture there is quite conservative.

pjgoober said...

That 200,000 number for the guest worker program that S 2611 would have made that Clinton voted for was per year.

"I'm not sure how all those quotes were intended to refute my points, since you didn't contrast them with Harper's positions in any way.

I agree with you on this point. I was just making my own point about Clinton being very lax/leftwing/non-harsh (i dont know what to call it...) on immigration You are definately right that Harper is even more lax on immigration. Anyone in canada is for the status quo is, because Canada lets in far more immigrants as a percent of the population as the us does. Even S 2611 wouldnt have totally changed that (it would close a heck of a lot of the gap though.

But one thing to remember about US immigration is that hispanics have a high birth rate compared to other immigrants. Thus, over the long term, each average US immigrant has more of an impact due to more descendents than an immigrant to canada.

Olaf said...

IP,

You're a beauty. Great post.

The thing that really grinds my gears is when amateur (and professional) pundits call Harper "far right" or a "neocon" (even though very few even know what a 'neocon' really is), but they wouldn't even think of calling a Democrat a neo-con, even if the Democrat could be placed to the right of Harper on a spectrum.

I think there's a tendency to want to equate the Republicans with the Conservatives and the Democrats with the Liberals, just because its easy to schedule things that way inside one's mind, even if it doesn't reflect reality.

West End Bound said...

Great post, IP, and a good analysis of the dems vs. Canadian Conservatives.

I especially enjoyed the Frazier Crane, aka Kelsey Grammer closing sentence. :)

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Olaf,

Thanks for the compliment.

The thing is, though, if you look at this from an international perspective, Harper is pretty right-wing. It's the U.S., not Canada, that's anomalous on this particular front, and Harper only looks progressive if it's Americans you're comparing him with. And however you slice it, "we know our party's leader won't start goosestepping all over everything because the Canadian people won't let him" isn't exactly a ringing endorsement.

west end bound,

Frasier Crane, ha! I don't think I've ever been compared to him before...thanks, I think. *grin*

L-girl said...

Excellent, I/P! Truly. Thanks for taking the time to compile the evidence, confirming what we knew to be true.

A completely unrelated P.S.: I see you've joined me on Altavistagoogle's short list of blog obsessions. Of course he assumes you are male.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

L-girl,

Thanks, and you're welcome! This stuff used to depress the hell out of me when I still lived in the U.S., but these days it only makes me giddy. Even in a Harper-led Canada, the far-right can't completely triumph. While this doesn't make me so complacent that it stops me from fighting for something better, it does thrill me no end.

Olaf said...

IP,

The thing is, though, if you look at this from an international perspective, Harper is pretty right-wing.

Outside of the anglo-sphere, yes, you're right. Still, I find the use of the term neo-con for Harper quite inaccurate.

Calling Harper a "neo-con" and the constant knee-jerk comparisons to George W. Bush, while very good political framing by Dippers and Liberals, are very frustrating for someone like me who (tentatively) supports Harper and wouldn't consider supporting GWB.

Aaron said...

Good to know, now that I'm living in the US.

Nice work indeed.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Olaf,

Off-topic, but I have to ask: would you not support GWB because you disagree with him on policy, or because he's, well, an idiot? *grin*

Olaf said...

IP,

would you not support GWB because you disagree with him on policy, or because he's, well, an idiot?

I'd have to say an emphatic "both".

L-girl said...

I just noticed you also put US health care "system" in quotes. I either use quotes or refer to it as a non-system.

Redsock created a thread with this post at Democratic Underground - there's a link to it in comments in wmtc.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

L-girl,

Thanks for pointing that out! This post has actually gotten a number of links, and interestingly they've all been from U.S.-born immigrants to Canada. It seems to be common among that group--even among those of us who dislike what Harper is doing to Canada--that we want people to understand these differences in political culture that make us happier here.

torontocrawler said...

"The thing is, though, if you look at this from an international perspective, Harper is pretty right-wing. It's the U.S., not Canada, that's anomalous on this particular front, and Harper only looks progressive if it's Americans you're comparing him with."

From an international perspective? Comparing to what, socialist Euro-idiot countries like France, Belgium, and Germany, where the economy is a joke? Lefties like to spread that these countries are the mainstream of the world, yet ignore places like Australia, Ireland, Japan, and Eastern Europe, all of which have governments and policies to the right of Canada, and are taking influence on the world stage away from old Europe.

And remember, the only other countries where private health care is prohibited are Cuba and North Korea. I guess in your world, these two nations are the mainstream, and everywhere else, including your socialist European meccas, which all permit parallel private systems, are right wing zealots.

Danté said...

Bookmarked.

I've been saying the same thing to people for quite some time now. A lot of people on the left have this ridiculous notion that Harper is somehow "extreme-right," despite the lack of anything in the blue-book that can even remotely be called "far-right."

I find it ironic that while most left-wing Canadians could see themselves easily voting for the Democrats, they wouldn't for a second consider voting for the Conservatives - a party much further to the left than the Democrats!

I'm quite pleased with the leadership of Harper. I think it's about time we had some pro-individualistic leadership in this country - all the statism was simply suffocating. Thank God that's over.

Jarrett said...

I'm not much interested in the semantics of the evidence of left-vs-right that are in the comments. I'm just pleased that there's someone on the left who takes a long, hard, objective look at these kinds of things. You can question IP's methods, but you certainly can't question that kind of intellectual honesty. I applaud thee.

And, while we're on it, it's far more rational as a consideration of the Harper government than the shrill cries of "fascism" that I get out here at UVic.

The Tiger said...

If he were an American, Stephen Harper would certainly be a (libertarianish) Republican and if she were Canadian, Hillary Clinton would be at least a Liberal, possibly a Dipper.

But the main point stands -- the political systems affect the stands that their actors can take -- and so Harper is to the left of Clinton.

Miles Lunn said...

Based on their opinions before entering politics, Stephen Harper is definitely to the right of Hilary Clinton. However at the end of the day one must be electable in their own country and therefore Hilary Clinton had no choice but to move to the right while Harper to the left. United States is without question the most conservative democratic country, which in some ways seems odd since most Americans originate from more liberal countries although at the time most immigrated they were more conservative. As for Canada, we maybe left wing compared to the United States, but we are not left wing when compared to Europe, if anything we are generally to the right of most European countries. For example one could argue Jacques Chirac and Angela Merkel and the Swedish PM (whatever his name is) are both to the left of Paul Martin and Jean Chretien.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

torontocrawler,

Care to back some of that up with evidence? Especially "the only other countries where private health care is prohibited are Cuba and North Korea"? Because from everything I've read, the percentage of health care that is private is already far greater in Canada than it in the rest of the world, on average. And it ain't prohibited, here, either, contrary to popular belief.

I mean, come on, if you're gonna come into my blog and throw around all sorts of rude accusations, the least you can do is have the decency to be right.

Danté,

Can't agree about Harper, but I suppose neither of us is surprised by that. He hasn't exactly turned Canada into a clone of the U.S., but we could still do a whole lot better than his environmental policy, his heavy hand with foreign affairs, not to mention his authoritarian style and his petulance.

I certainly don't think it's true that "most left-wing Canadians could see themselves easily voting for the Democrats," either, by the way. Unless you're defining the Liberals as "left-wing"--something that's only true from an American perspective. *grin*

Jarrett,

Thanks. I'm not saying "Harper's not that bad," though, I'm saying "the entire U.S. political culture really is that hopeless." *grin*

The Tiger,

We certainly have a lot of evidence for your claims about Harper--he used to favour a lot of pretty radical right-wing policies before he decided he was never going to govern if he continued--but we have no similar evidence about Hillary Clinton. What on earth makes you think she would be in the NDP if she were Canadian? I've never heard a single statement from her to that effect, and having been against single-payer health care for her entire career would certainly speak against it.

Miles,

Can't disagree with a word.

The sad part is that Canadians on the whole know so little about the world outside of Canada and the U.S. (they really aren't much better than Americans on this front) that even Canadians tend to see the U.S. as the norm.

The Tiger said...

IP,

It's about attitudes towards state power and proper uses thereof.

Whenever there is a problem to be solved, Hillary Rodham Clinton thinks that a government program will make everything better -- you can see it in her books, in her speeches -- it's just a matter of her approach towards public policy.

Aside from social issues, this is the primary divide betweent the left and the right in North America. And Clinton, make no mistake, is on the left.

torontocrawler said...

In France, you're free to pay for an operation or join a medical network that is private and outside of the public system. Ditto in Germany, Ireland, and the rest of the European Union. The only countries that outright prohibit you from paying for a medically necessary operation are Canada, Cuba, and North Korea. For example, if I wanted to pay for private cancer treatment to save my life here, I'd have to travel abroad, it is prohibited outright here. If you can name a clinic where I could pay for private cancer treatment that is already provided by OHIP, tell me about it. In France, if I wanted to pay for that to jump the public queue, there are service providers available for you to do so.

Even in New Zealand, considered socially progressive by most standards, when I was telling some Kiwi backpackers that I met on a recent backpacking trip about Canada's prohibition on a parallel private option, they couldn't believe it. Ditto when I also told them about Canada's Section 1 restrictions on our freedom of speech rights (how is it freedom of speech when a group can determine what is okay and what is not - i.e. hate speech laws and human rights commissions) and that we legalized same-sex marriages here... and the Kiwis I met supported parties on the centre-left in NZ.

Ireland has a fiscally conservative government that have radically reduced taxes in recent years. Irish are also considered to be a "progressive country", yet they also have no problem with private health care from the Irish I also met when I went there last year. Eastern Europe, especially Poland and Ukraine have Conservative governments on both social issues and that have implemented flat taxes on the economic side to revive the economy post-communism. Australia and Japan are further to the right than Canadians on international affairs and on many social issues. Do I need to go on?

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

thetiger,

If your only yardstick on the definition of left vs. right is the exercise of state power in seeking solutions to problems, then the most left-wing leader on the continent is George W. Bush. I don't think that holds water.

torontocrawler,

No, don't "go on," just answer the question I asked. Repeating the same thing over and over again somewhat more elaborately is not "backing things up with evidence." Let me rephrase, then: what is your source for your claim that "the only other countries where private health care is prohibited are Cuba and North Korea"? Because that certainly doesn't jive with anything I've read.

torontocrawler said...

Canadian Press article from November 15th on the attempted opening of Timely Medical Alternatives Inc. clinic in Ontario: "Canada, North Korea and Cuba are the only three countries in the world that pass laws forbidding people to expedite their own medical care"

Pacific Research Institute: "Canada, Cuba and North Korea are the only countries that ban private health care, whereas countries like France and Switzerland allow their citizens to purchase supplemental health insurance on the open market."

Wall Street Journal article following the Chaoulli decision in 2005 "In response to the recent Canadian Supreme Court decision striking down the ban on private health insurance, the Wall Street Journal noted that Canada was the only nation other than Cuba and North Korea to have such a prohibition.

After the Chauolli Supreme Court decision, there may no longer be an actual legal prohibition on a parallel system, but the Liberals, especially McGuinty in Ontario, and the federal Liberals, won't acknowledge this.

I'll turn the question around on you since you seem to be so confident on your stand... what other nations around the world can you name besides Cuba and North Korea that outrightly prohibits paying for services from a parallel, private system for medically necessarily services if they are already provided by the public system?

(BTW, I wasn't intending to be rude earlier as your initial post implied. I acknowledge that there are many aspects of the current system that are privately operated. But anything that is deemed "necessary" has to be within the government system. There is no way for an operator to set up a "necessary" service that is outside of the system).

torontocrawler said...

And I also mentioned those other points in my earlier e-mail today in response to your comment that Harper was right wing compared to the rest of the world. You weren't asking exclusively about the Cuba/North Korea thing.

Rhetoric said...

I don't think it's fair or accurate to consider the issue of campaign finance reform on the right/left spectrum. Harper's legislation limits union donations just as much as it limits corporate donations. Conservatives are attracted to such reductions in state interference as lowering taxes, coincidentally so are high-wealth individuals who can afford to make large donations. In other words some rich people voted Conservative and made large donations but that does not make the opposition to large donations a conservative policy.

The Tiger said...

IP --

That's why Bush has lost the right's support.

Arrogant Polyglot said...

IP, good post. I very much appreciated your comparison of the two. I just never thought HC was as right-wing as she is, with respect to SH(it).

But, as has been alluded, there is a strong difference between the 'political position' versus the 'real' position of each person. What you see may not be what you actually get.

Kinda like a 5% GST, don't you just love that? And it will potentially be enforced by 2009, at the time of the election. If nobody gave a rat's ass about the reduction to 6%, what makes Harper think he's going to woo Canada's tighty-righties with another 1% off? Oh, hang on a second, what he'll do is gobble up a few culture, language, arts or minority related program just so he can keep his promise.

Eeeks. I'm sorry. I have digressed, though I feel much better now for getting that off my chest ;) So much for being non-partisan, it's so much harder than you think!

Jen said...

we want people to understand these differences in political culture that make us happier here

And thank you, I think you achieve that very well with your posts. I always enjoy them.

even Canadians tend to see the U.S. as the norm

*gasp* Say it isn't so! *sigh* Though I know it is. I wonder what would happen if Rick Mercer brought back and modified his one gig to make it Talking With Canadians... I wonder if we'd be as ready to laugh at our own ignorance as we are to laugh at that of our southern neighbours?

Budd Campbell said...

A truly great post!

I am going to be referring to this the next time one of the Liberals I know feeds me some version or other of the "Vote Strategic" scam, ... in the same breath as they condemn David Emerson. Whose only crime was exposing the Vote Strategic scam for the intenional and purpose-built fraud that it is.

Deanna said...

um, torontocrawler, Canadians buy "supplemental health insurance" all the time.

Please explain how their "supplemental health insurance" differs from ours.

torontocrawler said...

I explained the gist of it in an earlier comment, but to repeat...

in Canada, you can only get supplementary health insurance (employer or self-paid) to cover items that OHIP (or the equivalents in other provinces) won't pay for or doesn't cover.

elsewhere, supplementary health insurance can pay for services that the public system already covers, but with the services coming from a parallel system. The reason can be whether the public system has waiting times, or if the patient wants to try alternative treatment that the public system won't offer.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Excuse my absence, folks. It's been a hell of a few weeks, here.

torontocrawler,

I'm not going to debate health care with you because that's not at all what this post was about (although here's a fine little book where you can track down all the arguments I would have made and have them with yourself). But I will point out that you did have to rephrase your initial statement about the "prohibition" of private health care in Canada in order to make it true. Seriously, if you need to make inflammatory accusations on a stranger's blog--which I wouldn't recommend in the first place--it's generally a good idea to make sure that your statements are accurate as they stand.

Jen,

That, my dear, is an excellent idea. It would be uncomfortable, but it might point out some unpleasant truths. Because unlike most Americans, Canadians actually tend to care that they're ignorant, so there would even be some hope.

torontocrawler said...

As a final note then, I'll also point out to all that you didn't answer my question about naming other nations that prohibits paying for services from a parallel, private system for medically necessarily services if they are already provided by the public system. I answered all of your questions when you asked (yes, I had to reword my initial statement because perhaps it wasn't clear or detailed enough at first, but to accuse someone of being purposely inflammatory is way over the top).

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

torontocrawler,

I can't argue with what you said about the countries that prohibit paying for services from a parallel, private system, nor did I ever claim to be able to (the part I disagreed with was your claim about "countries where private health care is prohibited," which was patently false). I also don't see what point you're making in saying it. In point of fact, I would actually be quite fine with Canada adopting the French health care system in toto, including the parallel private system--after all, it would give us less private health care than we have right now. As to the substance of your points about health care, I've already explained why I didn't want to get into a debate with you, and pointed you to where you could find my positions if you really care to know them.

As to your being "purposely inflammatory," you might consider rereading the phrasing in your initial comment on this post and comparing it with other comments here where people have disagreed with me. I think you'll see a marked difference in tone. I'm not going to delete your comments just because they were rude--that's not the sort of blog I want to run--but I'm certainly going to call you on it, especially when everybody else here manages to be pretty darn pleasant.

Anonymous said...

Harper is a liar that is not qualified to be Prime Minister. I run a site www.harperlies.com examining the very facts that are about to harm Canada in many ways, all due to Harpers lies and incompetance.