Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Martin gets it wrong again

Yesterday, Paul Martin added to his remarkable list of pronouncements this campaign which are not only baloney and/or a bad idea, but exactly opposite of the most sensible way to address an issue.

The latest is to his wish to have his premiers' meeting to "fix health care for a generation" held entirely in public, in front of the cameras. I would tend to agree that deals arrived at entirely in secret are undesirable. However, it is completely unthinkable that a meeting of 11 high-level politicians, on a highly political topic, would keep any kind of secrets regardless of how "private" the meeting is.

If Premier Y doesn't like the way things are going, his aides tell the press about it, to make sure that Y isn't blamed for a result he's unhappy with. If Premier Z gets everything he wants, he comes out of the meeting, stands in front of the cameras, and takes credit for it.

Your basic City Council meeting is held in public - boy, we sure see a lot of tough decisions coming out of those things! Likewise, concessions in Legislatures and Parliament are always made in private; it allows everyone to save a little face. Laws and sausages are similar, it is said: you don't really want to know how they're made.

It is self-evident that a politician is less willing to compromise in public than in private. Wide-open first ministers meetings would mean more grandstanding and fewer results. As The Sports Guy would say, I will not argue about this.


At 9:47 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very true. Not a fantastic idea, and one that I doubt will ever happen. But, let's not pretend that any of the leaders have been particularly cogent on the issue of health care.

How are we to understand, for example, Mr. Harper's bizarre criticism of Mr. Martin's failure to intervene in Ontario's recent health restructuring.

"When Dalton McGuinty told him he was going to impose a health premium, he could have said no, but he didn't. When Dalton McGuinty told him he was going to delist services, Paul Martin could have said no; he didn't," Mr. Harper told a crowd in this Northern Ontario city. "That's why Ontarians and Canadians should say no to Paul Martin on health care."

This is a bit rich from a leader whose platform is fundamentally based on increasing autonomy for provinces (and cities) ESPECIALLY in those areas of provincial constitutional jurisdiction . . . you know, like health care.

It would have, I suppose, been understandable had he been contrasting Mr. Martin's promise to say 'No' to Alberta, and his failure to do the same in Ontario, but this was not his message (although it has been the message of post-comment pundits. http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20040619/LETTERS19-11//?query=Harper+AND+Health

Instead, Mr. Harper's message, given in Ontario, with no mention of Alberta, seems to have been designed to win those fickle Ontario voters by blaming the Federal Liberals for Ontario's new Health reforms. As I said, bizarre.


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