Liberals engage in political double-speak to sell private health care to New Brunswickers.

by Editors — last modified 2008-10-29T10:06:45-04:00 The Citizens' Press
Once again we see that the current NB Liberal Government does not understand the word 'democracy', nor does it understand that it is expected to govern in the interests of the people, not private business.

By the Editors of The Citizens' Press

Mike Murphy, the once President of the New Brunswick Liberal Association (A.K.A. the Liberal Party of New Brunswick), now private insurance lawyer, has seemed to have found the perfect place in government to increase business for lawyers: become Minister of Health and promote the privatisation of NB Health Care.

With the recent suggestions of a private health-care system being implemented in the province, we are once again witnessing the NB Liberals promoting policy that goes against the desires and the interests of the vast majority of New Brunswickers. It is an about face for Shawn Graham, who in the 2003 election campaign challenged then Premier Bernard Lord on what specific "New Brunswick health-care services [the Tories] would privatise." In fact, Graham stated that a Liberal government would not promote further privatisation of our health-care sector.

Were the Liberals lying then, or are they lying now?

We could understand Mike Murphy being elected to such a position, a position that should require basic knowledge of the medical system, if the people of New Brunswick wanted to change their health care system to a private one.

We could understand how he could be put in this position if New Brunswickers wanted to pay private insurance companies more money to get substandard health care.

We could understand Mike Murphy getting this position if New Brunswickers thought there should be more lawyers between them and their doctors.

However, the reality is that New Brunswickers flatly reject these ideas.

New Brunwickers do not want a private health system where only those who can pay extra can get good service. They do not want a system where those that cannot pay only get access to an ever worsening public system. And they especially do not want a system where our tax dollars pay lawyers for insurance companies every time someone needs to go to a doctor.

So why is the Health Minister telling the people of New Brunswick that we should accept the idea of paying extra so that private companies can make money off sick people?

Why are we being told that somehow, without anyone noticing, our health care system has been transformed into one that caters to private companies?

It is because of the new method in which 'democracy' is happening in New Brunswick.

This new 'democracy' is where the government tells us what policy is going be implemented instead of the other way around. If we, the people, do not like it they answer, "too bad, it is already in place, it has been in place for years, and there is nothing you can do about it. End of discussion."

Yes, with this new way of putting policy in place there is no room for the input of the voters, workers, or the community. With this great system the government can maximise its efficiency by just letting nutty corporate think-tanks implement what ever wacky ideas they have dreamed-up lately without dealing with that whiny public.

We have seen this process in the promotion of the Atlantic Gateway group of policies (AKA: Atlantica), the so-called "Self-Sufficiency Task Force" (we get more Orwellian in this province every year), and now it is being applied to basic public services like health care and energy.

Their Tactic: Pretend it has been that way all along.

The concept is simple and it execution Machiavellian. It goes something like this:

First, go to your friendly ideologues in the corporate funded think-tanks (like the Fraser Institute or the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies) and ask them what policies will maximise profit for the few through the exploitation of the many?

These think-tanks' policies promote idea that government should not be funding public services, should increase costs for the individual, and should then give that "extra" money to the owners of private businesses.

For the health care system, it can be outlined by the government under-funding health care, meanwhile, maintaining your taxes and basically forcing people to buy health insurance from a for-profit company.

The scam is in the next step where the insurance company gives the government money (the money it has taken from you) to provide "extra" health services. The government then claims that it has increased its revenue without raising taxes! Of-course, the reality is that you, the citizen, are paying more for the same services. On top of this, someone is making profit off people getting sick or injured. A great job if you can get it.

The second step in this new 'democracy' is: speak to an advertising company and get a name for the policy initiative. This is so the name will convey the idea that people should want the new policy. This is especially important if the policy is unpopular and the name has to convey the opposite of what the policy is. Some common examples include the Atlantic Gateway and "Self-Sufficiency Task Force". The Atlantic Gateway has to do with building high-ways for Chinese goods coming through Halifax to get to the US and the Self-Sufficiency Task Force has to do with re-writing NB policy to make NB dependent on the Chinese and US economies and international corporations.

For the health care system, we can see this part of the strategy when the Health Minister calls the years of chronic under-funding of our health care system (resulting in less doctors and nurses and thus un-used beds and rooms) as "excess capacity".

This outlines the idea that we have a crisis where we have beds that could be used but, for some reason, are sitting empty. Here, the "private sector" swoops in with the solution of charging the patients for use of the "excess capacity".

The thing is, these companies provide services that the government is already providing in infrastructure (i.e. the hospital) that our tax dollars paid to build. There is nothing like corporate welfare to keep businesses happy.

The third step in the new 'democracy' model is to get the ad company to package the policy so that people think they have to accept anti-worker and anti-community policy or face economic and social catastrophe.

Once again, we see that the Health Minister following this prescription in his remarks on the need for fundamental change in our health care system and constant allusion to the (mysteriously) crumbling infrastructure and increasing wait times. Fear of our health care system collapsing, even when research suggest the opposite, is a great way to get the public to accept bad policy.

Forth, get your hacks who write for the Irving-owned monopoly print media to produce stories denouncing the naysayers as out-of-touch dreamers who do not understand reality. This especially important, again, if they are intellectuals that study the area or people that have been working in the sector for years.

The recent articles in the Irving media pointing out the disasters of not 'thinking out-side the box', presumably this "box" is that oh-so wacky Canadian idea that health care should be universally accessible no matter what your economic background, are cases in point.

The fifth step in this model for the new New Brunswick 'democracy' is for when you get too much opposition from the general public. The answer: re-direct the focus of the debate.

The example here is the recent comment by Mike Murphy that private health care already exists in our public system. He tries to paint the use of our hospitals by the publicly-funded Work-Place Health and Safety Commission as similar to that of a for-profit health-care initiative.

Now, it is true that the Commission is a "third party" in that it is not directly linked to the health-care transfer from the Federal Government and it is an 'external organisation' to that of the hospitals. However, to suggest that the Commission is like a private, for-profit company renting space in our public hospitals seems like equating salmon and lobster just because they both live in the sea. The suggestion itself should be seen as utter nonsense. One public system giving money to another is not, in any conceivable way, private health care.

New Brunswickers need a government that is going to strengthen and defend, not attack and dismantle, one of our most iconic and definitive institutions. Wrapping bad, unpopular policy in shiny propaganda to deceive the people of New Brunswick must be condemned.

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