September 23, 2008

Pt 1: Private Health Care - That was the scene outside the Copeman Healthcare Centre in Calgary yesterday. The Centre is a private, for-profit primary care clinic that offers an "elite program" of care for 3,900 dollars in the first year and 2,900 dollars a year after that. It's run by a company that set-up a similar clinic in Vancouver three years ago.

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Pt 2: Philippines - Documentary - Some countries export wheat. For others, it's nickel or copper. In the developing world, more and more countries export manufactured goods -- cars, refrigerators, shoes. And then there is the Philippines, a country that exports people. For the Philippine Government, it's a lot like any other industry. Get your people to send their wages home as remittances and it's cash in the country's coffers. And no one does it bigger or better than the Philippines. They've been renting out their people -- sending them on what's become known as The Big Commute -- for more than 30 years. And these days more of them are coming to Canada. Karin Wells is a documentary producer with CBC Radio. She traveled to Manila earlier this year and she joins us in studio.

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Pt 3: Canadian Corporate Bailouts - That was Stephen Harper at a campaign stop at the Toronto Board of Trade. But that was two elections ago, back in 2004. And while the Prime Minister still talks the talk of laissez-faire economic policy, he's made some notable exceptions in his walk. An 80-million-dollar loan for Ford, 27-million for Heroux Devtek, a Quebec-based aerospace company and a whopping 350-million dollars promised to Bombardier. And that's all in the last three months.

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It's Tuesday, September 23rd.

The world's biggest particle collider has been shut down because of an electrical fault. It now has to be warmed up from near absolute zero to a temperature where humans can safely work on it ... a process that could take a month.

Currently, Stephen Harper's stylist has been brought in for consultations.

This is The Current.


Private Health Care

That was the scene outside the Copeman Healthcare Centre in Calgary yesterday. The Centre is a private, for-profit primary care clinic that offers an "elite program" of care for 3,900 dollars in the first year and 2,900 dollars a year after that. It's run by a company that set-up a similar clinic in Vancouver three years ago. The Calgary location opened yesterday and it was already beset by protesters calling for the government to shut it down. Canadians for Medicare, the group that organized the protest, says the centre is an affront to the Canada Health Act and a threat to public health care in Canada.

But Don Copeman sees it differently. He's the founder of the Copeman Healthcare Centre and he joined us from Calgary.

The Impact of Private Health Care

For good or bad, private health care clinics have become a feature of Canadian health care. But what kind of impact they're having on the system is open to debate, especially as they move from niche services to more general primary care. For their thoughts on how private care is shifting and what it means for health care in Canada, Anna Maria was joined by two people who see it every day.

Danielle Martin is a family doctor and the Chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. She came to our Toronto studio. And Albert Schumacher is a former President of the Canadian Medical Association. He's also a family doctor and the Special Advisor for Canadian Medical Affairs with the Detroit Medical Center. He joined us from our Windsor, Ontario studio.


 

Philippines - Documentary

Some countries export wheat. For others, it's nickel or copper. In the developing world, more and more countries export manufactured goods -- cars, refrigerators, shoes. And then there is the Philippines, a country that exports people. For the Philippine Government, it's a lot like any other industry. Get your people to send their wages home as remittances and it's cash in the country's coffers. And no one does it bigger or better than the Philippines. They've been renting out their people -- sending them on what's become known as The Big Commute -- for more than 30 years. And these days more of them are coming to Canada. Karin Wells is a documentary producer with CBC Radio. She traveled to Manila earlier this year and she joins us in studio.


 

Canadian Corporate Bailouts

That was Stephen Harper at a campaign stop at the Toronto Board of Trade. But that was two elections ago, back in 2004. And while the Prime Minister still talks the talk of laissez-faire economic policy, he's made some notable exceptions in his walk. An 80-million-dollar loan for Ford, 27-million for Heroux Devtek, a Quebec-based aerospace company and a whopping 350-million dollars promised to Bombardier. And that's all in the last three months.

As for the opposition leaders, Stephane Dion is promising a billion-dollar fund to promote green technology in the manufacturing sector. And Jack Layton -- the leader of a party that once railed against "corporate welfare bums" -- is promising two billion dollars a year to help companies produce low-emission cars and create 40,000 manufacturing jobs.

So given all that proposed spending, it seems like a good time to ask if it's sound industrial policy or just government waste.

For their thoughts on that question, Anna Maria Tremonti was joined by Mark Milke. He's a public policy analyst and the author of a report for the Fraser Institute called "Corporate Welfare: A 144-billion-dollar addiction." He was in Calgary. And Jim Stanford is an economist with the Canadian Auto Workers Union in Toronto.


Last Word

Earlier on this show, we heard about the controversy over a new "elite" private healthcare clinic in Calgary. It's a recurring theme in Canadian politics. Eight years ago, demonstrators held a rally in Edmonton to protest Premier Ralph Klein's plans to let private clinics act as hospitals.

We left you with one of the speeches from that rally from actor Kiefer Sutherland, the grandson of the father of Canadian medicare, Tommy Douglas.

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