The debate over genetically modified organisms is a great case study in how to think critically.
By William Saletan
This debate is about more than papayas. It’s about how we assess the world.
… by far the most dangerous threat to medicare is Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Harper hates medicare more than any other aspect of Canadian governance and democracy. He actually quit politics in the late ’90s to become the head of the viciously right-wing National Citizens Coalition — an organization founded in the early 1970s explicitly to fight medicare.
Until 2014, medicare in Canada received federal funding through a 10-year (legally binding) accord negotiated by the provinces and the federal government, providing provinces with a 6-per-cent increase every year. But what is in place now is a 10-year funding formula imposed by Harper on the provinces with virtually no consultation. Its increase per year is just 3 per cent — which means a loss of $36 billion over the 10 years. It is classic Harper — make a structural change whose bite is worse and worse as years go by. The underfunding systematically pushes provinces to cut and privatize.
Harper has abandoned all federal oversight or guardianship. There are no strings attached to the money. And the equalization aspect of the former accord is also gone, meaning increasingly unequal health care across the country and an erosion of the principle of universality. Lastly, the current funding formula not only brings the funding contribution of Ottawa to a record low 19 per cent; it is not legally binding and if Harper wins the election he could unilaterally chop billions from medicare any time he chooses.
Some 40 per cent of Canadians can’t be bothered to vote in federal elections, mistaking ill-informed cynicism for sophistication along the lines of “they’re all the same.” I wonder if they’ll remember that refrain 30 years from now when they have to remortgage their house to pay their medical bills.