Party politics have no place in health care

Brodie Thomas
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You’ve got to admit, it looks pretty partisan.Three hospital radiothons: two in Progressive Conservative ridings, and one in a Liberal riding.

At each of the two radiothons in Progressive Conservative ridings, a cabinet minister and a Progressive Conservative MHA from nearby ridings show up on the air and pledge significant donations to the cause.

Meanwhile, down in the Liberal riding, no provincial money.

But the Health Department has a quick response when the perceived slight is pointed out: nobody in the Liberal riding asked for money.

And it’s true. They didn’t. It’s pretty convenient. But the issue is more nuanced than that.

At each announcement, a cabinet minister was present. Are we really to believe that these on-air appearances weren’t first discussed around the cabinet table?

If the Port au Port district voted for a Liberal or NDP representative, would he or she have been invited to sit next to Minister Joan Burke at the microphone to announce a $50,000 contribution from government? The answer is of course not. Only Progressive Conservatives were invited to announce the funding.

The whole point of the radiothon is to bridge the gap between government dollars and local need. Locals put up their own money because they know it will remain in the area.

So if representatives from a certain political stripe (any political stripe) show up at a grass-roots event to hand us back our tax dollars, we should be skeptical.

A government so obsessed with message control and image should’ve known the consequence of appearing on only two out of three radiothons. We will be watching to see if this mistake is rectified.

Canada’s health care system is rooted in the belief that we all be treated equally as much as possible. Money can’t get you to the front of the doctor’s line in this country.

Casting a vote for the “correct” party might lead to getting our roads paved more quickly, but it shouldn’t lead to better health care in some ridings over others. Health care dollars should be handed out on the basis of need. Period. Health care dollars should not be used as a partisan tool.

Organizations: Progressive Conservative MHA, Health Department

Geographic location: Port au Port, Canada

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