Finger-pointing. Name-calling. Tit for tat. Nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah. These are the kinds of things you’d expect to hear on an elementary school yard, not coming from those we’ve entrusted to lead us.
Yet that’s precisely the petty garbage we’ve been inundated with since Monday between Premier Mike Harris and Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. And it’s all the more galling coming over an issue as important as health care.
Frankly, if our leaders spent as much time, energy, and money looking to solve the health care woes as they do blaming each other for the mess, there wouldn’t be a crisis.
First, Premier Harris called the federal Liberal government the single-biggest threat to universal medicare over the shortfall of funding it flows to the provinces. Not so, countered the PM, saying Ontario was more intent to make tax cuts than to put money into the health care system.
“He [Harris] chose to cut taxes to the point where he’s hamstrung his government,” chimed in federal Health minister Alan Rock. Preposterous, thundered the premier, noting he’s managed to balance the province’s books while cutting taxes and increasing health-care spending by $6 billion.
The premier even issued a press release Tuesday to reject Prime Minister’s Chrétien’s assertion the premiers had a deal on health care, saying suggestions that the Ontario government ever agreed to the sufficiency of current health funding are “false” and “misleading.”
But the bottom line is: who cares who’s at fault? Certainly not the person waiting to see a cancer specialist. Nor the person waiting for a hospital bed for heart surgery. Nor the family of a dead child who was turned away from an overcrowded emergency room.
Ontarians, and all Canadians, need politicians willing to fight hard to find solutions to the health care crisis, not ones more concerned about deflecting blame. Leave the trash-talking to the WWF. We deserve much better than that.