Friday, April 28, 2006

NAFTA and Medicare

The proposed softwood lumber agreement is highly instructive. It probably, realisticly, is the best deal we can get from the American's, who support Free Trade to the hilt... As long as it means they come out on top. Actual, real competition is unacceptable.

It may be the case, as many analysts have noted, that American lumber interests in particular are uniquely bloody-minded. That the American lumber industry owns the American government lock stock and wooden barrel.

But as the Toronto Star put it today:

as shown by this deal, Canada cannot rely on the U.S. to be a free and fair trader. It hasn't been so for the last 20 years, and there is no reason to believe it will be so in the future.

The same trade agreement the Americans have so creatively interpreted in the Softwood lumber dispute effectively governs Canadian sovereignty over public healthcare.

The terms of NAFTA are clear; Medicare stays off the table only so long and so far as it stays public, anywhere the private sector enters the healthcare system it is forevermore protected by a trade agreement that would punish Canadians trying to assert sovereignty over this essential service by reversing private sector experiments. The elites calling for private sector experiments like the Third Way tell us we shouldn't be afraid to try new - ie: old - ideas like private health insurance, that what Alberta does with health care has no effect on and is no business of the rest of Canada.

These are knowing, deliberate lies.

The all out corporate media assault on the public system has yet to manufacture the consent necessary to dismantle the public system. Klein jumped the gun on a long range plan, hoping to give one last big gift to the Private sector. He may even have pushed back the time-table by mobilizing opposition. Make no mistake the destruction of Canada's Medicare system is an essential sub-heading in the deep integration agenda.

There are no private healthcare experiments. There are only permanent, irreversible changes, something which should be kept in mind whenever neo-conservative politicians or their media toadies blurble happily about 'innovation' and 'fresh thinking'.

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