Monday, May 19, 2008


The past year has seen much made by American media, including the film Sicko, of the supposedly superior Canadian medical system. Before the new White House resident rushes off to implement a national health care system based on the Canadian model, examine its realities. The Canadian health care system is breaking just when it is about to be tested with unprecedented pressure from a wave of aging boomers.

One of the benefits of being a Canadian resident is that you get a Medicare card. This magic access card opens doctors’ offices as well hospital emergency room care, at no cost to you. The No Cost factor is appealing and it is misleading. God help you if you require an operation that necessitates an operating room. Wait six months to a year, or two, unless you’re actually dying, … well actually, that’s not quite right either, some people die waiting. The waiting is a very real impediment to long term health since patients are impacted by irreversible damage from progressing deterioration. If that isn’t enough, add the onset of depression while painkillers become a daily staple of patient diets, and you have a health care system in the midst of cardiac infarction.

What could have gone so wrong? Why is there a new term called “health-care rationing” if the system is so enviable? Isn’t rationing a concept that suggests capitulation?

There is an abundance of strategic thinking for fixes that range from preventative care as in don’t smoke or you’ll get sick and take up a hospital bed, or doctor retention, meaning, pay these guys more or they’ll move to the U.S. The system is breaking because its promise is under funded and many using its services don’t contribute a dime to its costs.

Canadian taxpayers should ask themselves why so many of the new condos and skyscrapers that have clogged up their major cities in the past decade are over 50% empty. Look over a major city skyline between eleven o’clock and midnight, and count lit apartments in recently build structures. In some cases vacancy is 75%. The taxpayers should ask the question, then listen for answers. There are multitudes of well-documented methods of abusing the system that all Canadian politicians ignore, nevertheless as it relates to Canada’s medical care failure, a vacant condo provides some insight. That vacancy is both an address and a ticket to free medical care through abuse of the Canadian immigration service by foreign residents. If you’re a foreign student at a local university, you are even invited to apply for a Medical Care Card after on 3 months of residency. How easy is that? You can also use one of a long list of scams being promoted under the “new-would-be-entrepreneurs” programs where a small investment, quickly returned once you’re in, gets you in the Canadian system which has no effective method of tracking what you do or don’t do. Some retail businesses seem to have new owners every few months. You can almost set your calendar to the cycling.

Too many “visitors” of the past decade have been shown to be opportunists. Canada has little control of who enters or when. The acquisition of Canadian landed immigrant status or residency, and all of the rights vested therein is an abused process and the abuse is rampant.

Without reviewing all the possibilities, and the vast impact on the rest of the Canadian social or economic fabric, it remains that too many who pay no Canadian income taxes, show up when it is time to get medical attention. The new breed of “pretend Canadians” who pay no taxes, are not the only ones to abuse the system for health and other reasons. Canada doesn’t tax those who have slid assets to offshore tax havens to end their tax paying days. These expatriates temporarily move, but come back when the doctor needs a visit. The answer to the problem is simple, but it would take the enactment of a few bills by Parliament, and Canada finds such a step a virtual impossibility when it is saddled with a minority government that has no will. The nation with the world’s most open immigration system not only has the most liberal policies, but those lax policies are being exploited, and the taxpayers are the ones hurting.

So here’s a suggestion for when there is a majority government in Canada:
Place a surtax on all foreign owned real estate, commercial and residential, using a double digit multiple of the current tax levies based on the assessed mill rate, and transfer that revenue to the medical care system of each Province. A drop in real estate values will result? Not likely, but Canadians can wish.

While America builds its new medical care system, it should ignore the vaunting politicians North of the border, and talk to the taxpayers. They’ll be easy to find. Look in the long tail of any line-up.

1 comment:

  1. It is free but it not always means that it is the best. In common cases I see no problem but if there is some special occurrence then is really hard to get a proper health care. I am working as a Toronto real estate agent and some of my clients are immigrants from eastern Europe. They are here more than 10 years and they still prefer to travel to they home countries and not just because it is cheaper. They can get it here for free instead of paying at home country but they have to wait and …