Or so Stephen Harper claims. As with all politicians, you have to "read between the lines" a bit before you figure out what Harper's really saying. Frankly, I think Harper is so full of it when it comes to social policy it's not even funny. Why do I say this? Consider the following:
1) This article that Stephen Harper WROTE in 2003. (I've referenced it before, but I think it's important to review such a "seminal" work in Harper's oeuvre.
2) Within less than 24 hours of the writ being dropped, Harper resurrects the SGM debate
3) If nobody else hasn't noticed, the CPC hasn't exactly distanced itself from the hard-line elements of its Reform/Alliance background. In fact, MPs like Jason Kenney and Art Hanger are quite prominent in Tory circles. Hardly promising.
So - what do I think Harper's realy going to do:
1) The "wait times" thing will quickly vanish off into the sunset.
2) Medicare will become "MediInsure", with some kind of premium structure introduced similar to what Alberta uses. (after all, it's "insurance" isn't it - not like they would be increasing taxes or anything...)
3) Private corporate health care providers will be encouraged.
4) A restructured "Medi-Insure" system will then cease to provide all but the most fundamental of emergency services, and as much as possible, user-pay structure.
If you want a picture of how brilliant these programs can be, I refer you to Iowa's Department of Public Health. This is the same lot whose abstinence education program came up with this piece of idiocy.
Of course, private, corporate health care providers will happily take over all of the profitable enterprises - leaving the public system to deal with the most dire situations which are not profitable.
There won't be a parallel, private system - the public system it would be parallel to will be eviscerated. Even in a symposium held in Alberta, experts from the UK and New Zealand (which have done the dual parallel thing) said that it wasn't a good idea.
Oh yes, if Medicare costs are truly out of control, Harper may well find that he needs that extra 2% or so in the GST...if he's going to keep it alive.