Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Teh Overwhelming Stupid: Crux-of-the-Matter edition.

After throwing down the gauntlet regarding all that despicable anti-conservative media bias, Blogging Tory Sandy apparently wants to make sure we understand the rules as she produces her list of "Bias: It Looks Like This":

No matter who is the governing party of Canada, it is important to keep track of their record. As such, I have only included actions that have already been taken by the Harper Conservative government and/or legislation that has already passed. I have not included political statements, spin or promises. The topics are on the Environment, Tackling Crime, Accountability, Child Care, Health Care, Sovereignty, and Lowering Taxes.

Hmmmm ... so let's pick something from that list to examine more closely, shall we? How about ... this one?

Signed Patient Wait Time Guarantee agreements with all provinces and territories;

Yes, Sandy, that does sound impressive ... until you look a little more closely:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he has fulfilled his pledge to establish medical wait-times guarantees across Canada, but critics say the deal falls short of his campaign promise...

The creation of a wait-times guarantee was one of the Conservatives' five priorities in the last election campaign.

But the deal does not come into effect until 2010, and provinces only have to promise timely treatment in one of several priority areas:

* Cancer care
* Hip and knee replacement
* Cardiac care
* Diagnostic imaging
* Cataract surgeries

And that's a problem why? Oh ... right:

The Conservatives had promised in the last federal election campaign that they would ensure guarantees in all of the above areas.

"If we focus on one part of the continuum, we're just shuffling chairs on the deck," said Dr. Chris Simpson of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society.

Yeah, that's kind of an important detail, wouldn't you say? And given that the provinces need only make a guarantee in one of those areas, and that those same provinces get to pick the area, which one do you think they'll select? Go on, give it some thought ... it'll come to you:

Harvey Voogd of the Alberta-based Friends of Medicare group told The Canadian Press the provinces would likely sign up for an area they have already been working to address.

"No government's going to walk away from a pot of money," Voogd said.

"Nobody has signed on to a difficult wait time, all have signed up for wait times they're already beavering away at or successfully meeting.

Why, yes ... given a choice, why not just pick the issue that you already have a handle on? Does life get any better than that?

Seriously, Sandy, I know you mean well, but you and your BT colleagues are the last people who should be trying to document media bias, given how hopelessly incompetent and biased you are to begin with.

Take my advice -- just let this go before you embarrass yourself any further.

P.S. Given that Sandy's hideously dishonest and worthless list is probably going to become a mindless, right-wing talking point in short order, perhaps we need to collectively eviscerate it and post said evisceration. As an example, after crowing about how the Stephen Harper Party of Canada 'Invested $400 million in the Canada Health Infoway to develop electronic health records and reduce medical errors”;', curiously, we read nothing about, oh, this.

And I would have thought that would be equally newsworthy. Silly me.

P.P.S. And whatever happened to those 125,000 new child care spaces, Sandy? Just curious. Perhaps Sandy could balance her list with another of Harper's broken promises. You know, like this. After all, it would be the fair and unbiased thing to do, don't you think?


Ti-Guy said...

I can't even be bothered with the "smart ones" anymore, since they're labouring under the delusion that the absence of documentation or original research when commenting on Conservative policy is superior to whatever else is out there. It's particularly sad to see a Ph.D in education expecting a herd of mouth-breathing hard-right wackos (I noted quickly the presence of 'MaryT' and 'Real Conservative' in the comments section of that blog) to provide that discussion with anything useful.

This is just an exercise in Conservative propaganda, as far as I can tell.

Red Tory said...

Sandy is possibly one of the worst kinds of hypocrites inasmuch as she’s not only oblivious to her own partisanship and blind to the flaws of her chosen party, but sanctimonious about the pretense of being objective and “non-partisan.” It’s a joke.

Anyway, aside from that, you actually get a two-fer on this “taming the queue” broken healthcare promise because at the same time as the government announced this sweetheart deal with the provinces that would allow Harper to check off one of his original “five priorities” that had remained outstanding at the time (remember he was gearing up for an election then and didn’t want that pesky unresolved issue dangling out there), he also did away with the accountability provisions requiring the provinces to report back to the federal government on the actual disposition of the funds provided to them. In reality these simply go into general revenues of the province and how they’re spent is anyone’s guess. In other words, while they amount provided by the feds is for a specific purpose, there’s nothing to ensure that the funds don’t go elsewhere and perhaps only a fraction is spent as it was intended by the federal government. The reporting process had been a shambles under the Liberals, but they were at least working towards getting it into shape, but the Conservatives did away with the committee providing oversight on this matter — in effect scrapping the reporting/accountability requirements.

Didn’t Sandy mention that? Oopsie.

Red Tory said...

p.s. From my post on this broken promise back in April:

In another demonstration of how much he doesn’t want an election, yesterday Stephen Harper re-announced a $612 million commitment in the March budget to help provinces improve hospital wait times. This new funding is now being sold to the public as fulfillment of one of the five priority promises of the Conservatives in the 2006 election. In fact however, it’s not even approximately close.

To refresh your memory, during the election Harper promised he would guarantee that no patient would wait an unacceptable time for health care under a Conservative government and that all patients must be able to receive treatment in “medically acceptable maximum time for publicly insured services.” The idea was that patients unable to get timely medical care would be sent to another jurisdiction or allowed to get treatment in private clinics at public expense. According to Harper at the time, “It will fulfill the commitment that federal and provincial governments made last year when they agreed to establish maximum acceptable waiting times for key treatments and procedures and then meet those standards – but the Conservative plan will be implemented right away, not delayed until December 2007.” Best of all, Harper’s plan involved no new money to provinces to achieve this.

After more than a year of inaction on this file, the Conservatives have now determined that more than half a billion dollars is required to deliver a dramatically reduced version of their promise; a care guarantee in one treatment area rather than all five priority areas initially outlined – cancer, heart, diagnostic imaging, joint replacements and sight restoration. To get its share of the $612 million, a province can promise to provide a guarantee in the area of its choice, and do so in the manner of its choosing.

In other words, the provinces will continue to do what they were already successfully doing anyway while pocketing millions for their non-accomplishments. Also, rather than guarantees being implemented right away as promised by Harper in 2005, they won’t take effect until 2010. According to Harvey Voogd of Alberta-based Friends of Medicare, “Anybody who follows this stuff can see what the federal government is doing is not a well thought out wait-time plan but is covering their political backside for any federal election.”