Margaret Crawford (left) and Theresa Buchner, directors from the Society for the Protection and Care of Seniors, are encouraging the public to attend “Save Canada’s Public Health Care” event by the BC Health Coalition, featuring co-chair presenter Rick Turner. (Sheri Regnier photo)

‘Save Canada’s Public Health Care’ presentation Wednesday in Trail

Representative from BC Health Coalition will speak at Trail United Church

Just because a landmark lawsuit about Canada’s public health care has fallen out of headlines, that doesn’t mean local senior advocates are letting Dr. Brian Day fall by the wayside, or his bid for private pay medical services.

This is a critical case for the protection of the country’s universal health care system, the outcome will affect every Canadian for generations to come, states the Society for the Protection and Care of Seniors (SPCS).

“We advocate for seniors, but I don’t think this is just a seniors’ issue,” says society director Theresa Buchner. “Myself, I’ve been retired for four years, and there are many people that are either just retired or coming into retirement … We are all getting to that age group, maybe not right now, but in the next 10 or 20 years we are going to need more medical aid and we are going to be a demand on the medical system,” she warned.

“If Brian Day wins, it’s going to make it worse for all of us, he will take down the Canadian medical system.”

Day, physician-owner of Vancouver’s for-profit Cambie Surgery Centre, is a leading proponent of privatized health care. He launched a constitutional challenge in 2009 that went to court last September, claiming the provincial health legislation limits for-profit delivery of medical services.

In a nutshell, if Day wins his case, a two-tiered medical system would come into play. The BC Health Coalition states, “He’ll open the floodgates to the US-style system that relies on private insurance and allows providers to set any price on care that the market will allow.”

With the case currently muddled in the legal system, the Greater Trail society and United Steelworkers locals 480 and 9705 are encouraging the public to attend an update about the trial on June 14.

(Three community sponsors in Nelson are hosting the talk in Nelson on June 13, at 7 p.m. in the Legion Hall)

“Save Canada’s Public Health Care” begins at 7 p.m. in the Trail United Church. The event will open with a presentation by Rick Turner from the BC Health Coalition and wind up with a public Q &A.

“A period of time has gone by with no real mention of Dr. Brian Day,” said Buchner. “We encourage people to come, listen and ask questions,” she emphasized.

“Because if we go in that direction, health care will become astronomically unaffordable for most people … it will have an immediate effect on seniors, so as seniors we are taking on this role, but it’s going to affect everyone in the future.”

Margaret Crawford, also a SPCS director, is an unwavering advocate for universal health care, however she acknowledged there are two sides to every story.

“Looking at other side of it, by having private care clinics like Dr. Day’s, supposedly that allows people to have freedom of choice,” she said. “If they can afford it, they can go to his clinic.”

The reality is, it’s not going to happen like that, Crawford said.

“We are going to end up with a two-tiered system and we’ll get even less (money) into public health … we need to have the public system step up to the plate and put the money into public health care.”

Crawford’s insight into the medical system is unique and far reaching – her father was (deceased 1976) Trail physician and internist Dr. Daniel James McGregor Crawford, better known as “Dr. Greg.”

She has witnessed first hand how far the Canadian medical system has come since her father began a 40-plus year practice beginning in the 1930s and ending in 1972.

“Initially they didn’t have public health care – my father was paid in chickens and grappa,” Crawford began.

“I think of my father’s generation and how hard they fought for universal medical care,” she recalled. “I used to see letters where they were lobbying for it, and trying to stress the importance of it.

“So it’s worrisome to see us goes backward and be forced to buy the United States-type health insurance, which is cost prohibitive.”

This Brian Day case could be the game changer, Crawford said.

“That’s the importance of really monitoring what’s happening because it will seriously impact us all if it passes,” she shared. “Rick (Turner) has been here to speak on the same topic just before the court case started, he’s a great speaker and well worth hearing,” Crawford concluded.

“The trouble is we haven’t heard recent updates, there’s not much in the news- so this will give us all an update as to where things stand and where we are headed.”

SPCS is a non-profit, volunteer based seniors’ health care advocacy group located in Greater Trail and the West Kootenay. The group’s mission is to advocate and pursue options for adequate, affordable, accessible and safe continuing care resources and services for seniors within their immediate communities by advocating, communicating, disseminating information and educating.

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