Fed Watch!

Another Way to Sustainable Health

New Brunswick has just announced (http://www.gov.nb.ca/cnb/news/fcs/2002e0037fc.htm) a 1.8 million dollar prenatal benefit program. Tied to this program are sessions for the expectant mothers in healthy lifestyle and eating habits to help make sure that the baby is born healthy. It is hoped that by concentrating on the prevention of sick infants, this program will enable the health-care system of New Brunswick to save much more than the costs of the program.

This benefit program is part of a $50 million five-year development program for New Brunswick children. One wonders how much the Alberta government might have saved if instead of requesting a mostly vapid report to back up their demands, they instead got on with the business of making health care sustainable.

Health Care for the People, by the People

Meanwhile, in Manitoba, they are holding (http://www.gov.mb.ca/chc/press/top/2002/01/2002-01-16-01.html) public discussions about what to do for the future of Health Care. This way, ordinary members of the public will have just as much ability for input as the board member of a private insurance company (http://www.canoe.ca/Health0111/01_alta-cp.html). Whether this comes up with any innovative or useful solutions remains to be seen, but at least it can be said that it is being done in a democratic manner.

Do the Cabinet Shuffle

Prime Minister Chretien has moved around (http://www.gc.ca/wire/2002/01/150102_e.html) the members of his Cabinet, and the moves show how the Premier is still quite cagey. Of course, few people would actually claim the Prime Minister is dumb; it’s his apparent lack of morals that are the problem. Case in point, the member responsible for Public Works and Government Services was caught using the influence of his position in order to get positions for his friends and supporters.

He has conveniently been named the Ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark, which means he’s no longer in Cabinet to make the Prime Minister look bad without the PM having to admit that maybe he wasn’t the best choice to be in a Cabinet position. That Prime Minister Chretien does not think the man deserves to be punished for his actions makes perfect sense however, as according to Chretien, stepping in for your friends and constituents is just what a good politician does. He seems to have no inkling why such pressure is wrong. Perhaps if it were rephrased in the manner of a boss proposing a sexual encounter with an employee the PM would understand that even if intended completely innocently, an employer has undue influence over the employees. In other moves, Alberta’s own Anne McLellan has been named the Minister of Health, a particularly shrewd shift as her presence in Alberta might be able to give her, and hence the Federal Liberals, a little more insight into Klein’s health care reform plans. The move is probably intended as a warning to Premier Klein that a very close eye is going to be kept on him.

Also, gone is Hedy Fry, she of the burning crosses in British Columbia – an embarrassing statement which she later had to admit she had no factual backing for. No doubt she’s being moved out because she was unable to put together some sort of cover up story like the PM himself did for the Shawinagate affair.

If only honesty in politics were as valued as spin control.