Can the opposition parties, primarily the NDP and the Liberals, actually get their act together and save the country from more destruction by the Harper Conservatives? There is evidence that there is at least some talking behind the scenes about the formation of a coalition government. Widely reported remarks by Toronto Star columnist Chantal Hébert suggest that Jean Chrétien and Ed Broadbent are talking. Bob Rae blogged last week on the 25th anniversary of the Ontario NDP/Liberal coalition government he was part of and ridiculed the Conservatives fear-mongering about the renewed "coalition threat." Reports that members of the Liberal caucus are eager for such a move are also being strategically leaked to the media.
In its budget last week, the Charest government mounted an attack on the principle of universal access to healthcare: it wants to charges citizens for visits to hospitals. At the time they file income tax, someone with cancer, going for weekly treatments in Quebec would be dinged $25 for each visit. Over a 30-week period they would run up charges of $750, plus the annual fee.
The Canada Health Act embodies an idea. Healthcare should be available to all those who are sick and in need, not just to those who can pay for it.
Federal budgets are about priorities. The numbers in this week's budget will underscore the Harper government's prioritization of corporate profits and war. Canadian military spending is now the highest it has been since World War II. Canada is one of the top 15 military spenders in the world and the sixth largest of NATO's 28 member countries.