Review: It Began At Old Perlican

Medicare is a fact of life and death in Canada. Yet, as editor Gregory Marchildon notes, the story of universal health insurance is little known. “Why have historians devoted so little attention to the history of medicare?” asks Marchildon. There is no single inventor, no drama, no arresting narrative. It is the story of patchwork initiatives that evolved over generations. Making Medicare fills the void. Contributors in a series of essays recount the Canadian struggle for public health insurance. The result is insightful and surprising, like the story of the "cottage hospitals" of Newfoundland & Labrador. In 1936 Newfoundland, then a British colony, opened its first public hospital in the fishing village of Old Perlican. In time nearly two dozen cottage hospitals were established across the island. READ MORE

Want Answers On Waffen SS

MPs yesterday asked the House affairs committee to investigate how ex-Speaker Anthony Rota arranged a parliamentary tribute to a Waffen SS member. The Nazi military unit was named a criminal organization by the 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal for its participation in mass murders of Jews: "How in God’s name did this occur?" READ MORE

Little Hope For Realty Target

Meeting a federal target to triple annual housing starts to the highest levels in Canadian history will be “difficult to attain,” CMHC said yesterday. One MP described the target of an extra 3.5 million new homes by 2030 as a fantasy: "I don’t see how we will attain it with the current environment." READ MORE

Arbitrator Vetoes Vax Firings

Two Regina refinery workers fired for declining semi-weekly Covid tests have regained their jobs. A Saskatchewan labour arbitrator said the firings were unjustified once the men were suspended without pay: 'They had a sincere personal objection to an invasion of their bodily integrity and protection of private health information.' READ MORE

Jail For Farm Trespassers: MP

Parliament must enact stern measures to counter disruptive animal activists, says the sponsor of an anti-trespassing bill. Conservative MP John Barlow (Foothills, Alta.) said six-figure fines and jailing are needed to counter groups whose “sole goal is to end animal agriculture.” READ MORE

Complain CBC Garbled Facts

A Senator yesterday filed a formal complaint alleging sloppy journalism by CBC reporter John Paul Tasker. The parliamentary coverage was “false,” “inaccurate” and appeared to breach network standards, said the complaint to the CBC Ombudsman: 'Tasker misinterpreted information.' READ MORE

Guest Commentary

Garry Breitkreuz

The Ottawa Experience

Ottawa can change a person. Parliament can be a head-turning experience. There are a lot of receptions on the Hill, a lot of drinking. An MP typically sees two dozen invitations a week. In 22 years I’ve followed a simple set of rules: a) only attend receptions that concern issues important to my constituents; b) stick to one glass of wine. I’d never been in politics before my first election as a Reformer in 1993. All these years I’ve been cautious. Of course there are rewards, but being a parliamentarian is also a job. If not for the commitments I made, I’d have given it up.