Tag Archives: private

Statscan Censorship?

An interesting post on The Progressive Economics Forum


Censorship in Canada

Censorship in Canada

Once again, there seems to be a heavier hand in editing Statistics Canada’s releases.  This morning The Daily reported that:

“Spending on research and development in the higher education sector amounted to $9.6 billion (current dollars) in the fiscal year 2006/2007.”

but there was no word on whether this was an increase or decrease from the previous period, which Statscan releases almost always have.

The year 2006/7 was the first year that the Harper government was in office.  Investment in research and development is essential to increase our economy’s productivity, which hasn’t increased since the start of 2006 (and has grown at a dismal rate since 2000).

Canada has some of the most generous tax incentives for private R&D in the world, yet Canada has one of the lowest rates of investment in R&D among OECD countries thanks to both low rates of government and business investment in R&D, accoridng to Industry Canada’s Science and Technology Data tables.  Canada’s investment in higher education R&D had recently been relatively good, but it looks like the current federal government may soon rectify that.

The Harper government is laying off federal scientists and forcing departments to slash their R&D budgets .  It is deregulating food safety inspection and transferring or selling off federal labs to the private sector, intent on further commercialization and privatization. They eliminated the national science advisor and have instead appointed Preston Manning among others to help advise on science issues.  This approach to science recently earned the Harper government scathing criticism in an editorial in Nature, one of the most respected science publications in the world.

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Will private Healthcare work in Canada?

I still say “NO”! The main argument for permitting a two tier private alternative system is that this would cause better overall access to care and relieve pressure on the public system. The problem with this argument is that there is no data to truly support this, especially for a country like Canada.  Albeit I am open to a discussion on the matter. There are a lot of ethical questions on both sides that need to be answered. The obvious advantage would be to those who could afford to pay or to purchase additional private health care insurance. In reality the major effect of allowing a private option would be to move resources from the public system into the private system, causing weakening of public system access. No matter how much advocates try to say otherwise, the result is clear. There is no doubt that there are issues surrounding access to public health care in general, however, going down the line of privatization will not help the majority of Canadians. There must be a better way!