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The federal Conservative party needs an issue it can use to differentiate itself from the Liberals, appeal to Canadians and confirm itself as a serious alternative government with sound ideas and attractive policies. Hmmmm, let’s see. Whatever could it turn to? What’s going on out there in winterland that might hold a strong appeal to a broad mass of voters? (Scratches head. Thinks real hard …) OK, here’s a hint: HEALTH CARE! (Was that subtle enough?) A memo must have circulated within the Ottawa pundit club, as suddenly there’s a rash of articles noticing that things aren’t as they should be in the venerated Canadian health-care system, which, until recently, we insistently assured ourselves was admired around the world. “Ready or not, a new debate about the future of health care has begun,” says the CBC. “Why Canada is shutting down while the U.S. stays open: their healthcare systems,” explains Bloomberg News. “When do we admit Canada’s health care system just isn’t working?” wonders the Globe and Mail’s Robyn Urback. This after it’s been evident for years that our system was on shaky ground. Policy Options magazine warned in March 2020 — when COVID-19 was still barely a gleam in its mother’s eye — that “Coronavirus is about to reveal how fragile our health system is.”

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