Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Shona Holmes on the Michael Coren Show

The other day a friend of mine alerted me to the fact that Shona Holmes was going to be making an appearance on the Michael Coren Show, and despite the fact that I tried to view it with an open mind, I can honestly say that it had very little impact on my overall impressions of the woman and her mission.

Ms. Holmes insists that her life was indeed threatened by her condition, explaining that an abridged version of her “complex medical issues” appeared on the Mayo Clinic website because of some kind of restriction on what could be written there. She offered some convoluted explanation of what she continues to assert was a brain tumour encapsulated within a cyst. While I am at least now willing to grant the possibility of her having had a more serious condition than was indicated on the Clinic website, I feel no more kindly disposed to her ‘mission’ than I did from the outset for a number of reasons.

First, she deplored the fact that a polarization occurs whenever Canadian and American healthcare systems are compared. Insisting that the American ad she made has succeeded in generating debate, she is being either disingenuous or obtuse in refusing to recognize that her ad increases that polarization, speaking, as it does, in absolutes, (e.g., “Government healthcare is not the answer, and it certainly isn’t free”) abetted by the voiceover advising viewers of the great suffering that ensues in Canada where people must wait an unconscionable length of time “for vital surgeries.” When asked by the host whether she felt that the ad was unfair to our system, she insisted that it wasn’t, and would do it again “in a heartbeat.”

In response to Coren’s question about the possibility that she was one of those few people who might have ‘fallen through the cracks” and that our system works pretty well, she declaimed that untold thousands were experiencing similar treatment, and that her efforts in suing the government and trying to force in private insurance are not for herself, but for her neighbours, grandchildren, and fellow citizens. I was disappointed that Mr. Coren did not ask her for statistical evidence to support her claims. Without that support, I cannot escape the notion that her efforts spring more from self-interest than any kind of altruism.

As well, while agreeing with the host that the American system needs reform, she went on to suggest that the majority of Americans are happy with their health insurance, again without statistical support, and questioned the actual number of Americans without insurance, dismissing the majority as illegal immigrants and young people who choose not to have any because they don’t think they need it. Hmm, I wonder if the exorbitant costs of acquiring insurance could be a factor in their decision?

Ms. Holmes also seems to lack insight into why the Canadian people are so furious with her, expressing her disappointment in the discovery that one can’t hold an opposing opinion without being reviled, threatened, etc. What she fails to understand is that people are so upset by her utter arrogance in assuming the role of spokesperson for a healthcare system that all polls suggest enjoys the unqualified support of over 87% of Canadians.

Until Ms. Holmes can begin to see herself as others see her, I suspect she can look forward to continued expressions of ill-will from her fellow Canadians.

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