Mr Trudeau

“Mr Smith, I realize that with your advancing age you’ve been having some trouble with your memory, so is it okay if I ask you a few questions?”

“Sure doc.”

“Mr Smith, are the Canucks going to win the Stanley Cup this year?”

“Of course not, doc.”

“So, okay, that question was too easy. Who is the prime minister of Canada, Mr Smith?”


“Which one?”

To determine their level of cognitive functioning, we ask patients simple common-knowledge questions. For years I noticed that patients with advanced dementia would often answer that Trudeau is the prime minister of Canada, and it is somewhat ironic that they are correct once again.

When I wrote this, the Liberal Party of Canada had recently dispatched the governing Conservative Party in a big way. Most people seem excited about the change in our federal government and are full of enthusiasm for the future. The Liberal Party’s platform on health care can be summarized by the following statement, “We will make home care more available, prescription drugs more affordable, and mental health care more accessible.” I try to keep abreast of every political party’s health care platforms—either that or I took this from their website.

Our health care system faces many challenges, the largest being how to maintain accessible, timely, and affordable health care for an aging population in the face of increasingly more expensive technological advances. I’m not sure I would want the job of deciding how to finance this bottomless pit. The Liberals' platform uses the words “available,” “affordable,” and “accessible,” so it appears they are ready to take on this task. Can we really finance health care that is accessible and available without carving out a bigger piece of the budget? I am sure there are many intelligent individuals out there working on various solutions to solve this dilemma; I just don’t happen to be one of them.

I would argue that our current health care isn’t that available or accessible.

Long wait lists persist for most surgeries and procedures. More and more patients are using private facilities to get their imaging and operations done. However, the majority of the population still views unlimited health care as their right, and political parties avoid the issue of health care reform because challenging this right is linked to political suicide.

So, I bid good luck to our newly elected governing party and its charismatic leader as they embark on this arduous health quest. Mr Trudeau has already faced some international crises with aplomb and polish and by all accounts is doing well. His grace period continues and his lustre shouldn’t tarnish unless he does something silly like, say (chosen completely randomly), pay his nannies with public money. 

David R. Richardson, MD. Mr Trudeau. BCMJ, Vol. 58, No. 1, January, February, 2016, Page(s) 4 - Editorials.

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