Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A message for Pierre Poilievre

For you, Pierre:

As a constituent, I am disgusted, but not entirely surprised by the latest shenanigans of Conservative MP for Nepean Carleton Pierre Poilievre. Now, it seems, he is on the warpath against the Ontario government's latest decision to reinstate the funding of sex reassignment surgeries under OHIP.

He says:

"Wait times are still too long and we need to ensure that every single dollar goes to medically necessary treatments," - Pierre Poilievre MP for Nepean Carleton (Con)
He seems to want to claim this is fiscally irresponsible but a close look at the facts shows it to be a little different than he is letting on. To put this into perspective:
  • The expected annual cost is less than $300 000. When the Mike Harris Tories removed this from OHIP in 1998, it was costing about $120 000. That works out to roughly $40 per person per year for every person in Ontario. Or about 77 cents per week, less than a small double-double.
  • The Center for Addictions and Mental Health deems this surgery medically necessary. One might note that OHIP covers the costs for "medically unnecessary" surgeries all the time - removal of cysts, fixing of protruding ears etc.
  • The procedure IS covered in most other provinces, including Alberta, Poilievre's home province (he represents an Ottawa riding only after living here for 3 months after dropping out of school...and there are questions as to whether he really lived in the riding at the time), so Ontario would only be joining the rest of the country.
So the question is, why, if this procedure is cheap, deemed medically necessary by the medical community and is covered by virtually every other province (save Quebec) is Pierre railing against Ontario? Do you suppose he is trying to pile-on with Jim Flaherty in attacking the McGuinty government for purely partisan reasons? Do you think he is trying to deflect his social conservative base away from his troubling double speak in the In and Out Scandal, including his possible invovlement? Do you think he is trying to change the channel on his own despicable treatment of Gen. Romeo Dallaire last week? Is it possible that he wants people in his riding to forget that his many announcements about getting funding for a bridge were just announcements of funds that the city had already secured, long before, without Pierre?

I'm having trouble understanding why he would make hay out of something that the CPC has traditionally argued, ad nauseum, is the sole purvue of the provinces - health care - other than to pick a fight that riles the base. I can only think that Pierre, in his typical fashion, is trying to manufacture an issue so people won't notice that his is an incompetent demagogue and an idiot.

No wonder people in this country don't like any of the parties and no longer want to vote.

PS Pierre, feel free to pass that message above on to Jason Kenney too, mkay?


As a libertarian, I do not support a state monopoly on health care, so I am not arguing for that position. I am arguing that Pierre's seeming 'fiscal conservative' concern over this is nothing of the sort. If this were not sex re-assignment surgeries for icky transsexuals, he wouldn't care. If this were not Ontario he wouldn't care (as is clear by his not caring that Alberta and the other western provinces fund this procedure). He only cares because he thinks he can use this to his political advantage, there is no principles involved.

I would prefer a truly free system where doctors aren't subject to artificial caps on their numbers and people could choose to get health coverage from both insurance companies AND from non-profit or not-for-profit organizations (like professional societies, unions, service clubs etc). Where choice is real and the market isn't slanted by state regulation in favour of corporations over cooperatives. But that is the subject of an entirely different post....

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At 11:44 PM, Blogger Ron said...

Well, it just goes to show you that even when politicians start talking about "saving" you money, it still doesn't mean they don't have an axe to grind or something to hide.

When a politician talks, check your wallet and your freedom. Immediately.

At 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a 'libertarian' who is well aware that people are dying on waiting lists or for procedures such as appendectomies, diagnostics, and cancer treatments, how do you justify supporting increasing the financial burden on the general populace and compounding the existing problems?

I think it's sad that you let your partisan bias so blatently overrule your claimed ideological preferences.

And it's especially ironic that that is exactly what you accuse Mr. P of. Birds of a feather?

At 12:25 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Yawn...another anonymous blowhard who cannot read I guess.

Is 11 cents per day going to improve wait times? Is $300 000 per year? That is the salary of 1 - yes 1 - doctor. Such a financial burden!

If you think the hiring of a single doctor in the Province of Ontario is going to solve wait times, you are delusional. But it will help those who need (yes, according to actual doctors - rather than partisan hacks - need) this treatment. It is cheap and effective.

If Pierre wants to help solve wait time problems, why doesn't he write Jimbo Flaherty and ask that all restrictions on the numbers of doctors practicing be removed? That little bit of government interference in the market has cause this crisis in the first place. That would actually work, rather than picking on an unpopular minority and slashing an insignificant (in the big picture) but effective bit of spending.

Penny wise and pound foolish.

But of course, Pierre really doesn't want to solve wait times or remove state interference in the health care market, he wants to pick on a minority in order to whip the social conservative here in Nepean Carleton into a pearl-clutching fury. He is as dishonest as the day is long.

This has nothing to do with fiscal responsibility and everything to do with political opportunism.

At 4:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And yet he rails against the storm...

Because you are unable to answer my question directly, I am forced to assume you mean:

Mike supports increasing the burden on a healthcare system that already has people dying on waiting lists because (a) it is cheap and easy and (b) regardless of reality he feels sex change is as medically necessary as the treatments people are dying to wait to recieve.

But mostly I think it is (c) because it is against what a conservative MP says and Mike is mostly motivated by his hyper-partisanship.

You know what I personally think? Hiring one more doctor could save 10 lives. And if I could choose to hire one more GP or one more cancer specialist over funding sex change operations it would an EASY choice. No matter what a special interest psychology group says, I dont believe any of these transgendered are facing the prospect of immediate death, like many many other people in healthcare.

Now, if you were a TRUE libertarian or a TRULY cared about fixing the health care system, you would be attacking Pierre for not going far enough, not removing enough 'essential' services in order to provide flexibility or not acting to remove the roadblocks to real change.

Instead, you attack him purely because of his political opportunism, while acting yourself out of pure opportunism. Kettle, here's pot.

We can both agree that he is acting out of political expediency, of course he is, it's his job. But there's only one thing worse than a blantently biased opportunistic person, and that is a hypocrite. Cheers to you, Mike, the only 'Libertarian' in Canada who supports publicly funding sex change operations.

At 1:10 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Another yawn.

Pierre said this was "medically unnecessary" when, in fact, actual doctors say it is medically necessary.

Pierre said it would affect wait times, when, in fact, it is such a small amount of money that it would not make a difference either way.

Pierre implied that it was too expensive, when i fact it is incredibly cheap.

Whether I support our current publicly funded state monopoly medical system or not is irrelevant when demonstrating that Pierre is lying.

He is not doing this for any reason other that that he can whip the social conservative mouth-breathers into a frenzy because it involves transsexuals. He is trying to draw attention away from his disgusting behaviour over the last few weeks.

As a resident of NC, I can tell you, he does this all the time - exaggerate and fully make up issues in order to attack his opponents. That's a lot of things, but its not "expedient" and its not his job.

I'd be more interested if he was talking about alternatives to hip replacements or knee surgery, which are by far the most serious cause of wait times.

I'd be far more interested if he were trying to break the grip the various medical associations have on the numbers of doctors, how they are purposely keeping the numbers of doctors low (through limiting the number of med school grads and preventing foreign trained doctors from practicing). I' be far more interested if he were talking about allowing cooperatives and other non-traditional organizations to offer medical insurance that competes with provincial plans.

But he is not and its pretty obvious that he doesn't care about any of this...he's just attacking McGuinty because he has some issue that seems somehow to involve 'teh gays'.

And you, like an idiot, are buying it.

At 12:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Why do you continually avoid dealing with the crux of my position?

Why do you criticize Pierre for acting out of political expediency while doing the exact same thing?

Why is it wrong for him to act out of "any reason other that that he can whip the social conservative mouth-breathers into a frenzy because it involves transsexual" while you act for "no reason other than you can whip the leftist group tank into a frenzy because it involves a conservative".

Your motive, and thus your lack of integrity, are easy to see. You are a hypocrite and it seems you have very much in common with Mr. Poilevere.

Want to keep calling me names too?

At 12:37 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Piss off Richard.

I am not "acting out of political expedience" I am pointing out the serious flaws in Poilievre's arguments. To me this betrays his dishonesty and his lack of principals and certainly his mean-spiritedness in using this to attack a marginalized group.

I have never said that I supported funding for this. Indeed. I specifically said that my post should NOT be construed as support for state monopoly health care.

But I guess that little fact kinda leaves you with nothing to write about eh?

Poilievre is using this for crass opportunistic reasons based on ignorant bigotry and hatred. I am pointing that out. My position visa a vis state monopoly healthcare (which I don not support) is irrelevant.

At 7:23 AM, Blogger crazed_writer said...

I am in his riding as well. I voted for Pierre and worked on his election campaign, as well as donating a fair amount of money to his campaign. I regret deeply any involvment with this gigantic fool.

SRS is a medical proceedure that is utterly essential in many cases. If you want you can look up 5-alpha-reductase deficiency, which can be induced by propecia and avodart use by pregnant women. It causes children who are born and live as girls to begin developing male sexual organs when they hit puberty. To be honest, it does not turn a "She into a he", the child has always been a he but appears female with female genitals because the body lacks the ability to become fully male. These young women, who want to remain women in most cases, have to go through their teenage years in the worst possible way.

Is it essential that this one teenage girl out of a million get her surgery to become like other girls? It is to her. I'm not going to argue about which is more important, her surgery or someone with cancer.

If she started sprouting another toe there wouldn't be any argument, so why is it such a big deal when it happens with genitalia?

Further to that, Pierre has massively stepped in it with bill c-10. As it stands now, American film producers are not subject to bill C-10, but Canadian ones are. That means that Americans can produce such fine fare as "Zombie slut massacre" while i can only make G-rated material.

Pierre, your days as a conservative MP are coming to a well deserved end. The largest lead he has ever had was 10% over the liberals, and i can guarantee you he's not going to get that this time around.

At 12:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


First off I am not 'richard' so you can stop with the first of your many incorrect assumptions.

Secondly, how can you possibly state that "I am not "acting out of political expedience". Of course you are, Poilevre's arguments, however misguided, actually coincide with what a TRUE libertarian should believe. And thus, by flipping to the other side of the spectrum and supporting the socialist viewpoint ("well it's just not that expensive and marginalizes a minority group" or "well we fund other things deemed 'medically necessary' so we should fund this too") is explicitly demonstrating that your left leaning partisan ideals are more important that your so-called libertarian thoughts.

And that, AGAIN, is why you are a hypocrite. One last time, there are only two logical explanations for your behavior:

(1) You truly think partisan attacks upon a Conservative MP is more important than any libertarian ideals or goals (this is the hypocrite part) or
(2) You really are just a card carrying NDP'er who claims to be a libertarian for some obstuse recognition among your internet buddies. (dishonesty)

"I am pointing out the serious flaws in Poilievre's arguments. To me this betrays his dishonesty and his lack of principals

And I am pointing out the serious flaws in your arguments. So are you conveying to us your own lack of principles, or your dishonesty? Whats good for the goose... or something of that sort.

At 1:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crazed Writer,

I regret you feel betrayed by your invlovement with your MP.

However, the statement I'm not going to argue about which is more important, her surgery or someone with cancer. seems critical to me.

How many people do you think should die on waiting lists before you will become willing to discuss this issue?

To me it seems pretty critical. Should someone have to live with an extra toe in order to prolong and/or save the life of another? I would argue yes, of course, and especially in the face of real and verifiable deaths occuring because of shortages.

The time is right to delist and/or redefine 'medically necessary' procedures. Simply saying "well one doctors group said so" is merely the lazy way out.

At 4:00 PM, Blogger crazed_writer said...

"How many people do you think should die on waiting lists before you will become willing to discuss this issue?"

Not everyone with Cancer will die from it. A 15 year old girl who starts growing male genitalia and then kills herself because of it will be just as dead as someone who dies from Cancer.

I have a question for you though, one thing that occured to me last night is that by bringing a provincial issue to the national level, Pierre has allowed the NDP and Liberals to do the same thing. They can very easily make the next election a referendum on abortion and creationism. I'd be surprised if they didn't. If they even mention creationism, the election is over and the conservatives have lost, all thanks to Pierre.

At 6:01 AM, Blogger Kayli said...

Even though I'm not Canadian I have been reading about Pierre lately in online news, and as a younger transgender woman I thought I might provide a unique perspective to the discussion, specifically about what's "medically necessary".

Part of anonymous poster's view seems to be that a sex change surgery, or much more accurately GRS (Genital Reconstruction Surgery), is less medically urgent than a condition like cancer, and for the most part I agree. I have a lot of TG (transgender) friends and have talked to and known a lot of TG people and I have only ever met one person who said that she felt that she needed this surgery right away because otherwise she wouldn't/couldn't go on living. If a therapist or psychiatrist deems it medically urgent for someone, that's one thing and I can understand that, but I believe that for most TG men and women GRS is not medically urgent for them. However, most TG people I know do really want this surgery done and it's very important to them. It's been extremely important to me as well. GRS is considered by both transgender people and medical professionals as medically necessary because of the overwhelming physical, psychological, and social benefits from GRS for TG people who need it. After this surgery, male-to-female transgender women usually don't need to take as much estrogen or as much of an anti-androgen, both of which are essential as part of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) but also have significant risks and negative health effects when taken long-term. The dosage can usually be cut in half (if not more) because once the testicles are removed during surgery there is less testosterone to combat and neutralize the effects of estrogen. The psychological and social effects are even more important but I won't get into them now. I can explain those in another post if someone requests it.

Being that GRS is medically necessary for many transgender people but rarely medically urgent, it's surely going to lose out if it's vying for the same money as cancer, AIDS, heart disease, etc. For the many conditions that aren't as medically urgent, GRS should be placed and equally respected among them.

I think that what are far more medically urgent to deal with are the psychological effects that come with being transgender. Just about all of my TG friends, as well as I, have attempted or seriously considered suicide at one point or another. I've known two transgender people personally that have killed themselves. The statistics about TG suicide aren't well established and accurate- they range from saying everyone 1 in 10 TG people commit suicide, to as high as 50%. If I had to guess, I'd say it's somewhere around 1 in 6-8. This is a serious problem that really doesn't get enough attention (at least here in the United States.) Most insurance companies here will cover seeing a therapist for trangender issues if you say it's for Depression instead, but most won't cover any expense that is transgender related, so the system is set up to actively and consciously NOT help transgender people whatsoever. It's really sad.

From what I have read in the news and from what I have heard and read about Pierre personally, I don't think that his intentions here are all that honorable or sincere. If they were, he wouldn't be supporting cutting funding for GRS surgery completely. Like Mike said, this isn't a whole lot of money. It's only a lot of money when you have to pay for surgery yourself out-of-pocket. It's also insult to injury if people with other medically necessary problems can be covered and I, also with a medically necessary problem, can't.

At 1:56 PM, Blogger Red Tory said...

In my experience, the argument that something will cost each individual taxpayer X-amount per week/year or whatever is never convincing to those who are opposed to a particular government program or expenditure. I’ve tried it in the past when discussing the CBC with its adamant opponents and they don’t seem to care if it only costs a dime a day (or whatever) — to them that’s too much. I would imagine that the cost of $40 per person to pay for transgender operations in the province might make even those who support the concept in principle think twice about whether that’s the best use of their money. For someone in the lowest brackets, that not an inconsiderable amount.


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