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Fighting Fake News About Canadian Health Care


Fighting Fake News About Canadian Health Care

Linda McQuaig

I recall my frustration years ago watching U.S. television while an “analyst” from the right-wing Cato Institute spewed blatant lies about Canada’s public health care system — including that all hospitals in Ontario, having run out of money at the end of the year, had completely shut down for the month of December.

This was back in pre-social media days, making it difficult (beyond yelling at the TV) to immediately challenge such a breathless release of alternative facts.


Ms. McQuaig is 100 percent correct of course - and we appreciate all the rhetorical support from Canadians that we can get.

But simply saying right and correct things over and over and over again is getting us nowhere. Whoever said “the truth shall set you free” was certainly way off. It is more like “The truth shall get you ignored”. A whole new strategy is needed.


The next time you hear from someone saying that Canadians hate the Medicare system or that it’s so bad that they’d rather switch to an American-style system, just ask them to name one - just one - Canadian politician who’s running on a platform of scrapping the system. (Uh, no, Ted Cruz doesn’t count.)

Then tell them you’ll wait for their answer. Make sure you have a book handy, a long book; it’ll be a long wait.

Even Stephen Harper, the most right-wing politician Canada has ever had, wouldn’t have dared run on such a platform.


The Koch brothers are financing the ‘freedom caucus’ because they too believe not a single penny should be given to anyone needing health care in this country. They all believe in personal responsibility for one’s health care needs.

The Koch brothers father Fred, had even more radical beliefs that government was unnecessary and should not exist. Period.

I believe the Koch boys are looking to punish the American people for something their father did to them as small children.

During the 1930’s when Fred Koch aided Hitler and Stalin, by building petroleum refineries to make fuel for their fighter planes, Fred brought a German Nanny to Kansas to raise his boys. Every morning she would expect the boys to produce bowel movements, and when they didn’t they were made to swallow castor oil, or be subject to painful suppositories.

It’s no wonder why these boys turned out hating others.


Tweet it everyday.


This has inspired me to write my third recent letter to the editor on this none sense regarding Canadian Healthcare. If all of us would do the same/and/or call local media to do real investigative journalism on the subject we can beat these two Kock monsters and make possible true universal healthcare for everyone. Let’s do it!

I plan to distribute this article at Improved Medicare For All library events in Vermont and include the link in my letters to the media.


Yeah, revolution if you can find enough people. The voting public has shown that they can’t be relied upon to determine a sensible course for anything from economics to global warming. Affluent apathy on the part of the Progressive/Democrats and ignorant hatefulness on the part of the Republicans.


I heard from a Canadian whose mom worked analyzing health care data that Americans coming to Canada for medical care was the largest source of fraud in the Canadian health care system.


My first draft of the letter I intend to send out today:

Dear Editor:

“I recall my frustration years ago watching U.S. television while an “analyst” from the right-wing Cato Institute spewed blatant lies about Canada’s public health care system — including that all hospitals in Ontario, having run out of money at the end of the year, had completely shut down for the month of December…So it was with some pleasure last week that I watched as a Republican congressman tried to insist that Canadians routinely flock to the U.S. for health care, only to have MSNBC host Ali Velshi stop him dead in his tracks.
‘Sir, I grew up in Canada,’ Velshi declared. ‘I live in Canada. My entire family is in Canada. Nobody I know ever came to the United States for health care. I am sure you have a handful of stories about things like that. It is not actually statistically true.’ ”

From Fighting Fake News About Canadian Health Care by Linda McQuaig, author, journalist, and former NDP candidate for Toronto Centre in the Canadian federal election.

And who is behind this misinformation campaign? None other than Charles and David Koch, owners of Koch Industries and generous contributors to reactionary policies. They have been generous donors to Mike Pence, Trump’s VP and supported him as president, not Trump. They have in fact, according to the New Yorker writer Jane Meyer in her book, Dark Money, invested great sums in a wide network of think tanks, academic programs, front groups, lobbyists, buying our politicians and setting up faux front groups, political action groups/campaigns.

A little background: in 1980 David Koch ran as Vice President on the Libertarian Party, foe of public education, social security and taxation wanting to actually end all these. But they have persisted in their reactionary agenda in shredding what vestiges of a society we as a nation might actually have and turning the US into one Company Town. The combined wealth of the two Koch brothers, a whopping $ 84.5 billion, makes possible this reimagining of America into a nightmare for all except the very wealthy.

We need the US media to do their job, that is, investigative journalism. Watch the new documentary: http://www.nowsthetimemovie.com. Most Canadians, you will find if you take the trouble and care at all for your own nation will tell you they do appreciate their healthcare system. Do reactionary Canadians exist? Sure, but you will find they are a wealthy disgruntled minority. Fortunately for the Canadians they do not seem to be crass capitalists as in ‘free marketeers’.

The only healthcare system that will finally cover every man, woman, and child in the US is Improved Medicare For All/Single-Payer Healthcare.

Thank you.

Giovanna Lepore


Having lived near the Canadian border for more than a quarter century I have witnessed small border towns’ local US Border Patrol staffs increase twentyfold.

Is there any logical explanation for this increase other than the US gubmit has tasked to US Border Patrol to keep single payer medical insurance from invading from the north ?


Ask yourself this: how many US cable TV services carry the CBC or other Canadian stations? Then, compare and contrast with life in the Soviet Union…


Living near the border with no cable or satellite, we get more Canadian TV and radio stations than Murkin stations. This is especially beneficial during US election years when we totally tune out Murkin stations.

Half the Canadian stations are French language so they also provide a good opportunity to improve language skills.


This is a helpful article for advocates of single payer health care.

When I comment about the advantages of single payer on mainstream and conservative sites it’s almost inevitable that other commenters will respond with “What about all those Canadians who are going south to the USA for medical care?” They talk about services not easily available in Canada, i.e. a shortage of specialists, and outrageous waiting times. And of course they talk about the heavy tax burden without admitting that monthly premiums do not apply in Canada.

Of course there is a segment of the American people who dislike the idea that some of their tax dollars would be used to provide health care for their less well off fellow Americans. I don’t think there is much that can be done to change their minds. Maybe I am just being pessimistic. Or perhaps realistic.


“I heard from someone whose mother…”
if that is the best you can do to back up your horse puckey, please, refrain from commenting.


This article would be much more useful to advocates if it actually supplied data from the public record that debunks corporatist mythology about Canadian medicare, As Aaron Carroll does here.

You can’t fight “fake news” with talking points and incessant whining about the effectiveness of right-wing propaganda. You need data. Verifiable data. Then? We just might convince enough Democratic Party politicos to get on board. Because that’s what we need right now. Democrats.


One of the unintended consequences of this ongoing assault on Canadian health care is that it makes it difficult to have reasoned discussions about improving it. ( Health care in Canada is a provincial responsibility, each province runs it a little differently, so my perspective is largely limited to Alberta health care). Our system is far from perfect, but every time this is brought up it gives leverage to the scrap-it-all brigade. Just being better than our southern neighbours is not good enough.


You are 100% correct. I wish we had more current data than from six years ago. But it’s a start. Thanks!

I did see Sicko where MM goes to Canada and I thought that was interesting. I am going to do a little research and see if there might be some good books about the Canadian system. They should be required reading for those of us who are advocates of single payer.


I pulled that up in a hurry after reading the article. I’m looking for more recent treatments, but Carroll’s is still probably the best available. The recent upsurge in Single Payer in media coverage may inspire more. We’ll have to wait and see.

The Fix It Healthcare video speaks with a Canadian physician, (an American transplant), and a Canadian conservative that touch on the subject.

American advocates need to remember that the best yet proposal for Single Payer, (HR 676), is not a carbon copy of Canadian Medicare. There’s some differences. Like prescription drug coverage, for one. Benefits and the potential need for supplemental coverage for another. Improvements, actually.

This entry in PNHP’s FAQ section is also a bit dated, but still good for learning to recognize ideology masquerading as scholarship in America’s healthcare debate.

But it’s the economic argument that will flip neoconservative reactionaries and neoliberal corporatists in Congress. Especially the Democrats.


Sadly, whenever I go into any bar with a TV in Toronto, the TV is always tuned to a US cable network - typically CNN or FOX.


Yeah, Ontario’s OHIP has a number of large holes in its coverage due to the ongoing funding problems. Physical therapy is not even covered - nor any dental care. And of course getting an MRI for any less than potentially life threatening conditions involves a long wait. But it is still leaps and bounds better than the US.