Sunday, June 13, 2010


Last night, a couple of comrades came over, decided to stay a night as they were making their way to Montreal. Arriving late, I had dinner made and ready to eat, the wine opened, breathing, and sipping on a little of it myself. After dinner, we busted out Monopoly!, a game most everyone enjoys (except myself.) Over rolling dice and mortgaged homes, we talked about more important things like what the couple planned to do in Montreal, where they were staying, when they were coming back. They reminded us that this trip was not for business or pleasure, but necessity. They were headed east in search of something: semi-privatized healthcare.

The husband of the pair is a British citizen married to a Canadian. He has been having knee problems since their engagement, just over a year ago, and surgery after surgery, he still walks with crutches. Residing in Ontario has been relatively kind to the couple, except when it came down to medical attention. Because Ontario is on a public system, the husband cannot receive knee-surgery as he does not have an OHIP card. Instead, because healthcare is a provincial jurisdiction, he and his wife have to travel to Montreal, where, despite being a staunchly socialist province, it has private facilities to perform operations.

Now, I know it's dangerous to say, but it's just something to think about. Personally, I think universal healthcare should be accessible to everyone, no matter his or her income, nationality, beliefs, etc. If you have doctors around, someone's health should not come down to the petty details of tax-brackets and insurance payments. That being said, I know it is not the reality of things.

I find it irritating that, as Canadians, we take pride in our healthcare system -- we proudly proclaim, no one has to pay to see a doctor! Yet, we discriminate upon those that, not only can pay, but need to pay because they do not have Canadian citizenry. What is also frustrating is the bureaucracy of citizenship in this country. It is confusing and extensive. It has been close to a year that this couple has been married and the husband is still "going through the process". I have many migrating friends that have/had been in Canada for close to 15 years and were still considered landed-immigrants.

Having a coffee this morning at the Brazilian Bakery in Little Portugal, we got to talking about the diversity that Toronto offers, especially now that the World Cup is happening. The husband of the couple asked how many different cultures there are in the city, to which my answer was: 285, a random number I picked from the tip of my brain. The point is, there are a lot. It's what defines Toronto and builds its identity, makes it the most culturally beautiful place in the world.

And then, I think about the government and its lackadaisical approach to addressing immigration issues and the difficulty some must face in receiving healthcare. It seems as though politics has shifted from the people to the material -- essentially, the economy. I feel like political platforms used to be built upon core issues, deep-seeded problems that needed to be uprooted and changed. Right now, the focus is on the G20 and the harmonized sales tax (HST), two very superficial and fleeting issues when it comes to the bigger picture. These two controversies are minute, little bumps in the road to the progress of humanity, but are given a lot of attention because it distracts people from pervasive problems, like immigrants' access to necessary healthcare.

Like crows to a silver-spoon, we are caught up in the shininess of it all.

Although superficial developments are interesting to watch -- like quarreling lovers in the street -- we should maintain focus: to change things for the better, not for the instant. Rallying and protesting is good to get a message out there, some publicity to a voice, and, perhaps, to coerce a quick executive decision, but then what?

In reality, change is, and should be, a slow process. It's something that should not happen in an instant. Taking the time to enact change, through letters or secret meetings over monopoly or inspiring one another or creating contesting subject matter, is worth the effort.

However, the youth live in a time of "now", demanding for things to happen instantly. For example, when we need to find out information, we Google or Wikipedia it.

We require immediate satisfaction, yet we are creatures that are never sated.

Personally, satisfaction is a superficial sentiment. One can be satisfied with the way things are, but what about striving for something greater? This "greater" thing may not be realized in our lifetime, or ever, but one can still enjoy the pursuit of it, no? We may not ever see accessible, universal healthcare in the province of Ontario, but wouldn't it be nice if our great-grandchildren could?

Such were my thoughts over our cordial game of Monopoly!, the thoughts that may have distracted me from winning, made me the first one out. Either that or I am just a bad business owner. Probably the latter. Doesn't matter, there are other things on my mind.

No comments:

Post a Comment