What My Dad Said, by Shirley Douglas

In his very troubling article, The Pragmatic Socialist (Nov. 22), Neil Reynolds suggests that we institute a health-care user fee, and name it after the Father of Medicare himself, Tommy Douglas. He justifies this idea with reference to the speech that Tommy Douglas, my father, made in 1961 to the Saskatchewan legislature in response to the opposition’s criticism of his health-care legislation. Unfortunately, Mr. Reynolds distorts the text into an outrageous mischaracterization of my father’s views on user fees. My father did believe in a specific health-care tax, but described it as a “per capita tax so low that it is merely a nominal fee,” which was intended simply to signify to people their entitlement to the benefits of a health-care program that truly belongs to them. Medicare, he said quite clearly, is marked for destruction unless Canadians put a stop to extra billing and extra charges. Mr. Reynolds’s attempt to recruit my father in a campaign to undermine universal health care is shameful and deeply disappointing.

Shirley Douglas, Toronto

To read this letter to the editor in the Globe and Mail, please click here.