Closing Arguments start - Plaintiffs up first

November 18th was the first day of the Closing Arguments. There was a lot of media interest as this decade-long case nears its conclusion. At our press conference in front of the Law Courts, we highlighted the dangers this case presents to our health care system, and that the legislation Cambie is trying to overturn is what ensures everyone in BC gets care based on need, not on whether they can afford to pay out of pocket.

You can see our press release HERE, listen to Dr. Rupi Brar from Canadian Doctors for Medicare on CBC's the Current, or hear a quick summary of the first day from BC Health Coalition Co-Chair, Edith MacHattie. Dr Colleen Flood also gave an excellent interview about the case on CBC's Power and Politics.

We are posting on Facebook and Twitter throughout the three weeks of closing arguments, so you can check there if you want to keep a closer eye on what's happening. In addition watch these pages to learn about actions you can take to support the case and spread the word that Day's arguments that his expanded two-tier health care won't harm our public system, are false.


Two Ways to Pack the Courts Monday!

On Monday, we will be back in court for the final three weeks of the Cambie Trial. We need to show there’s strong support for health care that is available to all based on need, not ability to pay. Help us do this by packing the court on Monday, either in person, or with a virtual check-in.

Can you join us at the courthouse (the corner of Nelson and Hornby) at 9am on Monday? If we pack the court with supporters of public health care, we can show that there is broad support for health care that is available to everyone, regardless of the ability to pay.

If you can’t be at the law courts in person, you can virtually attend and show support by checking in at the Vancouver Law Courts on Facebook.
Instructions for how to virtually check in below.

Contrary to Brian Day and his supporters' arguments, evidence  shows that Day’s changes would make things faster only for those who can afford to buy their way off the list, and slower for everyone else. The main beneficiaries of Day’s case will be doctors like him who will be able subsidize lucrative private practice with public dollars.

Let's defend public health care together!

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Take Notes to Support the Cambie Case

We're in the final sprint after a decade-long legal marathon against Brian Day's challenge to our public health care. Let’s pack the courts and show our support for a public health care system for everyone

Join us for a press conference at the corner of Nelson and Howe starting at 9 am on November 18th, then inside the court in Room 43 to watch the first day of Closing Statements.

We are also looking for volunteers to take notes on each day from November 18 to December 6. Court is in session every weekday from 10 AM-12 PM and 2 PM-4 PM. Click here to sign up if you can provide this valuable support.

Not able to make it to Vancouver? Follow where we'll frequently post updates and ways to support.

It's been three years since our lawyers made their opening statements committing:

"to advocate for all of those British Columbians who rely on the public system, and whose right to equitable access to health care without regard to financial means or ability to pay - the very object of the legislation being attacked – would be undermined if the plaintiffs were to succeed."

Together we've stood up to defend our public health care system. Let's finish the job!


Closing Statements Schedule

This is currently the schedule for the final three weeks of the case. We'll keep you posted if it changes.

Nov. 18 - 22 - Plaintiff’s submission (Closing Statements for Dr Day's Cambie Surgeries Corporation ("Cambie"), Specialist Referral Clinic ("SRC") and four individual patients)

The morning of Nov. 25 - British Columbia Anesthesiologists’ Society's submission

Nov. 25 afternoon to Nov. 26 morning - Attorney General of Canada - historical review (the federal government provides context for the case)

Nov. 26 afternoon to Dec. 3 morning - Defendant submissions (The provincial government represented by the Attorney General of BC provide their Closing Statements)

Dec 3 afternoon - 4 morning -  Attorney General of Canada - remaining submission (the rest of the Federal Government's Closing Statements)

Dec. 4 afternoon - Patient intervenors Closing Statements

Dec. 5 morning- Canadian Doctors for Medicare and BC Health Coalition's Closing Statements

Dec 5 afternoon - Dec 6 - Plaintiff’s reply


The Case So Far

After several years of legal maneuvering and actual court time spanning over 17 months, final arguments are set to proceed in the Charter challenge against public health care this month. The government of British Columbia, The Attorney General of Canada and a coalition of interveners representing patients, Canadians Doctors for Medicare and the BC Health Coalition have been defending public health care against Brian Day under the guise of Cambie Surgical Corporation along with some of his patients. Day is charging that the BC Medicare Protections Act has denied Charter Rights to some individual patients with the bans on physician extra-billing and duplicate private insurance for medically necessary procedures. His challenge is seeking to have these regulations eliminated, opening the door for the creation of a second private tier of health care in British Columbia. In order to succeed, Day’s lawyers need to prove that the individual patients named in the Charter challenge have suffered directly from the regulations they seek to eliminate. The plaintiffs have not proven their case.

Second, they have not proven that the regulations that exist to protect public health care are a cause of lengthy wait times for medical procedures.

The final argument from Day’s legal team does not address the claim of individual plaintiff rights directly. They seek to expand their claim to a broad indictment of the public health care system’s inability to deliver timely care. Their arguments rest on wait time statistics and generalizations about the negative impact of waiting for surgery. They do not address the specifics of the patient plaintiffs whose rights are claimed to have been denied. 

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Closing Statements - finally

Finally, the end is in sight - at least for now. Closing Statements from all the parties will take place over three weeks, from November 18 to December 5th. We will make our Closing Statements on December 4th, and with the final response from the Plaintiffs on December 5th, it will be up to the judge to decide the fate of our health care system. With over 30,000 pages and 180 days of evidence, it will take Judge Steeves 6 months or more to make a ruling.  Your support is crucial at this stage - we will be asking people, you, to come to the courthouse, write letters to the editor and donate to cover the costs of our lawyers. Watch for our emails and thank you for being a part of this historic court challenge.


Marie-Claude Premont is on the stand today

This morning at 10am, our first expert witness, Marie-Claude Premont, respected Professor of Law, will be taking the stand to talk about why provincial health care legislation that puts restrictions on extra-billing and duplicative private health insurance is crucial for universal public health care. This is the legislation that Brian Day wants to get rid of and which will lead to Canada having US-style private insurance-based health care. You are invited to attend and hear what she has to say - at BC's Supreme Court (Courtroom #43 - 800 Smithe Street).


May 13 - Marie-Claude Premont takes the stand

After months of testimony from Day’s side in the case, on May 13 it’s our turn before the judge - and we'd love to see you there.

Our first expert witness is Marie-Claude Prémont, a well-respected Professor of Law at the École Nationale d'Administration Publique. Marie-Claude will present evidence on how Chauolli v. Quebec, a court decision in Quebec that put restraints on medicare, has made it harder for patients in that province to get the care they need.

Prémont’s evidence is critical for the court to hear because the changes to our health care system that Day is seeking go far beyond the Chaoulli case. Day wants to change the rules so that any doctor can charge patients unlimited amounts for all procedures and services, and to introduce an American-style system of parallel private care and insurance. That would put private insurance companies in the position to deny patients health care coverage for any service from visits to the emergency room to cancer treatments.

Our evidence in the case will prove that Brian Day’s vision for health care in Canada would harm patients’ health, disrupt medical practices, drive health costs up, and weaken the Canadian economy.

If you’re able to join us at the courthouse in Vancouver on Monday to hear our first expert’s testimony, we’d love to see you there - BC Supreme Court, 800 Smithe Street, Vancouver at 10am.


Upcoming Schedule

Over the next two months, the court will hear from the Attorney General of Canada (AGC), the intervenor groups (including us) and the Attorney General of BC (AGBC). Some of the dates we know are listed below, and you can see our press release sent out today by clicking HERE.

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Council for the Attorney General of Canada gives opening remarks

Today, the Counsel for the Attorney General of Canada (AGC) gave their opening remarks in defense of Canada's universal public health care system. Over the next two weeks, their witnesses will testify about the federal government's role in health care, the initiatives the federal government has taken to reduce wait times, the effects of a two-tier health system on equity for Canadians and that health inequalities will increase across the country if Cambie were to be successful in their case.


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