It’s hard to believe Cambie Corporation’s years long legal battle against public health care is finishing up.
This week, as the closing arguments started, we received incredible support both online and at the courthouse. Thank you to those of you who came to the press conference, took notes in court, checked in online, donated to fund our lawyers, commented and shared on social media and have been in this fight with us all the way along. We would not be here without you.
The plaintiffs were the first group able to present their arguments to the judge, one last time. All week we heard a rehash of Cambie Corp’s long winded testimony. Their legal team even tried to submit new evidence, although that isn’t allowed during the final weeks of court. Throughout, the lawyers continue to say this case is about solving wait times for patients, even though we know the laws they are trying to change relate, not to patient access to faster care, but to doctor profits.
By the end of the week, they:
- Had not shown in their written or verbal submissions that the legislation they’re challenging causes wait times;
- Wanted it both ways in their argument: they said that for 20 years private surgical and diagnostic clinics have been operating in B.C. without harming the public health care system, and yet, over that exact period, wait times in the province have only gotten worse.
- Had argued that the legislation does actually work. It does stop more private clinics from operating. They said there’s not enough doctors willing to work outside the public system; they need to be subsidized by the public system in order to be profitable in the private system.
- Had stated in their written submissions that they don’t have to prove, nor does it matter if they do (nor do they ever prove), that wait times will be reduced with more two-tier health care.
The plaintiff's closing arguments reminded us that this case is about allowing publicly paid doctors to charge whatever they want in private clinics - a change that could incentivize their spending more time in the private tier, while still being subsidized by the public system. It’s also about allowing American-style insurance companies to enter the Canadian market so that more people choose private care - expanding the private clinic’s clientele.Read more
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.
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!Read more
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 www.savemedicare.ca 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!
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
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.Read more
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.
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).
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.
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.Read more