Vancouver, BC – Certain groups, using fear tactics and misinformation, are trying to undermine support for a key constitutional court challenge that four patients and the Cambie Surgery Centre have brought forward to give patients more control over their own health.
The court challenge is aimed at overturning certain sections of the B.C. Medicare Protection Act that prevent patients from obtaining medical care privately when they cannot obtain timely care in the government system.
The case, which is being supported by the Canadian Constitution Foundation, has been adjourned until March 2, 2015, to give the parties a chance to resolve the matter without litigation. The plaintiffs are seeking a resolution that actualizes the Charter-guaranteed right to security of the person, which they argue includes the ability to make free choices about their own health.
Despite what opponents of this challenge claim, this case, if successful, will ensure that BC patients who are currently suffering on lengthy health care waiting lists will get the help they need in a timely manner.
Indeed, all other countries except the U.S. have mixed private and public systems to meet the health care needs of their residents.
One of the plaintiffs in the case is 18-year-old Walid Khalfallah, who is confined permanently to a wheelchair after waiting 27 months for healthcare and surgery for his progressive spine deformity. While Walid is too resilient to be labelled a victim, his mother Debbie Waitkus believes Canada’s healthcare system failed her son and family.
“Walid’s life will never be the same because of wait lists,” Waitkus said. “Instead of getting treatment when he needed it most, he spent two and a half years waiting.”
The Canadian Constitution Foundation (“Freedom’s Defence Team”) is a registered charity, independent and non-partisan, whose mission is to defend the constitutional freedoms of Canadians through education, communication and litigation.