Jack Layton Faces Battle Of His Life: Is Private Treatment On The Table?




Jack Layton recently announced his “temporary” hiatus from politics to deal with his personal health crisis. I was flipping through the channels when I came across a sickly looking man who very much resembled Jack Layton. To my surprise, it WAS Jack Layton. His face was thin and bony in appearance and caked with makeup hiding what must have been an even more unsightly look.  I’m not a tailor, but I could see that his suit was at least one size too big on him. He walked to and from the press table with a limp; reliant on the very same cane he held during the election campaign (which was more of a prop than a necessity back then).

If you ask me, Jack Layton doesn’t look like he’ll be returning in September at this rate. He may not be returning at all. Cancer is a terrible disease and we wish him the best of luck in his battle. The question remains, will he take his personal fight to the private healthcare sector; perhaps the Mayo Clinic, or Memorial Sloan-Kettering in the United States, two of the finest cancer care facilities in the world, or will he rely on the Canadian public healthcare system? The option is obviously his. It’s his life, his health and his choice. After all, not everyone in Canada has a choice, many of whom Jack Layton and the NDP stand up for.

Many other notable Canadian politicians have been known to take out of country medical trips down south.

The late Robert Bourassa, former Quebec premier sought cancer treatment in the United States. Former Prime Minister, Jean Chretien took private jets down south to obtain medical treatment for him and his family while he was in office. Former Newfoundland and Labrador premier Danny Williams skipped town for the U.S. in 2010 where he received heart surgery on his own dime. Even Jack Layton and Joe Clark have reportedly paid cash for private operations at Toronto’s Shouldice Hospital for hernia procedures.

I don’t blame those with the  financial means from doing what is best for them. Money doesn’t cure death but it prolongs life when invested properly. If you have the cash, why be held back? Sure you’ll get criticized. If Jack Layton does go to the States to fund his private cancer treatment, he may come across as a hypocrite, after staunchly  defending public healthcare for years… but who really cares?

Access to a waiting list is not access to healthcare. Do you think that you’ll find the CEO of SPAM eating what he actually sells? The truth is that he eats steak and seafood on his Private Yacht on the Caribbean using the money he makes selling SPAM.  Politics is a job. It’s about creating a brand that people want to see. Jack’s brand is about protecting families, the factory workers, and the poor. At the end of the day when his work is done, he should be able to separate his public service from  his personal decisions.

It doesn’t really matter what your political stripes may be when it comes to treating your own health. What matters is what’s in your wallet. Some may say that a true captain ought to go down with his sinking ship. However, in the world of politics and the wealthy, there are always exceptions.

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