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B.C. judge in landmark public health case had treatment in private clinic

Justice John Steeves was a patient at a private medical facility a few years before the trial began in 2017 – having an operation to fix a sinus problem.

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The B.C. judge who rejected a request to overturn part of province’s medicare rules — including a ban on private health insurance — himself had surgery in a private clinic several years ago.

Justice John Steeves’ 800-page ruling on Friday said the current B.C. health system meets all the criteria of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Ironically, Steeve was a patient at a private medical facility a few years before the trial began in 2017 – having an operation to fix a sinus problem.

In 2017, the Vancouver Sun reported Steeves, gave lawyers for both sides verbal assurances that he didn’t go to the Cambie Surgery Centre – the facility involved in the lawsuit – for his sinus operation.

And after first disclosing the information during pre-trial conferences, the judge also provided other information upon request, such as who paid for his surgery.

Steeves said he didn’t pay for it privately because Vancouver Coastal Health did, the Sun reported. Under such contracts, a clinic is paid a per diem amount for a bundle of cases. in 2016, VCH paid False Creek Surgery Centre a per diem rate of $5,850 to do outpatient day surgeries. 

The medical director of the False Creek Surgery Centre, Dr. Mark Godley, has said he thinks there isn’t a judge in Vancouver who hasn’t used a private surgery centre.

The Thursday ruling was hailed by supporters of public health care as a huge win for the current system.

It is widely expected the case will now go to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The central point of the case revolved around laws that ban private health insurance, and prevent doctors from charging patients on top of what they receive from the province for medically necessary services.

Cambie Surgeries clinic and other plaintiffs argued the rules breach the Charter of Rights when the public system is backed up with long waiting lists.

In Alberta, David Shepherd, the NDP’s health critic hailed the ruling.

“I am very pleased that the courts upheld the principles of Medicare today against those who would try to Americanize our public healthcare system,” said Shepherd.

“The court concluded, based on expert evidence, that the introduction of private healthcare would actually increase wait times. This is an important message for Alberta.

“The BC Supreme Court’s ruling sends a clear message to Premier Jason Kenney and his Health Minister Tyler Shandro, that their rush towards American-style healthcare is completely wrong for Alberta families. The ruling against the Cambie Clinic strikes down a privatized approach that Jason Kenney is attempting to impose on Albertans today.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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Hundreds of Albertans protest in front of UCP MLA offices over COVID restrictions

So just a few hours after Kenney brought in the new restrictions on Wednesday, ready they were – and about a dozen MLA offices were picketed.

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He knew they couldn’t stop the government from bringing in even more COVID-19 restrictions, but Jordon Kosik wanted to be ready to show his displeasure.

Operating two Facebook groups, Holding MLAs Accountable and Closed for Fall, Kosik had his 17,000 members ready to protest just hours after Premier Jason Kenney brought in a fourth COVID-19 lockdown, which this time includes vaccination passports.

“A couple of weeks ago, we knew something was happening,” Kosik said in a Thursday interview with the Western Standard.

Protest in front of Nathan Cooper’s office. Photo courtesy Holding MLAs Accountable

“There was nothing we could do to stop it, but what we could do is get ready.”

So just a few hours after Kenney brought in the new restrictions on Wednesday, ready they were – and about a dozen MLA offices were picketed.

Some had a handful of people show up, while others had scores of people.

“This was on organic protest, people in their own ridings,” said Kosik.

And Kovik thinks this won’t be the end of restrictions, with more likely in a couple of weeks.

“To get ready for that we have to network, network, network,” Koik said.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Vancouver gangster killed in daylight shooting

Several news sources said the homicide victim was well-known in Vancouver’s illicit drug trade.

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Vancouver cops are on the hunt for an armed killer after a gangster was slain Wednesday during a daylight shooting in Vancouver’s core area.

Amandeep Manj, 35, a known member of the United Nations gang, was shot about 3:30 p.m while sitting inside his car in the parking lot of the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel near Canada Place.

Soon after he bloodied body was discovered, paramedics raced to the lot, but Manj was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said they’re convinced the shooting was a targeted hit.

Several news sources said the homicide victim was well-known in Vancouver’s illicit drug trade.

Manj’s brother, Jodh Manj, also died a violent death three years ago when he was killed while leaving a Mexico City gym.

Vancouver Police Const. Tania Visintin told the Vancouver Sun Manj is the city’s 13th homicide of 2021.

She told the paper officers responded to level three of the parkade near Cordova and Burrard streets “after a man was found unresponsive by a witness.” 

Police have made no arrests in the case, and ask anyone who may have information about the shooting to contact Vancouver police.

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COVID vaccines changing their names

The FDA approved new names in the US earlier this summer.

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What’s in a name? Plenty, apparently, when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines in Canada.

Health Canada announced Thursday it will accept the change in new brand names of the three most common vaccines Pfizer, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca.

The Moderna vaccine will go by SpikeVax and the AstraZeneca vaccine will be named Vaxzevria.

The Pfizer vaccine will now be called Comirnaty, which the company said represents a combination of the terms COVID-19, mRNA, community, and immunity.

CBC said the vaccines didn’t go by their brand name initially, but now that new and more long-term data has been submitted and approved they will go by their permanent name.

Canada is still expected to receive vials labelled Pfizer-BioNTech for the next several months.

The FDA approved new names in the US earlier this summer.

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