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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Raj Sherman Calls for "Leaders" Debate on Health Care.

Dr Sherman wants an on-line debate on health care amongst the leaders of the various political parties.  I have suggested on Twitter that what we need is a real deliberative conversation about health care nor so much an old style political debate.  Too much of what passes for political debate and even balanced reporting these days is one side arguing with the other side.  The sound bites are not solutions.

Just as Don Iveson ran for Edmonton City Council and Naheed Nenshi ran for Mayor of Calgary "by campaigning in full sentences," when it comes to a complicated matter like health care we need an adult conversation in full paragraphs.  I worry that a old-style debate will be little more than sound and furry signifying nothing.

There is another problem with a old fashioned Don Cherry style rock 'em sock 'em leaders debate right now.  There is a shortage party leaders to participate.  There are three political parties in search of a new leader right now. We only have Danielle Smith of the Wildrose Alliance and Brian Mason of the NDP left as leaders and only one of them have a seat in the Legislature.  We don't know who all will show up as candidates in the other three parties and that is hardly the circumstances to have any kind of political debate.

The Alberta Party has issued as statement suggesting and alternative, a more deliberative approach for a discussion on health care concerns.   I think it is worth considering because it offers more substance than a typical political debate format.  Perhaps that conversation will happen in the various leadership campaigns.   It would be nice if it did.

In the meantime Danielle Smith as accepted Raj's challenge to have a leader's debate on health care.  I think a Smith-Sherman debate would be very interesting.  Raj is now his own man and can speak his mind, not a party line.  He is showing personal leadership in his Friends of Medicare facilitated town hall tour around Alberta. He is a very knowledgeable, professional and evidence based kind of guy who has captured the public's imagination.  Danielle is a strong communicator with a certain vision that says more market-based competition is a key factor in solving the health care crisis.  Both are excellent communicators and with different perspectives on the problems and the solutions.  That is the basis for the debate Raj is asking for.  

So lets see the Sherman-Smith debate on the future of Health Care in Alberta.  Lets make sure Brian Mason of the NDP is part of the punch up too.  Let's do it live on the Internet and see if we get some light and clarity instead of heat and histrionics over health care.  If nothing else we should get a clearer sense of if the Wildrose Alliance has really abandoned what Raj calls the Americanization of Alberta Health care.  Raj could be a catalyst to test the trust Albertans ought to give to the Alliance and the NDP on health care reform.

Set it up Raj - I'll watch.