The right words are needed now

  • Wrong diagnosis: Canada’s healthcare system has been dismissed as being socialist by the OBA

    Wrong diagnosis: Canada’s healthcare system has been dismissed as being socialist by the OBA


With great amusement, I read some words recently penned by One Bermuda Alliance MP Scott Pearman in his op-ed, published on Monday, aptly titled: “How much do words matter?”

Here are some key takeaways:

“Fast-forward to today’s politics and people seem increasingly less willing to listen to the views of others. People seem less willing to engage in civil discourse — debating differences of opinion without resorting to personal attacks. Today, the value of what is said is too often eclipsed. Modern ‘debate’ attacks the speaker: undermine the messenger and you undermine the message.”

“So, if you happen to object to the PLP healthcare plan, the letter writer is saying you either don’t care about other people, or you are ignorant. If ‘words matter’, then ask yourself this: is this any way to start a conversation?”

“Yet, to my mind, there was a clear victor: words do matter.”

I find his position of trying to act neutral in this particular situation extremely laughable and somewhat politically dishonest.

Why is that, you ask?

Well you see, on November 16, 2018, during a Throne Speech debate, Mr Pearman made these dismissive remarks about healthcare proposals:

“If people want single-payer healthcare systems, if they want socialist healthcare systems, move there.”

Now let’s come back to his words of January 2020:

“Modern ‘debate’ attacks the speaker: undermine the messenger and you undermine the message.”

So, without even knowing the details of the proposed healthcare reforms, Mr Pearman chose to undermine the messenger — health minister Kim Wilson — in an attempt to undermine the message.

Healthcare reform. In his haste to label single-payer systems as bad, he stated that anyone wishing those types of systems should leave Bermuda and go to those countries with — his words — “socialist healthcare systems”.

At this point, MP Rolfe Commissiong asked for a point of order and then, stated the following:

“Mr Speaker, the Member characterised single-payer systems, and I assume variations of those systems in other countries, as having failed and bankrupted those respective countries. Certainly, you have variations of single-payer systems in Europe. And I do not believe that it can be demonstrated that those systems have bankrupted those respective developed countries.”

Mr Pearman then replied: “A socialist healthcare system is, as I said, a very bad idea. Move to Canada.”

So, here we have an OBA MP telling Bermudians, looking for affordable healthcare, to “move to Canada”.

Basically, in a nutshell, Mr Pearman castigated countries with single-payer systems as a bad idea.

For the sake of clarity, the following countries use variations of the single-payer system: Canada, Taiwan, South Korea, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Britain, Australia, Spain.

Can Mr Pearman, or anyone else, honestly say that those countries’ healthcare systems are a bad idea?

Laughable, indeed.

Mr Pearman attacks any proposal to reform our healthcare system, not solely because his centre-right, conservative party opposes it, but more importantly because, as shown in the Members of Parliament register of interest, he is a major financial shareholder of two local insurance companies — namely Argus and BF&M.

Yes, those same insurance companies that are constantly raising their healthcare rates on all Bermudians.

This, my fellow citizens, speaks to the wider ideological divide in our country. You see, one sector is doing its best to contain or bring down the cost of living via energy costs and healthcare costs, while another sector, with vested financial interests in insurance fees, refuses to budge or offer viable alternatives.

Yet, these same folks will blame the cost of living on the Government.

As prime example, here we have Mr Pearman in 2020 stating that Bermudians should take the time to listen to others’ opinions, yet in 2018 he himself, who benefits financially from the rise in health insurance rates, is extremely dismissive of the financial concerns of Bermudians.

In his own words, “Move to Canada.”

Yes, indeed, words do matter.

Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him at WhatsApp on 599-0901 or e-mail at cfamous@plp.bm

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Published Jan 31, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 31, 2020 at 12:04 pm)

The right words are needed now

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