Emergency No Excuse for Conscription of Doctors
Emergency bill founded on backward ethical foundations: McKeever
"On December 15, 2005, when this bill was introduced ," said McKeever, "the only comments we heard from the Progressive Conservative and NDP members of the legislature were denials that their respective parties were standing in the way of such legislation. I find that greatly disconcerting. The concerns of medical workers and others in Ontario are legitimate. This bill might have all-party support among the parties that currently have members in the Legislature, but let there be no pretence that this bill somehow has all-party support. Freedom Party strenuously opposes this bill.
"This government could introduce legislation to ensure that, during an emergency, there will be monetary incentives for health care workers to offer their services despite increased risk to their own lives and those of their families. Instead, it has chosen to introduce legislation designed to guarantee that the government can secure health care services without paying for the full value of those services; without paying healthcare workers for the additional risks they could be exposed to, or the additional services that they might provide. To avoid taking out the purse, the province intends to strap-on a holster.
"This bill is giving us a clear view to the McGuinty government's ethical code. This government, and anyone who votes in favour of this legislation, is apparently of the view that it is morally good for a medical worker to sacrifice himself or herself for others. Whether they are consciously aware of it or not, they are clearly operating on the morally inverted premise that potentially dying for others is a healthcare worker's highest ethical value, and that for a health care worker to avoid his or her own death or harm - or to protect their own families from, for example, an infection - is morally wrong. Those who vote for this legislation are of the view that it is therefore virtuous and just to force a medical worker to put his or her life at risk: to force a human being to sacrifice himself or herself for others. And those who are opposed to the idea of, instead, providing medical workers with the incentive of enhanced pay in exchange for working during an emergency disclose a belief that it is evil for a human being to receive something of value for the valuable services that he or she provides to others.
"Emergencies can make some very valuable services even more valuable. However, the virtuous response to an increase in value is to provide more value in exchange for those valuable services. Justice is about making sure that one gets only what one pays for and that one pays only for what one gets. The vicious response, in contrast, is to resort to coercion.
"Emergencies do not change the ethical status of conscription, coercion and slavery. This bill is both ethically corrupt and politically unjust. It should be withdrawn. If it becomes law, it will be repealed should the good people of Ontario choose a Freedom government.
This media release distributed to Ontario's major news media and medical interests.
Freedom Party of Ontario