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Dr. Day court challenge likely postponed to March 2015

Dr for profitA crucial court case with grave implication for public health care will not begin on September 8 as expected. It is now more likely the case will go to court in March 2015.

The Vancouver Sun reports, “A lawsuit against the B.C. government by Dr. Brian Day, a Vancouver orthopedic surgeon and co-owner of the Cambie Surgery Centre, was set to go to trial on Sept. 8. But lawyers on both sides agreed this week to seek an adjournment so some issues can be settled out of court to improve the speed of the eventual trial, according to Day.”

Dr. Day says, “[The delay will allow both sides to] settle some issues outside of court and to make the trial more efficient.”

But NUPGE notes, “…The BC Supreme Court case judge granted a request from Dr. Day’s legal team for a 6 month delay of the trial in order to pursue a resolution with the defendant BC government.”

And the British Columbia Health Coalition outlines two possible scenarios. “The first is that Day is finally abandoning a lawsuit that never had any merit and was no more than a stalling tactic that has allowed him to continue to break public health care law. …The other possible scenario is that this postponement is another in a long line of Brian Day’s delay tactics, that he does not actually intend to seek a resolution to the litigation, and the case will go to trial in March 2015 following this postponement.”

As for the case itself, Day is taking the BC government to court using Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedom. He contends that our public health care system is infringing on a person’s security, right to life and liberty when there is a wait time. Day argues that if you have the money, you should have the right to buy your way to the front of the line.

But the truth is that the major causes of increasing wait times are a shortage of acute care beds, not enough community care resources, and the current use of existing infrastructure. The solution is not private for-profit clinics, but rather more acute care beds, more community health centres, greater efficiency in the use of existing infrastructure and operating rooms, and pan-Canadian strategies in areas like aging and dementia.

The Council of Canadians will continue to monitor this court challenge and will mobilize for the court date.