- The Washington Times - Monday, June 1, 2009

Canada and U.S.

Canadian leftists supportive of their country’s universal health care program are soliciting donations to send their leader to Washington to meet with “Obama Democrats” to strategize about implementing a similar system.

A fundraising appeal e-mailed to supporters from Anne McGrath, president of Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP), says: “There’s a battle over universal health care happening in the United States - and your New Democrats are a part of it. I hope you will lend your support.”

Accompanying the mailer is an image of an economy-class plane ticket from Ottawa to Washington for Jack Layton, the party’s federal leader and prime minister candidate. In the bottom left corner it says, in screaming all-capital letters: “Support Obama’s fight for universal health care. Protect Medicare back in Canada.”

Mr. Layton is scheduled to deliver a speech on health care at the Woodrow Wilson Center this week. While he is in Washington, he also plans meet with President Obama’s communication director, Anita Dunn, who will be traveling later this summer to Canada to speak at an NDP conference.

Canada’s New Democrats think that if the U.S. had public health care, it would help tilt their country’s political debate.

“We do have a health care system here that is, as you know, public and universal,” said Layton spokesman Karl Belanger. “A stronger health care system in the U.S. would help us protect our health care system here,” explaining that “there is a push from conservatives to threaten the presence of our system and get for-profit corporations in the system, which is something we fundamentally oppose. They point to the United States for the change that could happen here.”

But on the other side of the border, American conservatives who oppose Mr. Obama’s health care plan often mention Canada’s system. An ad released by Americans for Prosperity, a group that promotes free-market principles, recently featured the story of a Canadian woman who survived brain cancer by coming to the United States to get treatment.

Scary statistic

What does college tuition have to do with the economic crisis? Like the housing collapse, it might be the next bubble to burst.

An opinion piece in the Chronicle of Higher of Education pointed to an alarming statistic from the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education that makes the run-up in housing prices over the past decade look minuscule. According to the center, the price of average college tuition and fees had gone up 440 percent over the past 25 years. That’s more than four times the pace of inflation.

“Consumers who have questioned whether it is worth spending $1,000 a square foot for a home are now asking whether it is worth spending $1,000 a week to send their kids to college,” warned writers Joseph Marr Cronin, former Massachusetts secretary of educational affairs, and Howard E. Horton, president of the New England College of Business and Finance.

Palin watch

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is keeping fans updated on her latest schedule arrangements via her Twitter account.

A recent posting announced that the 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee was recording a video for troops and will be appearing on Comedy Central’s “Colbert Report” from Iraq sometime this month.

“Getting ready to tape shout-out for our awesome US troops serving overseas! Will be on ‘Colbert Report’ next month, broadcast from Iraq,” it said, maxing out the 140-character allotment the social-networking tool permits.

Mrs. Palin can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/AKgovSarahPalin.

• Amanda Carpenter can be reached at [email protected] times.com.

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