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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The Canadian identity and the right to health care : from waitlists to social citizenship? Crites, Victoria K.

Abstract

This thesis examines the recent health care debates and discussions of our "right to health care" amid the claims of a health care "crisis" in Canada, and attempts to determine if, and on what grounds, Canada's system of health care can be considered an entitlement of citizenship. Methodologically, the thesis explores the nexus between a theoretical basis for claiming a right and the policy environment in which that right may or may not be translated into practical policy goals. Here, T.H. Marshall's concept of social citizenship is used as the theoretical framework, in conjunction with the historical evolution of health care policy. Ultimately, the thesis argues that the state is morally obligated to provide social rights of citizenship, such as health care, in order to acknowledge the equality of all citizens. However, it also argues that simply claiming that health care is a right of Canadian citizenship is not sufficient to ensure that the state will provide any particular version of health care. Our publicly-funded universal health care plan, while it is surely tied to the Canadian identity, and has been institutionalized over the last several decades, only entitles Canadians to a thin version of social citizenship. Moreover, the thesis argues that the commitment to social citizenship in Canada is in more of a crisis than is the health care system per se.

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