Il est venu le temps des cathédrales

This could prove to be a very symbolic moment in the evolution of Canadian health care. Last month the Université de Montréal’s troubled (that’s the gentlest available word) new research-hospital project failed to land the $100-million CFI grant it had been hoping for. (Fun historical note: the news conference where Stephen Harper announced an equivalent grant for McGill was the one where he first said he might have to call his own darned election, so not a lot of people covered the story of the research grants. Which is a very interesting story.)

Anyway. No $100 million federal taxpayer-funded research grant for the big classic hospital. And now: across the street from the UdeM hospital, in the old Medley bar — Montrealers my age or older will remember it as the Old Munich beer hall — pop singer Garou plans to build a $100 million private clinic, with parking, condo-hotel, state-of-the-art services, and more.

As we head into a federal election, watch everyone be quiet quiet quiet quiet quiet about the prospect of a private health-care Disneyland in the middle of Canada’s second-largest city. Including Jack Layton, who gets distracted at non-fixed intervals from his usual positions by the prospect of an electoral breakthrough in Quebec.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.