Oh, Canada — beware American ideologues bearing advice.
Sarah Palin inadvertently stepped into Canadian politics earlier this week when she told the crew of a CBC comedy show that America’s northern neighbor should “reform its health care system and let the private sector take over” the country’s medical services.
Comedian Mary Walsh of the comedy show This Hour Has 22 Minutes, a sort of Canadian Daily Show, stormed a recent Palin book-signing in Columbus, Ohio, and said to the former Alaska governor: “I just wanted to ask you if you have any words of encouragement for Canadian conservatives who have worked so hard to try to diminish the kind of socialized medicine we have up there.”
The question was tongue-in-cheek: Walsh’s character, Marg Delahunty, may be a conservative, but the CBC’s comedy show is decidedly not.
Walsh was pushed out of the Borders outlet as Palin tried to answer the question, but later, in the parking lot outside, Palin told Walsh that she should “keep the faith because common sense conservatism can be plugged in there in Canada too. In fact, Canada needs to reform its health care system and let the private sector take over some of what the government has absorbed.”
While Canadians have long debated what sort of health care system would be best for the country, the idea that Canada should let the private sector take over delivery of health services will likely go over like a lead weight up north — even among conservatives.
A recent study (PDF) found that 90 percent of Canadians support universal, single-payer health care. A poll taken last summer shows 82 percent of Canadians believe their health care system to be better than the US’s, despite constant grumbling about waiting times for treatment of non-life-threatening conditions.
This would not mark the first time that Palin has been punked by a Canadian comedy team. In November, 2008, days before the presidential election, two Montreal shock-jocks convinced Palin that she was on the phone with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Palin didn’t even seem to cotton on that she was being pranked when the shock jocks started talking about Nailin’ Palin, a spoof porn video featuring a Palin lookalike.
The following video was broadcast on the CBC’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes, and was posted to the Web by ThinkProgress.