Canadians choosing health care over all else, says health care historian

Historians in the News
tags: Canada, health care, Cheryl Krasnick Warsh



Universal health care has become a dening national institution for Canadians, beating out the Queen and even hockey, says a Vancouver Island University medical historian.

Cheryl Krasnick Warsh said from a social point of view, Canadians place more pride in their healthcare system than anything else.

“No government can now come out and say ‘Let’s get rid of universal health care,’ ” said Warsh. “It’s very highly cherished even if people now know there are cracks in the system.”

In a 2012 survey by the Montreal-based Association for Canadian Studies, 94 per cent of those questioned ranked universal health care as Canada’s most important institution. Hockey was rated No. 1 by 48 per cent and the Queen 39. Warsh was announced this month as a Fellow of the Academy of Arts and Humanities of the Royal Society of Canada, the first academic from VIU to receive the honour. 

She has long been interested in the history of medicine. But as a social historian, she now prefers to think of herself as a historian of health care.

“The history of medicine used to be the story of great doctors and great discoveries, which is terric but it was never the whole story,” said Warsh. “Social historians are more interested in the history from the bottom up.” ...




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