Canadian Journalists Criticized Michael Moore's Portrayal of Canada's Health Care in 'Sicko'

AP photo from Moore at press conference

Canadians are mad as heck, and this time, they’re not going to take it. Michael Moore went too far to be ignored, which meant that a Canuck really gave him “what for” in the form of a polite but pointed recap of a heated press conference on Saturday for the premiere of “Sicko,” Moore’s one-sided US health-care hit job, which debuted at Cannes Film Festival .

 May 20, Toronto Star entertainment reporter Peter Howell wrote in the ideologically left of center paper that the Canadian journalists who saw “Sicko” were less than happy with his “playing fast and loose with the facts” and churning out a one-sided Pollyanna treatment of Canadian health care, presenting a system without problems. After being chastised by some of the most polite people on Earth, he fired back and leveled a truly terrible offense at them by stating their system is barely a step above America's. Quelle horreur!

Read what one of the few articles critical of Moore and his accuracy had to say about the movie's obvious problems with Moore’s film (bold emphasis mine throughout):

We Canucks were taking issue with the large liberties Sicko takes with the facts, with its lavish praise for Canada's government-funded medicare system compared with America's for-profit alternative.

While justifiably demonstrating the evils of an American system...Sicko makes it seem as if Canada's socialized medicine is flawless and that Canadians are satisfied with the status quo.

Moore makes the eyebrow-raising assertion that Canadians live on average three years longer than Americans because of their superior health care system.


Other Canadian journalists spoke of the long wait times Canadians face for health care, much longer than the few minutes Moore suggests in Sicko. Moore, who has come under considerable fire for factual inaccuracies in his films, parried back with more questionable claims.

A Michael Moore movie with “factual inaccuracies” and “questionable claims?” Shocking, simply shocking.

Moore started with a stunningly stupid statement that essentially told these socialized medicine ingrates to quit their whining about 18 month-long waits for gallbladder surgeries because it means they apparently live three years longer...somehow. Moore lashed out at these legitimate questions about his habit of propping up an unrealistic portrayal of a socialist utopia (or communist, in Cuba’s case) by minimizing the citizens’ hardships:

"You're in a longer line than we're in because you get to live three years longer than we do. Why is that?" Moore said. "Why is it that a baby born in Toronto has a better chance of making it to its first birthday than a baby born in Detroit?"

Moore later back-pedalled on some of his praise, saying neither Harper nor regular Canadians should pat themselves on the back too much.

"It's not hard to do better than the U.S.," Moore cautioned. "The Canadian system, if you look on that list of the World Health Organization, is not that far above us. It's not like the French system. The French system is the best in the world."

Talk about getting nasty. To a Canadian leftist, comparing anything Canadian, especially health care, to anything American is just about the worst insult Moore could have used. If he thinks so poorly of the Canadian system, why praise it so highly in the movie, which is what irked the Canadians to begin with?  

Perhaps this backlash indicates Moore is finished infantilizing and patronizing Canada, as he does Cuba and to a lesser extent, France, by pretending it is a real-life "Pleasantville." Howell was still irritated that Moore used the same technique of distorted reality when he  claimed in the anti-gun film “Bowling for Columbine” that Canadians don’t lock their doors, as well as stating that they aren’t afraid of crime in Canada.           

Does this mean that Moore’s love affair with Canada is over, now that some citizens have the audacity to question his rhetoric? Howell maintained the kind of professionalism and objectivity in this article that, based on his comments, Moore could not during the press conference. Too bad the media hasn't reported this conflict, eh? More about Moore, here and here.

* This appears to be an article about the same Cannes press conference with more quotes and without the criticism.

Contact Lynn at tvisgoodforyou2  AT  yahoo  DOT  com.

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