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.