Former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell yesterday defended the Canadian health care system at a lunch sponsored by the Institute of Political (IOP) held at the Freshman Union.
"Eighty-nine percent of Canadians rate their local health care as being very good or excellent," she told an audience of about 50 students.
"Overall, 92 percent are satisfied with their car," she said.
Campbell said the Canadian system provides "health security," which the American system does not offer.
"Canadian workers do not have to worry about pre-existing conditions or if they will get care when they change jobs,' she said. "Families have not had to think about if they can afford health care for years in Canada."
Campbell made a short speech introducing herself and then answered questions from the audience.
During the question session, she commented on Quebec, which is considering secession from the Canadian union.
Such a secession would be disastrous for Canada, both economically and socially, she said.
Campbell said an "amicable divorce" is improbable due to the emotionally charged nature of the debate.
She did not say whether she expects that referendum on Quebec's secession to pass.
But not all the topics Campbell discussed were so serious. One student asked how it felt to be the first woman to be elected Prime Minister of Canada.
Campbell joked about the loss of privacy that goes along with being a head of state. As prime minister, she had 24-hour security escorts, the Canadian Mounted Police she said.
"When I went to a restaurant, I always had to ask for two tables," she said, "one for my guests and the other for the mounties."
Campbell also poked fun at her present title. She is known as "The Right Honourable" Kim Campbell.
Because of the extra word "right," she is entitled to a special honor, she said: the flag over Canada's national capitol building will fly at half-mast the day she dies.
"Only three people are eligible for the title in Canada: the Governor-General, the Chief Justice [of the Supreme Court], and the Prime Minister," she said.
Campbell replaced Brian Mulroney last year as Canadian Prime Minister. After her Conservative party failed to win a majority in last fall's elections, Campbell accepted a post as a fellow for the IOP.
She now plans to write a book on her experiences and perhaps go on a lecture tour.
Before she became Prime Minister, she held the positions of Canada's Attorney General and Minister for National Defense.