Considering the time I spend bashing private insurance, I may as well say something good about it when I get a chance. So here's my chance. The Quebec courts were right to strike the law banning all forms of private insurance in the country. You really don't want the government to be the only possible source of health delivery innovation within a particular system, and there's no reason that a parallel structure can't exist at the high end of health services that shortens wait times, offers more hospital comfort, and so forth.
I respect Canada's emphasis on radical egalitarianism, but it's just not bright. There needs to be a government provided floor that covers the basic needs of all citizens, but so long as we're going to have a capitalist society filled with money earned from labor (or inheritance or whatever), folks should be able to buy things with it. More to the point, so long as you have relatively open borders with a capitalist society directly south, you'd be stupid to bar your private companies from filling a demand that not only exists, but can be filled in the neighboring country with a minimum of fuss and bother. Doing so only ensures your economy won't receive the customer's cash. Fears that doctors will be enticed away from public care are fair, but if demand proves so high that signifcant numbers of Canadians will pay extra, you can really just raise domestic taxes in order to increase doctor salaries in the public system. It's not all or nothing.
Matt's got more.