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Saturday January 14, 2006
NDP Leader Jack Layton, who has campaigned as a defender
of public health care, is answering questions regarding a
hernia surgery he had at a private clinic in the 1990s.

Layton had the operation at the Shouldice Hospital in the
Toronto suburb of Thornhill while he was a Toronto city

But Layton told the Canadian Press he wasn't aware the
clinic was a private facility.

"It's just part of the system," Layton said in an interview.
"The doctor says, 'Go there.' You pay with your (Ontario
health) card. It never occurred to me (it was) anything other
than medicare, which it is.

"I can tell you now, if my doctor ever refers me anywhere,
I'll ask him that question. It never occurred to me at the time.
It wasn't a controversy at the time. It wasn't something on
one's mind."

Layton stressed that the Shouldice facility is a not-for-profit
facility that has been part of the Ontario medical system for

"This was no secret, believe me," he said. "Heck, [Toronto]
Mayor [Mel] Lastman came to visit me there. Every family I
knew, every middle-aged man that ever ran into a hernia,
went to Shouldice. It's part of the system."
Private clinic operation 'no secret', says Layton
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