Through the 1980s, privately funded think-tanks such as The Fraser Institute and the C. D. Howe Institute had been preparing reports that suggested the Canada Health Act imposed a straitjacket on options for patients, providers and provincial governments. Such reports argued that privatization of public services should be encouraged in order to ensure that citizens received the best possible treatment if they were willing to pay for it. While such views appealed to some wealthy Canadians and ideologues who supported the Thatcher, Reagan and Mulroney efforts to cut social spending, the majority of Canadians, particularly Albertans, rejected this view of health care as a commodity. Provincial governments certainly experienced the impact of federal cuts and rising costs. In Saskatchewan, the newly elected New Democratic Party (NDP) government of Roy Romanow demonstrated its fiscal realism by closing 52 small rural hospitals. Many of these facilities became retirement homes or chronic care facilities in response to the aging of the population — an issue that other provinces would also soon face. In response to financial pressures, Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island had all introduced regional health authorities to integrate their health services and bring in wellness programs by 1993. But would these changes limit the ever-rising costs and fulfill Canadians’ expectations of their health care system? The loss of cherished services was deeply felt, as demonstrated in Stan Beutel’s editorial cartoons about New Brunswick Premier Frank McKenna and the efforts made by his Minister of Health, Dr. Russell King, to cut health care spending and increase community-based services (hospitals without walls).