“Taxes: Not always a dirty word” Chapter member’s Letter to the Editor

This Letter to the Editor was published on Dec 12, 2014 in the Hamilton Spectator, written by Louise Roger.  Click here for the link.
Excellent letter Louise!

Taxes: Not always a dirty word
Hallmarks of a civilized society, such as universal health care, owe their existence to them

Hamilton Spectator

By Louise Rogers

“Try to think of a word more hated than “taxes”!

Right! Let’s lay our cards on the table and say we are talking taxes. By promising us lower taxes and, therefore, more disposable income if we vote for whoever is running for office, “taxes” has become a hated word. The promise of lowering them is luring a bear to a honey pot because many of the electorate believe they will be better off financially. This is a myth.

One has only to note all the “extras” for which you would fork out on a daily basis — that is, if you are fortunate enough to have the income.

It’s been said “taxes are what one pays for a civilized society.”

And we are civilized, aren’t we? Taxes pay for all the services we expect to receive in a first world country: health care, social workers, schools, libraries, bridges, roads, clean drinking water and sanitation, parks, food and building inspectors — and more. If these necessities are not being delivered it’s likely taxes are being misappropriated or are insufficient — or maybe both.

It’s clear we have allowed ourselves to be bamboozled by politicians who promise that if we vote for whoever is electioneering, we shall have halcyon shopping days using the extra money that otherwise would have been lifted from us in taxes.

The word “bamboozled” is used advisedly. Take our hospitals. In the 21{+s}t century, in Canada, are these institutions meeting the needs of all Canadians, no matter the income? The answer is no. This is not to say that there are not many patients who feel they have received good care. But we are talking about “all Canadians” and not only those who have spun the wheel and been lucky. There are so many horror stories in the media concerning mistakes made and neglect of patients that you feel sorry for conscientious staff from all hospital departments who may feel their efforts are not appreciated. These employees go to work each day and do their best, despite being overworked and stressed.

For years polls have told us that health care is Canadians’ No. 1 concern. Yet federal governments, in particular the present one, have handed down to provinces insufficient funding, thus our health care system finds itself in palliative care.

One cannot mention hospitals without speaking of their fundraising campaigns. No matter how you slice the pie, fundraising doesn’t seem to be the way to run a first world health care system. What if donations dry up due to a national or global economic downturn? Solid federal funding, the disbursement of which is scrutinized by an informed electorate, must result in careful management by our health and finance ministers. This is really “standing on guard for thee” and being a proud Canadian.

For sometime now, Hamilton’s hospital walls and elevator doors have been plastered with massive posters of smiling doctors and patients urging us to “make a difference.”

It would be interesting to know the grand yearly total of staff salaries, equipment, office rents, printing, mail-outs, massive posters, and full-page newspaper and television advertisements. Even our telephone calls are met with the suggestion that the caller might like to make a donation. How can our health care system survive, expand and improve while being so reliant on the whims of donors?

Further, let’s not forget the multiplicity of other organizations that are also urgently fundraising — health care has to contend with these.

And it may not be widely known that it is the current government’s intention to make another $36 billion in health care cuts over the next 10 years. This doesn’t convey a picture of a future robust not-for-profit system which Canadians maintain is their No. 1 concern.

If Tommy Douglas, medicare’s founder, were to walk hospital corridors today, it is likely he would see this aggressive fundraising as one gigantic begging bowl.

It is all so tacky.

According to their literature, the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario has set goals for public health, primary care, hospital care, home care and rehab, complex and long-term care. Further, Canadian Doctors for Medicare state its first goal is “to help continuously improve publicly funded health care in Canada.”

These goals cannot be achieved without a big injection of tax dollars which, spent wisely, enable our public health care professionals to deliver the quality of health care Canadians need and deserve.

Think about it!
Louise Rogers lives in Dundas.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>