We can do better – so let’s do it!
As we near the federal election and parties pick their candidates, those candidates will soon be turning to us, the voters. Rather than fear this – loud politicians promising grand but vague plans, shouting over each other, many with the basest emotions on trumpet-volume – we could be ready with real questions and honest concerns. No way should we play dumb as politicians talk at us or over us – and refuse to listen.
There is a movement to make 2015 “the last unfair election”. Have candidates commit to election reform via some proportionate representation. Ask: will you support election reform? Fair Vote Canada offers information to solidify anyone’s arguments for more democratic elections in Canada.
A national day-care program is promoted in all areas of the country. Quebec’s constricted day-care system is a good model for a start. Whereas Gatineau families spend about 4% of their income on day-care, Ottawa families are spending 26%. This comes close to prohibiting mothers from a career and a rewarding job (besides parenting). Day-care needs expansion, including after-school care.
A federal Pharma-care program seems another no-contest proposal. With our aging population and their dependence upon medications, Pharma-care would mean all seniors could afford their prescriptions, and governments could engage in bulk-buying to ease their own health-care expenses. Both Pharma-care and day-care programs have clear long-term benefits. Another reform would be to make skills training and higher education more affordable, even free, for those who qualify. Poorer, smaller countries already do this, and their economies are now ahead of ours.
We are brow-beaten daily to believe austerity is our only hope to save what services we still have. Ministers lecture us that if a family can’t spend more than it earns, so too a nation must spend only what it earns. Austerity is a program favoured by the very-wealthy – it means, in plain English, “You pay for it, not us”. We must pay for our oh-so-expensive government programs by cutting programs that help the majority?
The family income canard has a different interpretation: if a family cannot afford its expenses, it must increase its earnings. The nation can do likewise: increase its revenues, and not by squeezing low and middle class wage earners even more. Several organizations have estimated that the super-wealthy of the world have hidden 21 trillion taxable dollars in “tax shelters”. The 1% avoid paying about 3 trillion per year in taxes (around the world). Not more taxes, just pay the taxes owed! End their loopholes and audit their fancy accountants’ avoidance schemes.
Higher taxes for corporations and the super-wealthy will not drive them away: they need Canada’s resource wealth; they need our social infrastructure and trained workforce. The US has higher corporate taxes and yet has a more robust economy than our own. So disregard the fear-mongering by the corporate parties.Ask our questions. Make our priorities clear. We do the talking. It’s our only chance. It’s our election.