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Letter: Happy 150th birthday, Canada, eh

One might think that in 150 years we would have learned something useful that would help people and not make life harder
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150 years old and look where we are.

It costs more to live, taxes are higher, healthcare is deteriorating, our economy is hurting, our standing in the world has decreased and for the first time our kids will not be better off than we are. Wow we’ve come a long way in 150 years.

One might think that in 150 years we would have learned something useful that would help people and not make life harder. You might even think we would have found ways to stem the actual problems and not just the symptoms. Of course that would not always get votes or make headlines. Part of being elected to represent the people means sometimes making the hard decisions for the greater good and not just sticking your finger in the hole in the dike.

Governments take our money and use it to buy votes by spending it on things they think will make us ‘think’ they are doing their job when in fact what we really need is being cut or sold off to private for-profit companies. Government is not there to profit but to govern and not balance their budget by selling off essential services to pay down their unsustainable spending of our hard earned money.

We have an aging population and publicly funded healthcare is declining. People are choosing not to have children because the cost of raising a child has skyrocketed. Post-secondary education is out of reach for many and jobs are becoming harder to get. Post-secondary graduates are leaving school with overwhelming debt and working at minimum wage jobs.

Raising the minimum wage is defeatist if you can’t curb the cost of living. $15 an hour won’t help if the goods you need to purchase go up because of it. In fact, you might make less overall and end up worse off. Employment/unemployment numbers don’t tell the real story because a person employed at a part time job earning minimum wage is considered “employed” and yet can be living in poverty. When employment numbers go up the government brags about how they are responsible but when the number of people living in poverty increases those figures are brushed over if mentioned at all.

I was recently watching a series on what the world would be like without Canada and although a world without any nation would be bad, I was struck by how much we do really contribute to the world as we know it. The series made me very proud to be Canadian but at the same time sad that we do not take those accomplishments and build on them.

We have a great country filled with great people and lot to be proud of and, yet our population is struggling to survive.

Now it may sound like I blame the government solely for our woe but I don’t. We share that blame because we let them get away with it. I have often said, “We as Canadians are a funny people, we don’t want to know we will get screwed, we want to wake up in the morning and find out we got screwed and then complain about it to our friends”. That’s a bit much, but you get the point. We voice our opinion each election based on whatever propaganda we are fed and then fall silent until the next one except to complain to our friends and coworkers (if you are lucky and have a job).

The answer is simple yet it is missed. You have “x” amount of tax money. Only employed people pay taxes. The population requires certain services. That costs “y” amount of dollars. Worst case scenario “x” and “y” should cancel each other out. Any dollars brought in from exports should be used to finance improvements or shortfalls.

Employment (real employment) can be achieved by some preplanning, forward thinking and improving things like healthcare, education, infrastructure and bettering the quality of life for those less fortunate or retired on a fixed income. In essence, the use of common sense and true representation should be the rule and not the exception.

Albert Einstein is reported to have said, “To do the same thing over and over expecting different results is insane.”

Maybe its time we take a good hard and honest look at ourselves and the world as a whole to find what works and use it while correcting what doesn’t.