Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Nora Loreto offers an important reminder as to why we contribute taxes to social well-being:
(T)axes still pay for things we need. Everyone benefits from a universal system of healthcare. Everyone is touched by the birth of someone and nearly everyone will rely on the system in the moments that precede their death. These moments are expensive.
User fees exchanged for public services limits access; those who can pay are separated from those who cannot. The introduction of every new user fee will result in fewer people able to afford to access that service. No system can be designed intelligently enough to gear these fees to income such that people aren’t left behind, regardless of what some economists argue.

Instead, we have the progressive tax system. It saves lives, lifts people out of poverty and cuts down the wealth of the intensely greedy. Or, it’s supposed to.

Canadians who believe in the principle of universal access to public services know that poorer people suffer when the system is financially starved populist politicians. We need to continuously remind others about why we pay taxes and that we’ll defend our public services when they’re under attack.

But these acts aren’t enough. We also have to hold politicians accountable when they make cynical decisions meant to create crisis conditions that alienate and disenfranchise people.

Surely, it shouldn’t take a brush with a hospital’s intensive care unit to remind us of the importance of taxes.
- Meanwhile, Mark Lemstra discusses the Sask Party's failing and costly attempt to turn Saskatchewan's health care system into an assembly line.

- And Hugh Mackenzie calls for an adult conversation about what services Ontario wants to fund and how - rather than an election campaign fought on budgetary assumptions which nobody believes to be even remotely plausible.

- Embassy reports on the Canadian Government Operations Centre's inexplicable surveillance and suspicion of an Idle No More protest about the plight of bees. But then, it's possible to take plenty of power away from anybody trying to stigmatize public participation by wearing resistance as a badge of honour - as First Nations activists are now doing with their blue dot campaign.

- Alison nicely sums up the intentions behind the Cons' elections legislation. 

- Finally, Dean Beeby reports that Canadians are tuning out the Cons' publicly-funded propaganda. But more importantly, voters are also ruling out the Cons as an option in droves - with only 36% of respondents even seeing them as a possibility in Nanos' latest poll.

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