Friday, May 30, 2014
'This is Canada, the Real Canada'
reasons for tax reform
Submitted by Myrtle Macdonald, Chilliwack
taxes for the poor and for people who are underemployed is
good. However services for children, single parents, the elderly, the
disabled and underemployed youth are very far from adequate.
The Conservative belief that
low taxes will stimulate industrial development has been a
failure. Here are the realities:
• Industrial growth if any, has
not resulted in an increase of full time well paid
jobs. Most of the benefit has gone to foreign owners,
owners of shares and stakeholders who are already
wealthy. Many factories closed. New factories are largely
foreign owned and most of the income is drained away from
• We are selling our natural
resources and letting them be refined in other countries.
• By far the most increase in
jobs has been of minimum wage part time, seasonal jobs, paid
by the hour and without benefits.
• Young people graduating cannot
get quality jobs. More and more they cannot afford to get
married, buy a house and start a family. They double up with
other youth to live in poor quality housing, or they stay
with their parents. Many after living alone, return home to
their parents and live with them into their 30s and 40s.
• There is much depression and
hopelessness because no good jobs are available.
To overcome these sad
realities the government must make real changes, such as:
• Team university, college
and high school education with apprenticeships and
internships, with employers who start hiring them well
before they graduate.
• Tax the wealthy and do not
allow them to hide their wealth.
• Require the wealthy to invest
their wealth in new industries. Nowhere should their money
be allowed to sit unused in active creatively.
• To release much money to be
used fairly, cut down layers of bureaucracy in both
government and the private sector. The people at the top may
have been skilled at one time in the product or service
their company is designed for, but they quickly got out of
touch with reality, when they are merely administrators.
Supervisors and foremen are not needed. Professionals and
paraprofessionals know their work well and they should be
elected by their peers to do peer leadership, for not more
than two years at a time. Everyone should be eligible to
have a turn in office, while continuing to work in their
• Increments in salary annually
and with further education, are much too high. This steep
rise in earnings is very unfair. It also means that many
employers will not hire people with experience and extra
education. As a result standards and quality assurance are
low. Industries require complex knowledge and skills are
less successful if employees are all new and inexperienced.
• Quality assurance and standards
of service and production need to be developed and agreed
upon, by the staff themselves, the clients served, or the
• Provide professional upgrading
for the hierarchy of supervisors and administrators, since
most desk jobs are not needed and are ineffective.
• Hire many more professionals,
paraprofessionals and apprentices in every profession, to
give direct services or care. We need more Home Care Nurses
and Caregivers so that the elderly and disabled can have two
baths a week, instead of only one; the mentally ill are
getting into jobs and not giving up; parks are well
serviced; reforestation is properly done on stripped
mountainsides; marginal land is being improved; alternate
energy is becoming affordable for all; Occupational Therapy
is provided for all who need it; poor children are getting
music lessons and membership in sports; large
classes augmented with enough teachers and teacher aides; et
• Help is needed up front. It is
nonsense to offer an income tax refund a year later since
most young parents don't even earn enough to pay income tax.
• An ivory tower is just that, a
dead expensive palace based on theories that may have been
valid at one time.
• If there is a surplus income
gained each year it should not be given as bonuses to the
owners, share holders or vice-presidents, but to the staff.
It might also go into expansion, but with care.
• The billions that banks make annually should
be used for lines of credit and over drafts and for programs
to stimulate productivity among the poor. Banks are too
reluctant to give a loan to an untried person. In some third
world countries there is a mini loan program
for women and young people to buy a sewing machine, some
goats or chickens or a computer. There have been thousands
of mini success stories, and impressive skills
developed quickly while running their programs. Little
self-run village banks have done very well.
• Businesses should not become
huge. Monopolies should be broken up by the government.
• The same is true of similar
companies. Just because one grocery chain or an oil company
charges high prices, is not a valid reason for other
grocery stores or fuel outlets to do the same. There are
many special services and products in Canada that behave as
if they are monopolies. This power should be terminated by
government. Our food costs have jumped 25% in the past few
months. It is shocking. Instead of adding 2%, 25% more is
charged for vegetables, fruit and bread, etc.
• There should be programs
to fund unemployed youth, as there were in the 1970s. They
used their initiative to design a small project that hired
themselves and two or three others. Many of these were
unique, ingenious and successful. After about two or three
years they had grown and no longer needed a government
grant. My son-in-law started that way employing mentally
disabled people and school dropouts. He became highly
successful in rehabilitation services and the manufacturing
• The next to impossible paying
off of student loans on a minimum wage has broken the
initiative of many thousands. Some countries provide
free tuition for university and college students.
These countries are no more able to do so than Canada
is. They just have better values. Yes our Canadian values
• It is time also to provide
health insurance for dental care, pharmacy and foot
care. With the majority of people on part time jobs, they
never work long enough in one place, to receive coverage
through their employer. They also cannot afford Blue
Cross. We Canadians pride ourselves in our Medicare and look
down on our southern neighbors for not understanding. We are
just as foolish they are about the real cost of having good
teeth, feet and medications. Hundreds of thousands of
Canadians cannot afford to pay for their prescriptions, so
go without. We can learn from Scandinavian and other
• It is time to bring in
legislation to stabilize the construction industries. My son
died a year ago at 57 years of age, because he was one of
these underemployed but highly skilled construction
workers. Employers liked him and his high standards of work,
so often he earned a bit more than his partner(s). He often
was asked to train a new worker, but without being paid to
do so. Like others in construction, he had to provide his
own tools and transportation, and banks never would allow
him a line of credit or overdraft. Health insurance, housing
and pension, holiday pay or overtime benefits were never
provided. Often tools were stolen, tires were slashed or his
vehicle broken down. There was no funding for repairs, so
someone else got hired in his place. This is the long term
repetitive story of his very sad life.
• Legislation needs to be brought
in to provide stability of housing for the
underemployed. Most landlords live in another city. The
manager has no right to allow late payment of rent, so if a
tenant has missed time at work because of illness, or has a
huge bill to pay for car repairs, he is quickly evicted.
There is no mercy. This is Canada, the real Canada. If you
work part time it is impossible to get money from
Social Welfare, not even in a dire emergency. The food bank
often is over a mile away and if you are ill, how will you
• Housing rental prices should be
controlled. There is no affordable housing for people
working at minimum wage. Even if their pay is $20 per hour
they cannot afford to pay for an apartment. What is the
answer? There are several answers I can think of. Every
apartment building should have two or more subsidized
apartments. Government should not be stingy about helping
the poor, but assistance should be provided anonymously. No
one should know who is subsidized. It could perhaps be
linked with income tax returns, on an accurate needs basis.
• Another solution could be that
absentee ownership of apartment blocks should not be
allowed. The landlord should be a real live local person.
• The quality of construction
should also be more carefully monitored. Buildings
deteriorate too soon because of low quality materials.
• They also deteriorate because
the landlord is far away and maintenance is neglected.
very displeased with what our government says they will do. They
seem to lack real plans. The slogan "to lower taxes" is vague
Meanwhile the richer are getting
richer, the middle class are becoming poor and the 30-year-olds
are working part time, if at all.
Please share this letter with the
Prime Minister and all the Ministers and Deputy
Ministers. They all need to smarten up. Forgive the rude
expression, but it is the truth.
Please don't waste the valuable
insights carefully assembled in this letter.
Editor's note: Myrtle turns 93
June 5th and we wish her the best birthday ever!
About the Myrtle Macdonald
She is has a M.Sc. Applied (in Nursing
Research and Education), McGill University.
She is a retired
registered nurse living in Chilliwack and now working with the local
chapter of the BC Schizophrenia Association. Myrtle was a street
nurse for many years in places like India and Montreal. She turns 93 in June and is one of the Voice's most popular contributors.
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