Sunday, June 26, 2022

Affordability is the Top Issue

Editor,

If you’re working for a living, you should be making a living wage.

If you’re not making a living wage (at least $20 an hour) you can’t afford to buy healthy food, let alone an electric vehicle. You can’t afford a decent place to rent, let alone a good house with solar panels on the roof. You can’t afford to get sick, let alone the medications a doctor may prescribe for you.

It’s the folks at the low end of the income scale who are unable to escape the wildfires and the rising waters that are driven by a rapidly heating world. They can’t escape hot cities into the countryside and commute to work electronically. They might not even be able to afford air conditioners. They may join the increasing number of people who, scientists predict, will succumb to the heat.

Income inequality helps drive the impact of the other two issues – the climate emergency and health care.

Ontario spends the least, per capita, of all the provinces on health care. We have the fewest number of RNs per 100,000 people, and not nearly enough personal support workers.

The Ford government blew $10 billion over the last four years by cancelling Ontario’s cap-and-trade program (and the revenue that accompanied the auctions of carbon credits), by cancelling all pending renewable projects, and by paying lawyers to defend these bone-headed decisions.

It would have been better, according to the research, to put that $10 billion into our public health care system. But the PCs won’t do that. Instead, they are planning to pay private corporations to build more for-profit long-term care homes and clinics, maybe even hospitals.

Not only does the research show that such private-public partnerships are an inefficient use of public money, but private health care facilities produce higher rates of morbidity and mortality. Your chances of dying of COVID were nearly 25% greater if you were stuck in a for-profit home.

Low wages put workers at the mercy of COVID. Inequality leaves people to the mercy of the climate emergency. Cutting gasoline taxes and cancelling licence renewal fees are the sign of a government that has neither the policy nor the will to tackle the major problems confronting us.

David McLaren, Neyaashiinigmiing

 

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