Much has been said of late about the Harper dictatorship. However, Canadians have failed to notice that Stephen Harper is waging an unrelenting war on medicare. Linda McQuaig writes:
Under Harper, taxes as a percentage of the economy are at their lowest level in 70 years. But 70 years ago, governments weren’t providing the extensive public benefits and services — in areas like health care, education, pensions, public transit — that we want and expect today.
As a result of Harper’s cuts to the GST, personal and corporate taxes, Ottawa now collects about $45 billion less revenue per year. No wonder we’re told we can’t afford anything but austerity.
That is why the prime minister has informed the provinces that, if they want to maintain medicare, they will have to keep it going:
Harper has quietly put in place the mechanism for deep cuts to federal support for public health care. There was, of course, no proclamation pointing that out. His government simply announced, just before Christmas in 2011, that there would be no negotiations to renew the expiring health accord with the provinces.
Instead, it unilaterally imposed a new formula — which will cut federal support for health care by an estimated $36 billion over the next decade, leaving the cash-strapped provinces scrambling to cover costs, with private, profit-seeking health entrepreneurs buzzing at their doorsteps.
As a result, few Canadians seem to realize that, as things stand, our medicare system — an institution cherished by millions — faces serious spending cuts starting in 2017.
Few Canadians seem to remember that Harper used to head the National Citizens Coalition -- an organization which came into being to fight public healthcare. He has swung a wrecking ball at the most cherished institutions in this country. And, McQuaig reminds us, we let him get away with it.