What's Wrong with Healthcare?

Thinking inside and outside of the healthcare box. After 41 years of family practice, what's happened to Canada's healthcare system?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Lies, Damn Lies, and Politics

Does anyone actually know how this equalization thing works? I’ve tried to get information on the process, but the general consensus of the powers that be is that if someone told us, we would be too stupid to understand it, so why tell us. This afternoon, while half-heartedly listening to Mr. Dinning on some talk-show, I thought I heard him say something to the effect that Albertans shouldn’t be concerned about equalization payments, and how the formula was calculated because it wasn’t actually Alberta’s money that went into equalization, it was federal money.
Silly me, I’ve always thought that the feds didn’t really have any money except yours and mine, and of course taxes from corporations, which we basically pay anyway because we are the consumers that provide that profit.
So, this is my understanding to date, please enlighten me if I’m wrong:
1) The system was set up to ensure all provinces of certain basic social services that are deemed to be part of the “social fiber” of Canada (Is child care in Quebec included?).
2) At present the formula (???? Which contains some natural resources ???), is based on the “wealth” of the five provinces in the middle (not the wealthiest and not the poorest).
3) The federal government then decides what level of transfer payments (monies), is necessary to level the playing field of societal niceties (they may call it essential services to make it sound better----who knows what it entails?).
4) The supposedly “poor provinces” get the lions share; the “rich provinces” get much less.
5) So the feds take tax money from all taxpayers and redistribute it. In Alberta’s case, much of our tax money going out, and little of it coming back in. But, Mr. Dinning, isn’t my tax money still my money when it ends up in the hands of the federal government? Isn’t it sort of a mandated contribution?
So let us see what happens if a different formula is used, including all provinces and natural resources. I think the intent would be to take some of the burden off of the industrial provinces (Ontario) and bring the total redistribution pot up, thus putting more money “earmarked” for redistribution. It is true, it doesn’t change the amount of taxation money in the federal coffers; it just buys justification for more discriminatory distribution of money for the purpose of gaining votes (Man that sounds paranoid. I must be forgetting to take my haldol again!). So, Mr. Dinning, you have either misrepresented the system to us entirely, don’t understand it yourself, or believe that making large areas of Canada dependent on federal handouts is a noble cause. Which is it? In any case, you sound more and more like a Liberal Lite, as per Ted Morton. Who would think Alberta would have a Paul Martin as their premier. Times are a-changing.

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