‘Canadians not overtaxed
they are underserved’

By Marion Endicott
TORONTO — In ¬The Globe and Mail, Saturday, February 24, p. B6, under the head Surplus may lead to bigger tax cuts, Liberal finance critic John McCallum, is quoted as saying , "The fact that Ottawa is once again drowning in cash proves that Canadians are overtaxed."
Our family sat around the breakfast table discussing this and we were dismayed by the quote. It is our feeling that Canadians are not overtaxed, rather they are underserved.
Much of the surplus is generated by EI premiums that are not used in the EI program.  Let's improve the employment insurance program so that at the very least eligibility and levels of payment are improved to previous levels. As it stands the degraded program is contributing to the increasing gap between rich and poor in our country.  Once dropped into poverty, it is often difficult to get out. This is bad for individuals, for families, and for our nation as a whole. It is unconscionable that we should declare a surplus and contemplate further tax cuts when our social programs are so weak.
Furthermore there are so many other areas in the fabric of our country that are crying for attention and for mending from the slashes during the past 15 years. Our national parks, our healthcare system, our environment, our universities, our national transportation systems, our CBC, our scientific institutions, our regional development and our support for a myriad of programs and initiatives by Canadians across the country — all of these, and many more, are areas that are suffering and require the influx of funds, staffing, and spirit to renew our capacity to function as a country that works, of which we can be proud, and that the world can look to for inspiration.
It would be wonderful to not just talk of restoration, but of building to the future. Where is that national childcare plan that will see all Canadian children with access to high quality daycare by the age of three? Where are the dental and prescription plans that will help keep Canadians more healthy? What about plans that will ensure that more than one doctor can be in small communities and thus make it attractive to serve in rural Canada? What about plans to restore the railways?  So many good ideas.  So many important ideas
Do not talk of tax cuts.  Talk of using the public purse for the good of us all.

(For many years Marion Endicott has been on the frontline of helping injured workers salvage their lives.)