Resolving Timeline Issues

Posts Tagged ‘politics

First, if you haven’t read this post, you need to in order to understand where I’m coming from.

Done? Okay, so to recap: we (“the electorate”) regularly vote in and have the opportunity to vote out governments. In order to get our votes, politicians campaign and make promises and threats. More recently, there have been a lot of threats.

This, incidentally, is why President Obama was so successful – he told people what he was going to do and inspired hope rather than fear.

Also in the post linked above I asked you who should be afraid of whom.

What if I told you that it’s the politicians that should be afraid of us? After all, we have the power to vote them in and out.* But that would require voting. In the last election, somewhere around 50% voted. Maybe a little more, maybe a little less.

And by not voting, you are allowing fear to rule you – fear that you’re going to change the status quo.

So the next time there’s an opportunity to vote, think about why you’re not voting. Is it really apathy? Is it really a feeling that you can’t change anything?

Or has fear-mongering gotten the better of you and made you somewhat of a coward?

I’d encourage you to make your representatives accountable – demand service from there. Remember, they’re paid to serve you. Keep bugging them. Demand their help. Show them who’s in charge.

*Okay, so the system is a bit skewed in Canada due to the first past the post system, but the general principle applies.

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So, kids, let’s talk about democracy. Because I’d rather do that than stuff diapers at the moment.

I’ll start off by saying that we (and by “we” I mean “Canadians”) live in one of the greatest countries of the world. We’ve got a nice blend of capitalism and socialism – decent health care and other social services, freedom from illegal search and seizure, and so on.

And it’s because we live in a democracy. Every four or five years (give or take – I’m not getting into how elections get scheduled here) we vote for a new government. It could be the same as before, it could be different – but each election is a chance for change.

Often, because of the way the electoral system works, there is only a change when people are good and pissed off. This is what is known as the protest vote. People come out in droves to vote because they finally have an opinion, usually about the outgoing government.

Are we good so far? Do you have my main point? That it is the electorate – citizens – that control who is in power.

Since 2001, there has been a marked change in how elections take place. Throughout campaigning, there has been an emphasis on fear. What I have noted over and over is that politicians need to tell me why to vote for them and not why I shouldn’t vote for the other guy. All they tell me is that if I vote for Candidate X, that will guarantee Armageddon.

And here I thought the Mayans said that would occur in December 2012.

Fear is politics’ commodity. It’s been effectively used before against populations: Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, various pre-democratic and democratic monarchies. It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing: fear disguised as hope. And it is, unfortunately, being used far too oftenby politicians against citizens, in what are, ostensibly, democratic countries.

Now given that we live in a democracy, or at least a country with democratic tendencies, who should be scared of whom?

Come back later, and I’ll let you know what I think and give you a reason to unfollow me. But I have to get the roast ready for dinner now.

Since I’ve been on maternity leave, I’ve fallen into a habit in the mornings. Darren wakes me up when he needs a ride to the train, I drive him there, come back and flake out on the sofa for awhile. From 10-11am the Space channel shows one of my favourite shows of all time: the original Star Trek series.

Yes, I know how much of a geek that makes me. And I really, really want to see the new movie that opens tomorrow, but I refuse to go to a movie on opening weekend. This means I should see it sometime around Christmas.

Today’s episode is called “Friday’s Child” and involves a very pregnant, alien (although human-appearing) woman, whose culture allows no man other than her nearest male relative to touch her. Of course the good Doctor McCoy ends up delivering the baby, yadda, yadda (click the last link for a full, painfully detailed synopsis). My point is: she gets medical care.

Over the last 6.whatever months I’ve seen the doctor more times than I ever have in my life. Because my pregnancy has been astoundingly normal, I’m on the usual schedule of once a month for the first two trimesters or so, then once every two weeks from 28 to 35 weeks and once a week from 36 weeks onwards. I expect if I go longer than 40 weeks, it’ll be once every couple of days until showtime.

Add in there a trip to the clinic when I spiked a fever, and a diagnostic ultrasound at 20 weeks and I imagine this is a fairly costly process.

Yes, I said I imagine. Because really, I have no idea how much each visit costs. I know the ultrasound, had it been performed in California, would have been in the $2000 (US) range. All of those visits have cost me not one red cent. And I could have gotten genetic testing as well.

What I paid for out of pocket: 3 months of prenatal vitamins (because my extended medical didn’t cover it) at about $35/month (or slightly more than $1/day – because I’m in a high enough income bracket that I don’t get government assistance and my extended medical doesn’t cover vitamins) and a 3D ultrasound at $185 after taxes (because it was for “entertainment purposes” and therefore not covered by either basic or extended insurance).

When I give birth, its at a hospital with the latest medical equipment. If I go into a ward, there’s no cost for the room – its billed back to the province. If I want a private room its $180/night (including meals of course!) – which I can claim back from the two sets of extended medical insurance we have.

I shouldn’t say that this hasn’t cost me one red cent. It has because I pay it through my taxes. Because I’m in a high enough income bracket, I also pay a premium to the province for my medical care – its around $60/month; when we become a family of 3, it goes up to about $130/month. This is for basic care. My employer pays 75% of that – even though I’m not working for the next year.

Yes, I have a really good contract.

My employer also pays for my extended medical premiums; Darren’s employer pays for his and between the two we have nearly 100% coverage on everything. I think my extended medical premiums for the two of us are somewhere around $15-$20/month. Those premiums are low because provincial medical care offsets the true costs of medical care.

My point: we don’t have to pick and choose what kind of medical care we want. We don’t have to worry about being bankrupted by medical costs by doing something that is absolutely natural for human beings: having a baby. Every time I go into the hospital or doctor’s office, there’s no copay.

This is because it is my right, embodied in Canadian law, to receive medical care. Put another way, I cannot be denied medical care because of an inability to pay.

Why does this matter? Well, because there are women just south of the 49th who are denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions – or what their insurance companies have deemed to be pre-existing conditions. Like pregnancy.

And all over the world:

Every minute a woman dies in pregnancy and childbirth. Each year more than 536,000 women die due to complications developed during pregnancy and childbirth1 and 10 million more suffer debilitating illnesses and lifelong disabilities. Seventy-five percent of maternal deaths occur during childbirth and the postpartum period. The vast majority of maternal deaths are avoidable when women have access to vital health care before, during and after childbirth.

The old saying: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is worth listening to. With proper prenatal and postnatal care, you not only get healthy mothers and babies, but healthy communities.

The MOMocrats are asking for assistance:

MOMocrats support Mother's Day Every Day

High quality and accessible medical care for expectant mothers, mothers and their children make for less economic and social strife. Its pretty simple; Maslow said as much in his Hierarchy of Needs.

Except my story doesn’t stop there. The next post* will be about what extra benefit I’m able to provide because of the low cost of my extremely generous health care and my good luck in being Canadian.

*No promises as to when it’ll actually be up.

While 69% of the Canadian population agrees with the Governor General’s choice to prorogue Parliament, I don’t fall into that statistic. Frankly, I think it sucks and in this case sets a very dangerous precedent: allowing a government that has lost the confidence of the house to avoid a confidence vote.

(More later when I don’t feel quite so deathlike – I can only hope the “it hurts to breathe and hurts more to cough” goes away by tomorrow; yes I have been to the doctor who says its viral, and since I’m knocked up, I can’t take anything to make me more comfortable).

When you get up in the morning and have to clean up cat puke right away? Not a good start to the day. Especially when you don’t feel like getting out of bed anyways. So I came home early, cleaned up more cat puke (oh. Joy) and am now flaked out on the sofa watching the all brainwashing all the time channel CNN, because today, friends, history is being made. Honestly, even if I had work to do at work, I’d have a hard time concentrating. 

As I write this, Barack Obama is 12 delegates away from winning the Democratic Presidential nomination.

Hillary Clinton has said she’s open to running as Vice-President.

Today history is being made. Neighbours to the south, make it again on November 4.

 

 A few weeks ago, the BC Liberal government had a press release – and it was huge. $14 billion dollars for transit improvement (you should say “billion” like Dr. Evil in Austin Powers).

 That’s nice. The Tri-Cities will get the long sought-after Evergreen line to extend rapid transit to that area. Great.

 Yesterday, Minister Taylor wore a pair of green Fluevogs while she delivered the budget. They’re calling it the “Green Budget” – green, not only in the sense of environmentally green, but green in the sense of putting money back in the pockets of consumers.

 Oh, and there’s a carbon tax. Come Canada Day, the price of gasoline will increase by 2.4 cents per litre. All fossil fuels get this tax, including the natural gas you use to heat your home. But don’t worry! The tax is revenue neutral: 2/3 of that will go directly back into the pockets of those who need it, and help reduce BC’s greenhouse gases by 5% by 2020 (or something). The remaining 1/3 goes to business.

 Nevermind that the largest polluters – particularly the gas business – aren’t affected by the tax. More on this later.

My first point: the government is passing the costs of greenhouse gas reduction on to the citizenry. Apparently, the government can confer with big businesses on this, but not the people who actually vote for them.

By raising the price of gas, the carbon tax could reduce B.C.’s GHG emissions in 2020 by up to three million tonnes. Go ahead and click that link to see pundit Michael Smyth’s take on it. I think he makes some really good points. Read the comments, too.

Instead of 3 million tonnes, lets look at something we can all understand. That decrease is somewhere around 5%. Which is somewhere around 0.06% of global GHGs.

Lets face it: in BC, we have largely clean energy thanks to hydro-electric power.

Back to the transit thing: this tax is going in before the new transit lines are put in. This makes it a cash grab, despite the fact that its revenue-neutral. Oh, and transit fares have just increased, and the new TransLink board just gave itself a HUUUUUUGE raise.

All of this boils down to: how does it affect me?

Quite honestly, this budget just further alienates me. I drive to work every day. Every month, I burn between $120 and $150 in gas. My West Coast Express pass would cost me $195 for 28 days. It runs in the mornings, and in the evenings, and that’s it. Then there’s the “train bus” on the weekends. And because I have several evening meetings per month, I lose anywhere from 4 to 12 days per month on the pass. You do the math. We live where we do because we simply cannot afford to own a house in the city.

To take the SkyTrain from Vancouver to Surrey is now a $10 round trip.

My second point: if you’re going to tax me for driving, you need to build the amenities on the other end. Start by lowering transit fares. Then we can talk.

Speaking of talking, remember the point above about businesses not being affected by the carbon tax? (Pardon me if I get ranty here – this is the part that gets me MAD) They’re part of a separate process. Representatives get to meet with the government to discuss what to do.

Now, I know a thing or two about democracy. And I know that one of the things about democracy is that people vote, not businesses.

My third point: who do you think you are dealing with big business and ignoring the citizens?

What a fucking insult. Every single citizen, whether you voted for the Liberal government or not, should be deeply insulted at a fundamental level. Not only because business is being consulted and citizens are not, but because this tax is going to hit you whether you like it or not.

My fourth point: I recycle: we throw out one bag of garbage every 10 days. I drive a fuel efficient car; it is as fuel efficient as many hybrids. I buy meat from local growers. We buy local veggies whenever possible and stock up from Darren’s mom’s garden in the summer. Even the beer and wine we drink is local and the wine is organic – well, the wine is from the Okanagan, but that’s local enough. And business doesn’t have to do this and still gets consulted?

Where’s my tax credit for doing what I can? Where are my chits for locally grown meats and vegetables? Why not start there where its something more tangible?

IMHO, this is a great big, “Fuck you very much” to the citizens of BC.

As a follow-up, you should read Crunchy Carpets’ post over at Wet Coast Women.

Cross-posted at Wet Coast Women


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