Tag Archives: Canada

Canada’s Medicare: Shattering the ‘Unsustainability’ Myth

Posted on by 0 comment

This report by Canadian Doctors for Medicare is a must read for those who are interested in health or who pay taxes.

In other words, if you’re a Canadian citizen.

The key quote and takeaway (bold, italics mine):

While the cost of Medicare has not grown as a percent of GDP over the last 35 years, there have
been significant increases in total health care system costs over the same period, and those
increases have accelerated in the last decade. Overall health spending in Canada has risen from
about 7% of GDP in 1975 to about 10.7% in 2008. In 2010, health care spending was estimated

to be about 12% of GDP.

If Medicare costs are stable, and public sector costs are rising slowly, why are total health care
costs increasing rapidly? The real cost driver is precisely the thing that critics of Medicare tout as
the solution: private health care.

Currently 30% of all health spending is in the private sector, up from 24% in 1975.  That growth
is a result of significant increases in costs in the private health care sector, including out‐of‐pocket
spending and the costs of private insurance. Pharmaceuticals and private prescription drug
insurance are the most significant driver of these costs
, followed by dental care and private
dental insurance.

The overall cost of care has been driven most significantly by the rising cost of pharmaceuticals. In
fact, the rising share of privately financed health care would be much more modest were it not
for the impact of pharmaceutical costs. Canada’s drug costs are higher than the per capita costs
of all Organisation for Economic Co‐operation and Development (OECD) countries with the
exception of the United States and Switzerland, and 30% higher than the OECD average.  Drug
costs overall rose from $4 billion in 1985 to an estimated $26.5 billion in 2007.  During that time, Canadian drug prices rose an average of 9.2%, far faster than in any other OECD country.

In other words, we’re getting hosed, folks. Mega-pharma companies are using Canada’s health care system to line their pockets and it has to stop.

Must See: CBC “You Should Have Stayed At Home”

Posted on by 0 comment

On most occasions, it’s hard for me to take sides with the CBC – what with the constant injections of pop-polls from loaded organizations like the QMI Agency and interviews with hacks from the Globe or elsewhere – but on Friday night, they nailed it.

Their Fifth Estate show ‘You Should Have Stayed At Home‘ showcases the brutality and stupidity of Canada’s security and police state and demonstrates that Canada – yes, Canada – is not alone in the battle to win democracy for its citizens.

Yes, it is that basic.

We have lost the right to assembly and innocent people are being held in jail to this day simply because they exposed the billions of waste that went into the G20 summit.

And this is under a Conservative minority.  I shudder to think of what life would be like with a majority.

It took Egyptians 3 decades and Libyans more than 4 decades to get rid of their dictator.

How long before we get rid of ours?

CCPA: Flaherty’s Irish is Showing

Posted on by 0 comment

As we prepare for the next federal budget (supported by the Conservative-NDP coalition of convenience), we see again that Jim Flaherty’s Irish will likely show through.

This is a bad thing.  Bruce Campbell of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives tells a cautionary tale about Irelend.

Ireland is bankrupt.

The Irish Prime Minister has been forced to resign.

Their economy is in ruin.

All because people bought the line that they had to make Ireland’s tax policy as attractive as possible.

Translate:  they sold the ‘cut corporate taxes’ routine and the people of Ireland were stupid enough to buy into it.

Now, unemployment is skyrocketing, the IMF (translate:  world corporations) owns Ireland and the Irish are screwed.

Canada is embarking on the same path.

Stop Corporate Tax Cuts NOW.  End Corporate Welfare.

The TMX Takeover and Alternative Business Models

Posted on by 0 comment

Canada has a basic financial industry that has become very complicated over the last few decades (possibly centuries), largely because of our messed up Constitution.

Because we’ve always tolerated provincial jurisdiction over financial regulation, we’ve never been able to develop a robust financial market compared to similar-sized economies.

The impact of this is that we’ve always been reliant on external providers of capital to fund our economic activities.

Recently, things started to change as demands for a consolidated national regulator have emerged.  The world’s top companies probably woke up to the fact that companies like Potash would be buying them instead of the other way around if we were able to streamline our regulatory environment.  This explains the array of takeovers in recent years.

The London Exchange bid for the Toronto Market Exchange (TMX) Group is just another jump in this direction.

Of course, in the most bizarre state of irony, Canada’s west – represented largely at the federal level by Conservatives – are getting socialism and Canada’s central provinces – dominated by Liberals and the Bloc – are getting fierce capitalism.  I say this because in order to protect votes in the west, the Conservatives are protecting key assets from non-US foreign interests (Potash, the Tar Sands) and letting Ontario go to ‘hell in a hand basket’ by insisting on transaction such as those involving the TMX, Domtar, Dafasco, etc.  All of these actions carve out the base of Ontario’s manufacturing and financial infrastructure, ultimately penalizing those who don’t support the Conservatives.

Socialism for us, capitalism for the rest of you, indeed.

Sorry … that’s a big side-bar discussion that should take place elsewhere.

Getting back to the real story:  I believe that the takeover of the TMX will occur and Canada will lose all of its financial security and industry because people in Toronto simply don’t vote for Conservatives.  This will be a political rather than economic decision and Canada’s blue-blood Bay Street business base will lose as a result.

What’s the good news?  Inevitably, people that want money will demand alternatives.

The even better news?  There are lots of alternatives available.

In any basic market economy, the following are ways that you can organize a business or organization:

  1. Sole proprietorship
  2. Partnership
  3. Incorporation – privately held
  4. Incorporation – publicly traded (ie. on an exchange)
  5. Registered Not-for-profit
  6. Registered Charity
  7. Co-operative Business / Organization

I believe that the vacuum that will be left by the TMX will push demand for nearly every form of organization listed above with the exception of ‘Incorporation – Publicly Traded’.  For many, this may be a bad thing because it means those with big dollars will continue to invest in good ideas and people, but those with relatively few dollars – ie. your basic RRSP holdings – will have nothing to buy in the early stages of growth.

This can be seen as a failure of our capitalist system to encourage efficient use of ALL savings – not just those of the elite – when it comes to investment opportunities.

Arguably, our system has failed most people because we’ve been living that way for some time.  ‘Angel’ and institutional investors absorb a lot of risk with new ventures, but they also reap most of the returns.  Crumbs get thrown to the general public.

What we need to do is figure out the best ways to promote and foster local growth in Canada.  The only way to do that is to look into things like co-ops, non-profits and other organizations like Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs).  All of these will materialize more readily if we make it easy to push our personal savings into these organizations.

Here are a couple of ways to do this:

  1. Expand the definition of qualifying companies that one can put in their RRSPs.  Investing the market has become a bit of a joke, as we all know the last ones who actually profit from any activity these days are shareholders.  The world has become so packed with insiders manipulating stock prices that Ponzi schemes and gambling are starting to look more attractive.  Adding co-ops, small businesses and other organizations to the list of eligible securities is a great way to make investments AND shelter return on capital.
  2. Make contributions to or support of CSAs tax deductible.  We make music classes and gym attendance tax deductible.  Why not put real, organic, natural and local food on the table with a tax deduction as well?
  3. Expand the deductions that people can make when contributing to qualifying not-for-profits.  NFPs contribute just as much – if not more – to our economy than many of the ‘big business’ magnates pulling for tax rebates and public-paid bonuses.  We need to improve on ways to accelerate getting our funds from our savings into their hands.
  4. No penalty for small business deductions from RRSPs.  If I manage my own small business and I’m fortunate enough to have an RRSP, I should be able to finance my company via RRSP deductions without penalty.  We’ve done this in the past with home ownership loans and we should do it for small businesses.

These are just a few basic ideas, but you get the idea.  Once we start to function without a capital exchange, we’ll come to realize that there are extremely economically viable options out there.

Canada’s Financial Industry For Sale

Posted on by 1 comment

Apparently, Canada is up for sale.

The Toronto Stock Exchange, our biggest (and arguably, only) exchange is up for sale and the folks in London, UK look to be the most likely suitors.

This is out of control.  Venture capital and other fund raising efforts in Canada will face a painful death as decision making gets transferred over to the Brits.

This isn’t protectionism.  It’s just common sense.  Handing over control will result in people in two offices saying which project should we finance.  The answer:  we finance it in the place where people own the exchange.  That would be London, based on the terms released to date.

This country is going to garbage under the rule of the Cons.

What’s next?

Category: Canada, economics | Tags: , , ,