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Opinion: Dave Dale, Welcome to the ‘State of Flux’

Let’s take it a step further and invest that tax revenue directly into low-income and public housing, filling a void that’s causing part of the problem both socially and economically.
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The seasons don't wait for people to get caught up with reality.

There’s nothing like a pandemic and looming economic calamity to pull people together for the common good.

OK, maybe that’s a bit premature to say when adults are throwing hissy fits and gravel at federal election campaign stops. And it might be delusional to ever expect a measure of commonality, whether regional, national or global. But I’m holding out a sliver of hope. Imagine if politicians and social study experts look back at this time of crisis and say a true sense of togetherness was born out of it – before the next “fixed date” federal election in 2025 would be nice.

Here’s a thought one week out from the closing of polls: I wonder how many people would agree to cancel the election if the Liberals would just replace Justin Trudeau with someone who didn’t have theatrical training?

Election result prediction: It will cost $250 million per net seat change. Mark my words.

Seriously, I’m as frustrated as the next person over the global state of flux, especially how the pandemic has been handled so far. Ineptness and selective honesty have eroded trust. Most of our serious issues right now – vaccine hesitancy/stubborn refusal and financial uncertainty top the list – are directly linked to low confidence in government, elected representatives, and other officials.

Mandates and safety protocols would be easier to implement if people believed we’re truly in it together. Nobody likes being forced to do something but it’s a bit easier if a person can believe it’s the best course of action.

Here’s how I see it so far: Vaccines are never perfect but they are essential in a three-pronged approach to get ahead of the curve on all coronaviruses, not just the one causing COVID-19 but the next ones too (whether brewing in a far off bat cave or lab, it matters not).

This is a necessary scientific exercise. You’re a rat in the experiment whether you get the vaccine or not and the unvaccinated are the control group. By the way, it’s not looking good for them.  

Also true, we could and should have focused more on suitable vaccines and treatments when SARS hit in 2002-04, when pandemic planning sessions kicked into serious gear. It would have cost significantly less for Canada to work on developing cures and vaccines when there wasn’t an emergency underway.

Of course, knowing and acting are two different things.

It’s been understood for quite a while that sugar addiction and chemical-laced and nutritionally devoid processed food causes the majority of our poor health burdens – clogging up the health care system worse than pig fat in arteries.

That’s part of the second prong of the human defence system we should be changing: health conditions. Most of the pandemic casualties – not all – are linked to those who have co-morbidities (obesity and otherwise compromised immune systems, often due to lifestyle diseases).

Maybe that sugar tax idea wasn’t so crazy after all? Revenue from taxes on unhealthy food products could have been poured into hospital infrastructure and nursing pay improvements.

The third prong, of course, is changing long-term care philosophies from cheapest possible warehousing to centres of senior living excellence. These will always be the hot spots of viral spread so we should make that a priority. You can say hindsight is easy but we actually knew this already. It was essentially ignored.

On the financial front, it’s worrisome that our governments haven’t evolved to have more flexible and forward-thinking monetary policies and tax regulations.

All levels of government right now – and most households – are as dependent on low-interest payments as addicts are on opioids.

That’s not going to end well, regardless of which route we take to get off the habit. Our choices are slow and steady weaning off the drug or cold turkey, with all the nastiness and pain detox brings.

I don’t know enough about taxation to be certain, but I think we’re going about it the wrong way.

We should definitely try to wring a bit more out of the ultra-rich. And we can probably grab a slightly bigger chunk out of the “very well off” on certain activities. Closing loopholes and going after tax havens is a start. Is there any political party that doesn’t want to ensure equitable taxation?

I’m not so sure about this talk of taxing the capital gains on primary residence sales. But perhaps we can figure out how to generate revenues on a sliding scale for when red-hot home sale trends create a parallel universe.

Just spit-balling here, but how about taxing the net gain above a certain portion of profit when the sale price is 25 per cent higher than the assessed value? Deduct the renos and improvements invested two years prior, naturally.

That way the equity of the home investment is protected but the windfall excess of bubble activity contributes to the public coffers.

Let’s take it a step further and invest that tax revenue directly into low-income and public housing, filling a void that’s causing part of the problem both socially and economically.

Notice: Just in case you haven't looked at a calendar lately ... If you get the first dose of a vaccine next week, with 21 days needed between shots for Pfizer and 28 days between for Moderna (plus 14 days after the second shot) you will be eligible to attend non-essential gatherings at gyms, restaurants, and events Oct. 22 (when the App thingy kicks into gear). As it stands, you'll miss the Sept. 22 start of needing proof of 2-dose vaccination. I respect those who still don't want to join the majority of community members when it comes to vaccination. The majority, however, doesn't have to wait for you either.

Dave Dale is a veteran journalist and columnist who has covered the North Bay area for more than 30 years. Reader responses related to his work can be sent to editor@baytoday.ca. To contact the writer directly, email: davedale@backinthebay.ca or check out his website www.smalltowntimes.ca