Does Donald Trump really have enough money to pay for even one Canadian city’s school repair backlog?

Aug 23rd, 2016 | By | Category: In Brief

It may be that I’m just getting too old  …

But my patience with so much of the political rhetoric that has engulfed us since the middle of the 1970s – and contributed to so many of our continuing key current “complex problems of society” – has grown razor thin.

I woke up this morning to two main news reports that, put together, can only make any sane and reasonable person yearn to explode into some other more rational plane of being …

The first was from what the TV station did have the good manners to identify as the “right-wing” Fraser Institute. It proclaimed that the average Canadian family is now paying more in taxes (including various “hidden” taxes) than they spend on housing, food, and clothing.

The second was from our local school board. It explained that “School repair backlog hits $3.4B [yes Virginia that B is for Billion] … But student safety not compromised, board insists.” The reporter on TV showed several examples of the bad repair in many local schools. I was personally appalled.

When I was younger the tax-supported schools I went to were always well maintained and in good repair. They were examples of how we future citizens of the free and democratic society should look after ourselves.

Over the past four decades now organizations like the Fraser Institute have preached their anti-taxation/anti-government gospel all too well.

A host of public infrastructure – schools, roads, transit, bridges, and on and on – has deteriorated before our eyes.  And our society has grown more and more unequal …

It is also true that another TV clip from this morning showed Canada’s new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Kathleen Wynne in Barrie, Ontario – “at the city’s transit garage to announce $3B to improve public transit across the province.”

And it does seem that the successor to Jack Layton’s New Democratic Party finally lost last year’s Canadian federal election partly because it took the Too Many Taxes message too seriously.

But I’m still hearing reports about the Fraser Institute’s latest shrill anti-government rhetoric, that serves the interests of the people who fund it and virtually no one else.

It was refreshing to be in Helsinki, Finland briefly earlier this year. According to the recordings on the tour buses, people there appreciate that if you want civilized public services – to ensure your health, education, private sector job training, transportation and piped service needs, public libraries, parks and swimming pools, peace of mind in retirement, etc, etc, etc – you have to be willing to pay the kinds of taxes that support them.

How much more refreshing it would be to hear something like that when I turn the TV on in the morning …

here in “the Great Lakes region of North America” (with apologies to the late great George Grant, who tried to explain    Technology and Empire )

… in the long hot summer of 2016 …

… in the latest year of living dangerously, in the shadow of Donald Trump

who may or may not really have enough money to meet the current school repair backlog in Toronto … on the northwest shore of Lake Ontario up here.

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