"How would you like to receive each year, a bill for 430 millions of dollars?
Well, you and your fellow-Canadians are going to get just such a bill each year as soon as all ten provinces sign up under the national hospital insurance plan. This information comes to us from a despatch appearing in La Presse of Montreal, January 2, - 1959, from Ottawa, under the by-line of Harold Morrison.
At the present time seven provinces are participating in the program. New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Quebec have not as yet entered, but the first two will do so before the end of 1959. Quebec's intentions are not as yet clear. So as the present program stands, some 10,700,000 Canadians have been brought under the hospital insurance regime at a yearly cost of 320 million dollars.
The federal government has promised to pay half of this. But, according to the report in La Presse, government leaders are already scratching their heads and wondering where on earth they are going to raise this kind of money — approximately 160 million each year. The treasury is in bad shape due to a drop in revenues and an increase in expenditures. So, as the report puts it, everything seems to indicate an increase in taxes — income taxes, corporation taxes, and taxes on commercial products.
It doesn't take a Bachelor of Commerce to figure out who is going to supply the government with all these dollars. About the only kind of a tax that can't be passed on to someone else is the income tax. Corporation taxes, taxes on commercial products can be passed on to the consumer. So in the final analysis, we, the Canadian people, as individuals will pay this 160 million dollars to the federal government. What about the other half?
It is hard to imagine it coming in the form of charitable donations from wealthy philanthropists. Certainly no group of bankers or business tycoons is going to come forward to say: "Here, we are wealthy men, we won't miss a few tens of thousands of dollars each. The Canadian people have done their part. We'll do the rest."
No, my friends, regardless of what plans might be devised to make up the other 160 million, we, the people, are going to have to furnish that as well. And when all the provinces are participating in this health insurance, we shall be paying a fine, fat bill of $430,000,000. a year!
Supposing we each had to dig down into our pockets and pay out the cash for this bill. It would come to approximately $24 a year for every man, woman and child in the Dominion. If you were a father, supporting a family of five, that would make $120 a year. And that is no mean sum for an average family.
It is not likely that the government will proceed in exactly this manner. But the fact remains that Canadians, somehow or other are going to pay 430 million dollars each year through taxes and whatever means the government decides to institute in order to make up the half it does not contribute directly.
"The experts underline that the costs of accrued social benefits will have to be paid either by this generation or by future generaitions. As the hospitalization plan is broadened, the federal burden will become heavier." So writes La Presse.
If the present generation does not pay, the government will have to borrow the money from the bankers. This will mean interest rates. And so the burden left to our children will be increased by hundreds of thousands dollars, yearly, in addition to the 430 million. It's a bright future, is it not?
But how otherwise is everyone going to be guaranteed the medical care he may need and quite possibly cannot afford under his own resources? If we do not force everyone to dig down into their pockets and come up with a contribution, it will be impossible to ensure health treatment for everyone.
At least, so it seems, under the existing financial system. But then, is this the only, the best of all possible financial systems?
We, of the Social Credit movement, have been trying for years to hammer home to the people and their leaders, the fact that there is a system which would make it possible for society to make progress without having to go deeper and deeper into debt as it made this progress. We are speaking of the Social Credit financial system, the system, the economic philosophy authored by Major Douglas.
Under the Social Credit system, the tax is replaced by the dividend. The dividend is the citizen's share in the common capital. This common, social capital (social credit, or, society's credit) is the result of two factors: first, the heritage of generations of progress, a heritage which belongs to no one man or no one group, but to all men; the second factor is the wealth of the country which is the product of the country's resources, which belong to Canadians, and of the labor of Canadian citizens — all men and all women, working directly or indirectly to build up the wealth of the country.
So, as that wealth, the true wealth of which dollars and cents are only the symbols, or reflections, grows, so too does the dividend. This dividend makes it possible for every citizen to have at least the necessities of life. And the general community is not called upon to foot enormous yearly bills in order that each citizen should have what he needs. That bill has already been paid, through the common heritage of culture and science, the deposit of progress which is every man's, and likewise paid through the actual labor of all Canadians, toiling to increase the wealth of the country.
Let's study the matter a little more in detail. The hospitals and medical personnel which go to make up the medical services which Canadians need, are products of the work of Canadian people.
Every bit of cement, every ounce of iron and steel, every foot of wood that went into the construction of our hospitals, great and small, come from the natural resources which are the property of Canadians. The work that made these materials ready for use was done by Canadians, individuals like yourself and myself. The architects, contractors, bricklayers, iron workers, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, etc., who put these materials together into a hospital were Canadian people, you, or I, or our nextdoor neighbors. They were not top-hatted financiers, doffing their coats and rolling up their sleeves, and going to work. Not at all. And finally, the doctors and nurses who so admirably care for our ailments, are they not Canadian men and women, who through long years of study at their own expense, have become what they are today?
So we can say without any fear of contradiction that these hospitals could never have been built but for the materials and the Canadian men and women of whom we spoke above. No banker or financier, as such, so much as lifted a finger in the completion of these projects. So these hospitals can rightly be said to be the property of Canadians.
In 1957, the total value of hospitals in Canada was estimated to be in the neighborhood of $1,500,000,000. By the end of 1959, this is expected to be increased through new projects, completed or well under way, by some 450 million dollars.
We do not know what the value in dollars and cents is of the people in the medical profession. But the worth of education and experience, plus the zeal and devotion that must go with these, would make the figure considerably in excess of the figure quoted above.
So we can say that Canadian men and women, with Canadian resources, have added to the total wealth of Canada by a cash value well in excess of one and a half billion dollars. And who are the proprietors of this vast wealth? Canadian men and women, since it was they who produced it. Then why, in the name of logic, should Canadian men and women be penalized an additional 430 million dollars a year for partaking of this wealth which they have created?
Under a Social Credit regime, this wealth, produced by Canadians in the field of medicine, would be part of Canadian society's credit, and the value of the dividends issued to Canadians would be increased in proportion to this additional wealth.
What would be the result? Canadians, all Canadians, would be able to pay for medical attention when they needed it. If they wanted insurance, they could buy it from private insurance companies according to their desires. Social Credit is not against insurance of any sort providing it is not obligatory or run by the government. There would be no robbing of those who have, in order to provide for those who have not. There would be no regimentation of the people in order to operate a vast and complicated hospital insurance plan — an obligatory plan. There would be no increase in bureaucracy by the addition of the thousands of officials and clerks necessary to regiment 17 million people and compile dossiers on them.
Instead of being dragooned, the individual would be left free to care for himself and his family in the dignity that is so essential to the fullness of the human being.
And instead of being presented each year with a staggering bill for 430 million dollars, he would find himself sharing in this wealth symbolized by the figure of 2 billion dollars — medical wealth which he and other Canadians through their industry and their talent and their use of Canadian resources, have produced.
NEW ZEALAND CALLING — The following letter dated December 11, 1958, came to us from Wellington, New Zealand.
Very many thanks for the journals Vers Demain and The Union of Electors, which have regularly come to hand as promised in your letter of 25th of January. We are slowly progressing towards effective non-party Social Credit political action, and the details of your activities given in these two papers are proving of the greatest possible assistance. It has been difficult to remit our subcriptions for the two papers. Permission has to be obtained from the Central Bank, which does not regard Social Credit literature as an essential import. Fortunately we have been able to overcome this difficulty and please find enclosed our remittance for thirty dollars, with our apologies for its late arrival. If you are able to forward to us a copy of SalVation Island it should be appreciated and meanwhile please accept our best wishes for your continuing success.