Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Why we're different.

Aside from naming our last letter "Z" rather than "Zed" (rhyming with Ned as in Beatty), other more important differences distinguish us from our neighbours to the north (like using the "ou" where, here, an "o" will do).

Nationalized Health Care will most probably stay up north and not wander down below the 49th parallel. The life expectancy of 80.3 years up north v. our 77.8 years will stay up there as well. Child mortality of 6.4 per 1,000 live births will also stay with us as opposed to the lower 4.6 per thousand up in the cold country.

Value Added Tax (VAT), a national sales tax currently at 5%, is, thankfully, still only used up North. An aside here, the phrase for the combination of the VAT and the provincial tax is Harmonized Sales Tax. You've got to admit that the Canadian legislation has a sense of humour. Harmonized, indeed.

Today, as per Whisky Prajer's entry, British Columbia kicked in the provincial carbon tax. While I have no argument with the science of global warming, I do have one with the legislator/global warming combination. There's a stink to this type of nebulous taxing that reminds me of the argument in New Jersey for casino tax as supporting its senior citizens. The accounting of these benefits is murky, at best. And, if you are as I am, seeing and touching is certainly not believing. The Atlantic City of today does not carry over the verve, prosperity, and enjoyment of my youth. What was magical is now miserable.

So, hopefully the fog of the carbon tax will not become a reality here in the States. When (or should I say "If") the carbon tax issue is made clear, both in purpose and execution, I'll be first in line to hand over the extra money. 'Til then, let's see how it works out North of the Border.

Now, about that national health care thing.... How about we give that a whirl down here? It would be nice to gain those additional 2.5 years of life that the Canadians are enjoying right now.


Ah, but the British Columbia of today is starting to resemble the Southern California of ten years ago -- not just in its overabundance of high-end SUVs chugging up and down the mountains, but in its arid, tree-less landscapes. Premier Campbell is undoubtedly preoccupied with the specter of reforestation. Or, if not that, then the specter of simple highway maintenance. Gotta make that cash-grab somewhere ... might as well be at the gas-pumps, since American tourists are staying home in droves anyway.
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