Conversations during an election

I don’t know who to vote for the woman behind the counter says. This Harper is not so good but these other guys…We can’t even take care of the people here. She gestures around her Downtown Eastside restaurant. How can we bring in so many refugees when it is like this here?

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this in the past few weeks. People might hate Harper but they are also leery of sharing what for them is a pretty meager portion of the pie. People who have moved from reserves with unclean water, people on waiting lists for housing or healthcare.

I think there’s enough money for both, I say.

But where? She says. Where is this money?


Where is the money All day I have been thinking about this. And here is what I’ve come up with:

Hospice care to let people die a more dignified and affordable death at an average savings of $8-10,000 per patient.

A national pharmaceutical plan which would have an estimated savings of between 4 to 11 billion dollars per year.

A national housing plan to help alleviate the costs of homelessness (about 7 billion dollars annually) not to mention the economic and emotional costs poor housing has on  health, families, addictions and mental health.

Decriminalizing addiction which has lead to lower addiction rates and other positive results in other countries in addition to  reducing enforcement costs. Marijuana laws alone cost 1.2 billion annually.

Early childcare education and intervention which has a return of $1.50 to $3.00 in savings for each dollar invested with an even higher return for disadvantaged kids.

Recognizing the economic impact of climate change and that not cutting carbon emissions is so much more costly in the long run.

So there is some of the money. I think there’s probably lots more. Education, senior care, preventative health care.   Maybe the next time I come in for my house special fried rice we can talk some more about this.

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