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Privatization in Canada The Canada eZine - Canadian Politics

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------Education, Electricity, Two-Tier Healthcare and Water Safety By Charles Moffat - February 200 ! Two-Tier Education Canada needs "ore teachers, but the #ro$incial %o$ern"ents can&t afford to raise teachers salaries to attract "ore #eo#le to the #rofession 'or i"#ort teachers fro" the (S and o$erseas)! *ue to a co"bination of #o#ulation %rowth, i""i%ration and babyboo"ers retirin% Canada is de$elo#in% an e+tre"e shorta%e of teachers and also uni$ersity #rofessors! The costs of o#eratin% schools in Canada is also %oin% u#, hi%her heatin%,electricity costs and unbalanced bud%ets "eans that schools are ha$in% to "a-e tou%h choices! Ste#hen Har#er of the ultra ri%ht-win% Conser$ati$e #arty thin-s he has an answer howe$er. Build or con$ert e+istin% schools into #ri$ate schools 'or %i$e ta+ credits to #arents who send their -ids to #ri$ate schools)! /uite fran-ly, 0 thin- it would "a-e it worse! There would still be the sa"e nu"ber of teachers, the difference would be that rich students would ha$e 10 students for 1 teacher whereas #oor students in the #ublic syste" would ha$e 20 students #er teacher! Since the turn of the "illeniu" there has been another issue on the table too. 3ri$ati4ed uni$ersities with 5"erican style tuition rates 'in the ran%e of 620,000 to 6 0,000,year)! The idea there a%ain is to actually "a-e uni$ersities #ri$ate and #rofitable, co"#ared to the current standard where students #ay for rou%hly half of the 610,000,year tuition and the %o$ern"ent #ays for the other half! 0n 7ntario for e+a"#le the Conser$ati$e %o$ern"ent wants to #ri$ati4e the Catholic School Syste" 'it was ori%inally #ri$ate #rior to 18 2 and so this would 9ust be a return to that and 0 a" actually in fa$our of this, #ro$ided "y ta+ dollars aren&t #ayin% for it)! That is not such a bi% deal as attendance in Catholic schools has been dro##in% in recent years due to low birth rates! 3ri$ati4in% uni$ersities howe$er is "uch bi%%er #roble", es#ecially if it is an uni$ersity that teaches "edicine 'which could result in a doctor shorta%e)! Fro" "y #ers#ecti$e the statistics of the situation is :uite clear. S"aller class si4es e:uals less hi%h school dro#outs and "ore #eo#le bein% #roducti$e in Canada&s wor-force! So to ha$e a healthy econo"y we need a lot "ore teachers, which in "y "ind "eans we need to do two thin%s. ;1! Chan%e the way we train teachers 'by creatin% "ore #ro%ra"s that allows uni$ersity students to study education concurrently) and ;2 #ay teachers "ore! 3ri$ati4in% schools or fundin% #ri$ate schools with #ublic "oney< 0 thin- not! That will cause "ore #roble"s than anythin% else and ha"strin% the current #ublic school syste"! Electricity Problems By the year 201= Canada&s electrical usa%e is e+#ected to at least double, accordin% to the Canadian >ational Ener%y Board! The reasons why. 1! ?a#id increase in the nu"ber of co"#uters and internet ser$ers runnin% across Canada! 2! Cli"ate chan%e re:uirin% "ore air conditioners and "ore @cli"ate control@ inside buildin%s! 2! 3o#ulation %rowth, i""i%ration and #eo#le li$in% lon%er lifes#ans! A! Hydro%en fuel-cell cars 'which con$erts electricity into hydro%en ener%y, which is "ore #owerful than traditional %asoline) and hydro%en fuel stations all across Canada! 5##ro+i"ately 10 years fro" now Canadians need to either double the nu"ber of nuclear reactors, solar #anels, wind"ills, hydro-electric da"s and e$erythin% else that currently #ro$ide electricity, or we need to start usin% less! 5 third final solution will be to buy "ore e+#ensi$e electricity fro" the (nited States in order to "a-e u# for a shorta%e!

Why then is the Conser$ati$e 3arty of Canada and 3ro%ressi$e Conser$ati$e #arties in $arious #ro$inces thin-in% of sellin% Canada&s #ublicly owned ener%y sector to 5"erican ener%y co"#anies 'na"ely the oil industry)< 0t would be the bi%%est #ri$ati4ation of Canadian #ro#erty in history, and it would be because, :uite fran-ly, our Conser$ati$e #arties see" to be Ban-ee sell-outs! 7ur current #ri"e "inister, belie$es that by sellin% off Canada&s electrical #ower that 5"ericans could do a better 9ob of buildin% new nuclear reactors and #ro$ide Canadians with chea#er electricity! Since when are the oil co"#anies interested in #ro$idin% chea# ener%y< 7il co"#anies try to "a-e as "uch "oney off of shorta%es as they can by 9ac-in% u# the #rices as "uch as #ossible! (nder the current syste" it costs Canadian users =!8 cents #er -Wh, e+ce#t that #roducin% electricity is :uite e+#ensi$e and costs closer to 10 or 11 cents #er -Wh! The %o$ern"ent ends u# #ayin% the other = cents worth, and that "oney co"es fro" ta+es! So technically we #ay for it e$entually, it is 9ust that a chun- of the ta+es co"e fro" wealthy #eo#le in hi%her ta+ brac-ets and fro" cor#orate ta+es! ?ich #eo#le howe$er don&t thin- this is fair! 0f we #ri$ati4ed electricity #eo#le&s electrical bills would double 'or "aybe e$en tri#le or :uadru#le li-e they did when California #ri$ati4ed their electrical syste") and the Conser$ati$e %o$ern"ent in turn could lower ta+es!!! for their rich friends, and at the sa"e ti"e the oil industry would be able to "a-e hu%e su"s of "oney by suc-in% the #o#ulation dry with hi%h electricity #rices! 5lso, there is the "atter of how the oil industry would actually "a-e this electricity! 0 can %uarantee ri%ht now it wouldn&t be nuclear or solar! The chea#est source of electricity is to burn coal! Coal currently "a-es u# a##ro+! 20C of Canada&s electricity "ar-et, but our %o$ern"ents our tryin% to cut bac- because it #ollutes so "uch! Dust i"a%ine bi%, dirty coal-burners that #ollute the at"os#here abo$e bi% dirty 5"erican cities! *o we really want our Canadian cities to start loo-in% li-e that< *irty, s"o%%y and full of #ollution fro" industrial coal burnin% #lants< Toronto for e+a"#le is widely re%arded as the cleanest city in the world! Bes, it still has so"e s"o% fro" cars, but it is nothin% li-e >ew Bor- or E!5!, Houston or Chica%o! Toronto is actually $ery %reen if you fly o$er it in a #lane because there are trees e$erywhere!!! bac-yards, frontyards, in front of office buildin%s, on school #ro#erties, lots of #ar-s! 0t is al"ost an ideal co"binations of nature and city to%ether! Canadians should be #roud of our wilderness! We ha$en&t destroyed it li-e "ost 5"ericans ha$e in order to build factories, suburbs of borin% s:uare houses and hu%e #ar-in% lots beside s#rawlin% Wal"arts! Why should we sell off our electricity to #eo#le who can&t e$en handle their own electrical #roble"s< The (S5 is facin% a shorta%e identical to our own, so "uch so that that they are already buyin% a #ortion of their electricity fro" Canada! Fro" "y #ers#ecti$e it would be e+tre"ely unwise and outri%ht stu#id to allow such a thin% to fall into #ri$ate hands 'it would e$en be a national security threat if #eo#le had #ri$ate ownershi# of nuclear #ower stations)! There are ways to deal with our electricity shorta%e howe$er, and we can ta-e a cue fro" California! ?i%ht now, than-s to Fo$ernor 5rnold Schwar4ene%%er, California is buildin% fields of wind"ills and solar #anels in the desert so that they will be self-sufficient and coal-free! Why can&t we do the sa"e thin% in Canada< Fi$e #eo#le 9obs buildin% and "aintainin% wind "ills,solar #anels and build the" all o$er northern 7ntario, northern /uebec and #laces where there is little arable land! 0f California and e$entually 5"erica can do it, why can&t Canada<

0 should also note that Da#an is also %oin% the sa"e route and is "ass #roducin% solar #anels, "a-in% the" a lot chea#er! Two-Tier Canadian Healthcare 5"erican insurance co"#anies and #har"aceutical co"#anies are foa"in% at the "outh at the thou%ht of finally brea-in% into the Canadian "ar-et and bil-in% Canadians for e+#ensi$e sur%eries, hi%h-cost "edications and insurance #re"iu"s! 0n the (nited States, it is a "ulti-trillion-dollar business, which 5"ericans #ay for and if they don&t, they suffer the "edical,financial conse:uences! 0n Canada healthcare is free and often ta-en for %ranted! The only #roble" with a free healthcare syste" is that there is often doctor shorta%es and waitin% lists for the "ore difficult sur%eries 'ie! hi# re#lace"ent or tri#le by#ass heart sur%ery)! So"e #eo#le die before they %et to the sur%ery! The #roble"s $ary fro" #ro$ince to #ro$ince! Waitin% lists in so"e #ro$inces are dra"atically shorter or lon%er de#endin% on doctor a$ailability! The solutions are e+#ensi$e but it will ta-e ti"e to i"#le"ent! 5fter G years of Mi-e Harris cuttin% fundin% to uni$ersities we need "ore fundin% for uni$ersities, and "ore fundin% s#ecifically ai"ed at trainin% fa"ily doctors! This "ay re:uire the %o$ern"ent to raise ta+es o$er the short ter" if the %o$ern"ent coffers aren&t full enou%h to co$er the costs of trainin% "ore doctors! 5nother thin% that is currently bein% done is re-trainin% i""i%rant doctors so they can wor- in Canada! Far too "any doctors in Canada see" to be dri$in% ta+is! The Conser$ati$e #lan in contrast is not to train "ore doctors, but to allow "ore #ri$ate clinics! We already ha$e #ri$ate health clinics in Canada where you can by#ass wait lists '#ro$ided you ha$e the "oney)! 0f anythin% the waitin% list shorta%es is actually dri$in% the #eo#le towards #ri$ate clinics because they are des#erate to %et rid of whate$er ail"ent they ha$e! The Conser$ati$e #lan is basically a @do nothin%@ a##roach to healthcare! They don&t raise doctor salaries 's#ecialists %et #aid al"ost twice as "uch as fa"ily doctors) and they don&t bother to increase enrol"ent in "edical #ro%ra"s that train new doctors! 0 should #oint out howe$er that e$en #ri$ate clinics ha$e wait ti"es, but they are si%nificantly shorter! The "ore you #ay and you can wait e$en less ti"e! 0 do ha$e a low cost solution that could hel# Canada train "ore doctors! 0 thin- we should ha$e basic #ara"edic trainin% in hi%hschools and "a-e it "andatory for all students to ta-e the class for one se"ester! 0"a%ine for a "o"ent whole %enerations of students lea$in% hi%h school, all e:ui##ed with basica #ara"edic trainin%! 0f so"eone has a heart attac-, an accident, nearly drowns, etc! HoilaI Eoo- to your local hi%h school %raduate and you ha$e so"eone who can hel#! The #ro%ra" would also ins#ire "ore students to consider "edicine as a career! Currently students in hi%hschools ha$e one o#tion. Study biolo%y! 0t isn&t e$en s#ecific to hu"an biolo%y, but biolo%y of all #lants and ani"als! 0t certainly isn&t ins#irin% students to beco"e doctors 'or scientists interested in "edicine) $ery "uch! Thin- about it! More #ara"edics and "ore doctors! 0sn&t that what Canada needs< Water Safety Concerns and Ecoli Bac- in the S#rin% of 2000 a##ro+i"ately 2000 #eo#le in the town of Wal-erton and the surroundin% area dranEcoli tainted water and %ot se$erely sic-! 21 #eo#le died fro" Ecoli and Ecoli related health #roble"s! Thousands of the #eo#le ha$e #er"anent health #roble"s as a result! But why did it ha##en< Here is the abbre$iated story! Bears earlier #re"ier Mi-e Harris decided to down%rade water safety fro" a #ro$incial res#onsibility to a "unici#al one! 7ntario&s sewer syste"s were in need of re#airs and there was wides#read #roble"s with both Ecoli, lea-y syste"s, rust and a host of other #roble"s! Mi-e Harris and his %o$ern"ent didn&t want to #ay for the

#roble" so instead they #ri$ati4ed the syste" and told the "unici#alities to co"e u# with the "oney to #ay the #ri$ately owned water testers! The town of Wal-erton, short on cash, decided to test the water the"sel$es and sent sa"#les once e$ery few wee-s to a lab! Two brothers, Stan J Fran- Koebel, were "ere hi%h school %raduates who had ne$er went to colle%e and for years had been in char%e of the town&s water! Their testin% #rocedures were flawed and the situation was doo"ed for disaster! 0t was, :uite literally, an accident waitin% to ha##en and it did! 0t was front #a%e news for "onths! Ecoli has since beco"e a household word, and is now used in ad$ertise"ents for bottled water! For awhile #eo#le in Canada and e$en the (S5 were #anic-in% about the :uality of their own water and insistin% on #ublic i"#ro$e"ents to water safety! That is o$er now! But should we sto# worryin% about water safety< >o, definitely not! This to "e is a #ri"e e+a"#le of what ha##ens when %o$ern"ents #ri$ati4e #ro%ra"s and cut corners 9ust to sa$e so"e "oney! 0t is inherently dan%erous to let #ri$ate co"#anies be in char%e of #ublic safety! 0"a%ine for a "o"ent another #roble" re%ardin% 7ntario&s %reat la-es! Canada&s Conser$ati$e %o$ern"ent is thin-in% of sellin% water ri%hts to the (nited States! 5##arently with all the %lobal war"in% %oin% on 5"ericans are %ettin% $ery thirsty and there is a lot of "oney to be "ade by si"#ly bottlin% water and sendin% it south of the border! But is there any dan%er in sellin% our water to the (S5< 0 %uess it would de#end on where they were buildin% bottlin% #lants and if they were du"#in% anythin% in the water, li-e to+ic lefto$ers fro" the #rocess of turnin% oil into #lastic bottles 'we tend to for%et that "a-in% #lastic has to+ic waste lefto$er)! What if the issue of Canada&s sewers ca"e u# a%ain years fro" now< Will they try to #ri$ati4e it and sell it off< ---------------------------------------------------------------------------*** Note: the author of this piece has strong opinions about Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party. Try to ignore this and instead focus on the information provided on the issues surrounding privatization.

Group Activities: Get into you own groups (see below) and choose the topic that you want to explore (only 2 groups per topic 1st choice). Once you have chosen your topic, read your portion of the article and answer the 2 uestions found below. !elect a spo"esperson fro# your group to share your views with the class. $wo%$ier &ducation 2 groups of ' &lectricity (roble#s 2 groups of ) *ealthcare 2 groups of ) +ater !afety 2 groups of ' 1. ,riefly su##ari-e your assigned portion of the article. .dentify the issue and explain any potential benefits or disadvantages. 2. /oes your group believe that privati-ation would be beneficial or not0 &xplain why0

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