Indulge! Enjoy! Consume! Those are the key pillars of Canadian culture. It’s a good life, but it’s a costly life.
It costs not only our environment but also our very health. The gravest health issues facing most Canadians are directly related to our overindulgence.
Obesity rates are skyrocketing and this directly leads to increased diabetes and heart problems.
Smoking often causes emphysema and lung cancer.
Alcohol and drug use are related to domestic abuse, violent crime, automobile accidents, unwanted pregnancies, HIV, other sexually transmitted diseases and fetal damage.
Stress causes heart disease, hypertension, depression and affects our immune system.
The rise in cancer, even among the very young, can’t be explained away without thinking about our diet of processed foods and sugared pops; the toxic chemicals drifting out of everything from toys to sofas or the polluted air we breathe.
Simply put: we eat too much, smoke and do drugs too much, drink too much, work too much or laze around too much and sleep around with too many people.
Yet many of us complain about the wasteful use of tax dollars without considering that the single largest budget item for governments is health care costs.
We don’t want to accept that our rights to freedom costs society a whack of tax dollars.
The simple act of getting a free flu shot would have saved the province millions of dollars. Instead the choice of 79 per cent of the population and 50 per cent of health care workers not to get a flu shot has overtaxed our hospitals with HINI flu victims and has resulted in the cancellation of many elective surgeries.
A small example but a powerful example. For every individual’s lifestyle choices, whether it’s eating a consistent diet of junk food, stressing ourselves out to gain riches, choosing a high-risk lifestyle or drinking and driving, the fact remains each one of those decisions have a negative impact on our health or the health of others.
We’d be well advised this new year to consider there are many changes we can make as individuals to our own lifestyle that would significantly improve our health and collectively reduce the number one call on tax dollars – health care!
Or we accept higher taxes as the ultimate consequence of our personal choice to continue what many believe is our right to an unimpeded life of self-indulgence, consumption and personal enjoyment.
Pretending income taxes are mutually exclusive from our chosen lifestyle is good for politicians to get re-elected and sustain their gold-plated pensions, but it’s a lie. Taxes cannot be separated from lifestyle choices, they go hand in hand.