Oil profits and health care: Letters to the editor for July 14

High fuel prices are the result of high commodity prices, not the fuel taxes, Don Kossick and Tim Quigley write.

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Oil profits

World prices for Saskatchewan’s commodities (oil, natural gas, potash, uranium) are at record levels. The profits for Canadian oil and gas companies were more than $8 billion in the first quarter of 2022 alone. Yet the Moe government refuses to capture some of those super profits for Saskatchewan residents.

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We own those resources and should be receiving the bulk of those windfall profits. The extra revenue could then be used to cushion citizens from inflation. The alternative — temporarily suspending fuel taxes — makes little sense since that would simply reduce government revenue.

High fuel prices are the result of high commodity prices, not the fuel taxes. Italy and the UK have already implemented windfall profit taxes and the U.S. is considering doing so.

Meanwhile, Saskatchewan schools are forced to dip into reserves and add fees for lunch time supervision. Instead of letting the extraction industries make record-breaking profits for their shareholders, we should be requiring much higher royalties and taxes so that we, the owners of those resources, gain the benefit. Instead of paying for lunch time supervision, parents should expect that their children will receive nutritious breakfasts and lunches and more teachers and support staff should be hired to ensure that all children receive a quality education.

Draining profits away to transnational corporations does nothing for us; investing super profits in Saskatchewan is far and away the better alternative.

Don Kossick and Tim Quigley
Saskatoon, Members of Canadians for Tax Fairness

The provincial and territorial leaders met in beautiful Victoria, B.C. to format an appeal for increased federal money for health care.

We are an aging society whose seniors are often hard-pressed to find a family doctor and geriatric care. We have a high demand for rehab services for younger people with injuries and chronic conditions. At the same time hospitals are understaffed and services are rationed. Mind you, those were the good old days, pre-COVID, when 40 per cent of provincial budgets went to health care, reflecting high investment hand in hand with comparatively poor outcomes.

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Predictably, our provincial leaders are asking the federal level to write a prescription for a daily dose of more dollars, to be taken in perpetuity.

If you visit a theatre museum from, say, 60 years ago, you will notice that the old wooden seats are impossibly narrow, hardly able to accommodate the average 2022 butt, while a walk outside will show that most seem to be above average size. It is lifestyle diseases, rooted in fast food diets steeped in salt, sugar and fat, coupled with a glued to the computer or games screen posture, that bring inordinate pressure on health care. It is a vast food industry capitalizing on convenience, using clever marketing that could sell chocolate coated dog-poo, that form the food habits of each new generation.

It is not that we have an under-investment in health care; we have an over-demand originating from our exceedingly unhealthy lifestyle choices.

Gordon Wensley

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