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Hemorrhaging money from both ends

Last night GC and I went to Loblaws and gathered a bunch of ingredients for a Cob Salad. Then we unshopped, putting all those ingredients back where we found them, and drove over to Farm Boy instead, because we love Farm Boy. (Sometimes when we can’t think of anything to do, one of us will suggest that we go hang out at Farm Boy, and we both brighten up. It’s the friendliest grocery store in town.)

But actually, this post isn’t so much about Farm Boy as it is about the conversation we had on the way home from Farm Boy.

We were talking about the health care system and how the aging population might bring it to its knees if we don’t fix it first (obviously not “we” as in GC and me, but “we” as in Canada).

As we all know, people tend to use substantially more health care resources towards the end of their lives, when they’re old and/or sick. If a huge chunk of the population gets old at the same time, it’s going to overburden the health care system.

The topic wandered around to whether one political party would be more inclined to fix it than another. I said I didn’t think so, because it’s largely a function of demographics, and none of the political parties can do anything about the fact that the boomers are getting old.

But then it hit me that maybe the Conservatives are the least likely to fix it, because they’re working against the shifting demographic reality instead of with it.

The reality is that with an aging population, you have increased expenses on the health care front. But the same demographic reality also means a falling crime rate, since crime is most prevalent among young men.

A smart government would use the savings from the falling crime rate to help offset the increasing health care costs.

The Conservatives are doing the opposite: Despite falling crime rates, they’re pushing through their so-called Law and Order agenda, which will force us to spend significantly more money on cops, courts and corrections. Mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses – just one element of the Law and Order agenda – will necessitate the expansion of our prison system to accommodate the sudden influx of new prisoners, most of whom have committed victimless crimes.

Instead of reaping some economic benefit from one end of the demographic reality to apply to the other end, we’re going to be hemorrhaging money from both ends as a consequence of Conservative ideology.

23 comments to Hemorrhaging money from both ends

  • I wish people who support this would look at how many VIOLENT CRIMES do not currently have any mandatory minimum sentence.

    Get our current system in order and give it teeth before tackling victimless crime. The laws are already in place to deal with the side of the drug trade that is truly criminal.

  • grace

    Don’t even get me started on this manufactured crime rate. Don’t even GET me started.

    Zoom, don’t ever go to the Farm Boy on Montreal Road. Your love affair won’t last. Oh, and because it’s in a neighbourhood rife with crime, see above, you may not take the cart to your car. Real handy.

  • Whoa, that came out from behind! Hear hear, sister!

    – RG>

  • I really like your thinking.

  • reb

    I see Grace beat me to the warning about Farm Boy on Montreal road.

    I live near it and only went in it a few times because it was not worth the effort to send someone in ot have them find the person that can open the gate for my mobility devise then have to wait again to have this person found when I wanted to leave.

    I prefer Loblaws especially the one my daughter works at or a place I have not been able to get a ride to lately.

  • I’ve known for years that those guys torque up unwarranted hysteria on “law ‘n order” issues. What I don’t get is how they persuade normal people to accept their steaming pile of, ummm, fibs, that fly in the face of all known facts. Nuts

  • Agreed, Mudmama. If they want to push mm’s, they should start with violent crimes. Personally, I believe the circumstances of any case should be taken into consideration when determining the sentence. That’s what judges are for. You can’t replace judges with a table of crimes and punishments.

    Grace, I’ve never been in that one – and now I never will! I love the Farm Boy on Merivale Road.

    Grouchy, sometimes they just sneak up on me like that.

    Finola, thank you. :)

    Reb, what do they say when you complain about their accessibility problems?

    Coyote, that’s the thing. I have no idea why so many people are so susceptible to lies and fears that are conjured up to manipulate them. But it’s not just the politicians lying to them – it’s the whole culture. If you watch TV (eg all the law and order shows), it only reinforces those fears and lies.

  • reb

    It has been a while but they babbled something about having to lock their shopping carts in. As I had to send someone in to go find whoever could unlock the gate I only did it a few times before concluding my money was not welcome there.

    As I have a limited amount of funds and it is difficult enough for me to shop I rather go play at Mid East and the Fresh Produce place next door where I feel more welcome and my money buys more.

  • grace

    Reb that is exactly the argument I got from the guy I shamed into helping me carry stuff to the car. My husband has mobility issues and was waiting in the car because he is limited in the amount of distance he can walk since a recent accident. He loves grocery shopping and this store is close to his work . . . it’s out of the question that he’ll shop there now. And I was so TICKED at the ‘oh well in this neighbourhood’ argument that I told the employee that I’d never be back. They’ve barred a lot of potential customers: those with limited mobility, with limited strength, anyone shopping for more than a meal or two, anyone with small children, hell anybody with common sense.

    My people are a bitter people.

  • XUP

    “Getting tough on crime”, like “war on drugs” are excellent action phrases that politicians like to use because it makes them look like they’re really accomplishing something. The reality is that none of them care about life 20 years from now; they are only interested in what will make voters think they are awesome and re-elect them. And, unfortunately voters are easily sucked in by fancy words. Do you want to get killed in your bed? No? Then vote Conservative — we’re getting tough on crime.

  • Linda Anne

    Hi – I am also a fan of Farm Boy – lots of fresh produce and great ready made meals. However, my husband and I recently paid a visit to T & T, the new Chinese supermarket,located Hunt Club and Prince of Wales. They have an excellent product department, as well as a great meat department. My pilates instructor, who is Chinese,says that the seafood section is the best in the City, but since I don’t eat seafood I’ll have to take her word on that. Our overall opinion of the store was that of cleanliness and freshness and a great selection of products not usually seen in a regular grocery store – check out the selection of hot sauces!

    Cheers – Linda Anne

  • The amount of money they want to spend on their anti-crime bills — including any new prisons, which we need to replace the dungeons we currently have — is literally a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of money this country will need to cover the maintenance bill on baby boomers’ walkers and strollers.

  • My daughter’s ADHD doctor went on a tirade about the lack of attention paid mental health treatment and preventative care and the amount that is then required by the justice system later on just this week. It costs almost 800 dollars a day to house an inmate in provincial jail, never mind all the costs building those jails and the costs incurred in getting drug users into those shiny new cells. Thats a lot of walkers and strollers.

  • That’s a minimum half a million dollars per inmate who gets a under two years

  • XUP – you got it. It’s just trite phrases that appeal to a certain element of the voters who don’t bother to think.

    Linda Anne – I haven’t been to T&T yet, but it’s on my list.

    Victor’s Father – you might be surprised to hear how expensive the Conservative Law & Order agenda is. According to Justin Piché over at Tracking the Politics of Crime and Punishment in Canada, we’re looking at spending $2,864,500,000.00 on new prisons in Canada, not counting youth facilities. Here’s his summary as of February 18, 2010:

    New Adult Penal Institutions: 22+
    Additions to Existing Facilities: 11
    Net Capacity Gain: 5,958-5,963+
    Estimated Construction Costs: $2.8645-2.867 billion
    Estimated Increases to Annual Operational Costs: $314,960,197.25-$315,436,376.25 million

    Meanwhile crime rates have been dropping steadily for 25 years.

  • $2.8 billion on new prisons — which we need to replace the dungeons we currently have — is not a lot of money, especially compared to *current* health care costs in this country:

    “Health care in Canada will cost $172 billion this year, or nearly $5,200 for every person in the country, according to figures released yesterday by the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

    “Health spending is expected to soak up 10.7 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product this year, the highest proportion recorded by the institute.

    “Health care spending is expected to grow faster than Canada’s economy, outpacing inflation and population growth,” Glenda Yeates, the group’s president and CEO, said in a news release.”

  • Gabriel/Victor’s Father – you’re comparing apples and oranges – the increase in the cost of the prison system to the total cost of the health care system. Instead of using the savings from a declining crime rate to help offset the increases in the health care system, we’re going to be paying billions extra for BOTH systems. Which is stupid.

  • You’re saying, if I can be so bold, the money ($2.8b) would be better spent on health care — specifically the upcoming boomer crisis. I’m saying $2.8b is a drop in a $172b bucket, and we’re way overdue for investment in the correctional infrastructure.

  • Better correctional infrastructure. Really? For what? For people caught with possession of marijuana? For people with mental disabilities? For people who can’t pay their panhandling fines?

    – RG>

  • Oh fuck off… how about for the people currently locked up in women’s correctional facilities that are falling apart, or for people locked up in the overcrowded Collin’s Bay and Kingston Pen, or to make it possible for women to serve in prisons closer to their families… jesus.

  • I wonder why they are building all those prisons? Is it really to tackle our declining crime rate, or do they just want some room in case the citizenry rises up against their idiocy?

    Or do they just want to pay construction companies rather than social workers and parole officers. After all, who contributes more to the party coffers?


  • Gabriel, why do you think the prisons are overcrowded now, when the crime rate is falling? It’s because we’re increasingly using incarceration to deal with social issues like poverty, homelessness, addictions, and mental illness.

  • So we never build another prison to replace the ones falling apart now, we never modernize them… got it. I totally understand now. How about painting them? Can we spare money for some new toilets, maybe? Crime rates fall, yet people still get convicted of crimes and sent to prison. You’re right, how can that possibly be? I totally agree, we should build more institutions fit for the mentally ill, take care of homelessness and poverty issues, then leave the properly incarcerated in the shitholes they’re in now, and I’m sure they’ll be grateful to be living in prisons at 1.75 capacity, instead of the 2.50 most of them are at now.