Editor: I read the editorial “Something’s broken” in the Nov. 3 Chatham Voice. Yes there is. The problem is simple. People have lost all confidence in government.
You can see this in all elections, be they federal, provincial or municipal. All elections show serious declines.
We moved from Cambridge to Chatham this year. The last municipal elections in Cambridge had 28 per cent voter turnout. I talked to the mayor of Cambridge about the turnout. His take was that in Cambridge, 90 per cent of the city budget went to salaries, and very little could be done for the city without provincial and federal assistance. Citizens see this and feel it to be useless to vote because it will change nothing.
Furthermore, it seems that no matter what they do, they have governments that can only think about taxes, taxes and more taxes. Just look at the recent taxes such as luxury tax and this utterly stupid carbon tax. Carbon tax just makes higher pay at the pump and higher pay for everyday goods.
Now the UN agency on climate stated that the Canadian carbon output has increased substantially since the tax was put in place. Go figure.
It seems to be a tax that achieves the opposite of what is intended. Citizens just get frustrated by being forced to pay for politicians’ pet projects.
Another subject politicians do not want you to know is that about nine years ago, the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) announced that we had the honour of being the highest taxed country in the developed world. Sweden used to be the highest, but after electing a more conservative government and taking out all the pet projects typical of socialist governments, their tax burden got reduced and we took their place.
Talking about taxes, I am getting a very small pension from the Dutch government for the years I worked in the Netherlands as a Dutch citizen before coming to Canada. I am getting an amount of $2,473 per year. The Dutch government takes $232 because it goes abroad. I just got a CRA notice that they are letting me know that I have to pay an additional $1115.17 on this pension from the Netherlands. Taking the two taxes together, what is left? Might as well let the Netherlands know not to bother, because in addition to the taxes, I also lose other benefits that retired persons can deduct that amount to approximately $1,000.
You think I am thrilled with a government that does not hesitate to take whatever they can from seniors? We have governments that simply do not care about retired people. It is like the attitude of “let’s take whatever we can before it is too late and they depart.” Can you imagine what pension I would get in the Netherlands if I would have worked all 53 years over there? Many times more than pensioners get in Canada.
Why do you think so many seniors are at the food banks these days? You think they have this urge to vote for governments that simply discard them? I filed a complaint, but it will not change anything as they are in a position of power and will simply ignore me.
I can go on and on, but I’m just wasting my breath.
Anyway, what I have seen and have been told is that citizens have lost any confidence in government at all levels and feel nothing will change. Whatever they want does not matter because governments have become so arrogant that they do not bother to listen, and therefore project a sense they do not care. It has become a situation of them against us.
Ed de Vries