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  • Unpacking the details of Manitoba Hydro September 9, 2019
    What would a long view of Manitoba Hydro all entail.  Read report here.
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA submission to Treasury Board consultation on regulatory modernization September 6, 2019
    On June 29, 2019, the federal government launched a public consultation on initiatives intended to "modernize" the Canadian regulatory system. Interested Canadians were invited to provide input on four current initiatives: Targeted Regulatory Reviews (Round 2) Review of the Red Tape Reduction Act Exploring options to legislate changes to regulator mandates Suggestions for the next […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Join us in November for the 2019 CCPA-BC Gala, featuring Nancy MacLean September 3, 2019
    Tickets are available for our 2019 Annual Gala Fundraiser, which will take place in Vancouver on November 21. This year’s featured speaker will be Nancy MacLean, an award-winning historian and author whose talk, The rise of the radical right: How libertarian intellectuals, billionaires and white supremacists shaped today’s politics, is very timely both in the US and here in […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Report looks at captured nature of BC’s Oil and Gas Commission August 6, 2019
    From an early stage, BC’s Oil and Gas Commission bore the hallmarks of a captured regulator. The very industry that the Commission was formed to regulate had a significant hand in its creation and, too often, the interests of the industry it regulates take precedence over the public interest. This report looks at the evolution […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Correcting the Record July 26, 2019
    Earlier this week Kris Sims and Franco Terrazzano of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation wrote an opinion piece that was published in the Calgary Sun, Edmonton Sun, Winnipeg Sun, Ottawa Sun and Toronto Sun. The opinion piece makes several false claims and connections regarding the Corporate Mapping Project (CMP), which we would like to correct. The […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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Inequality and health

There is an interesting opinion piece in The Tyee this morning, aptly named Dying for the Rich, which points out the links between inequality and life expectancy. The article’s author, Crawford Kilian, should be praised for bringing up an angle that was virtually ignored by media commentators in their coverage of the recent Census findings of growing inequality, even by those who were concerned by the income trends and did not try to explain them away.

Indeed, the connection between inequality and poor health has been well established and provides yet another reason to be concerned about the growing inequality in Canada. There is a fabulous documentary series on the topic called UNNATURAL CAUSES: Is Inequality Making Us Sick? that focuses on the US case but its message is relevant beyond the American borders as well. In the words of the series’ Executive producer:

Economic and racial inequality are not abstract concepts but hospitalize and kill even more people than cigarettes. The wages and benefits we’re paid, the neighborhoods we live in, the schools we attend, our access to resources and even our tax policies are health issues every bit as critical as diet, smoking and exercise.

The unequal distribution of these social conditions – and their health consequences – are not natural or inevitable. They are the result of choices that we as a community, as states, and as a nation have made, and can make differently. Other nations already have, and they live longer, healthier lives as a result.

Someone should send a DVD to the BC government whose approach to public health is completely missing the point: in this year’s throne speech they asserted that “[p]ersonal health starts with personal commitment to healthy eating, acting living and responsible health management.” It is time to stop emphasizing personal responsibility for health outcomes and to recognize the important role of the social conditions in which we live, work and play.

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