rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Who pays the bill?

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca in its summer fundraiser today for as little as $5 per month!

I am part of a coalition dedicated to reducing poverty.

Recently, during a public meeting on the coalition's plan to reduce poverty, a public health nurse posed a classic Canadian dilemma.

She agreed wholeheartedly with the poverty measures the coalition proposes our governments act on. But, she asked, will the middle class get stuck with the bill?

It's a question that cuts to the heart of a critical social and political dilemma facing Canada today: Are we in this together or aren't we?

Until now, every generation that came before us used the prosperity of the nation to invest in the well-being and longevity of the majority.

With far fewer resources than we have today, our great-grandparents, grandparents and parents built roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, sidewalks, child care centres, playgrounds, subways and community programs that benefited all of us.

For the most part, they didn't jack up untold amounts of debt to pay for it. They worked hard and willingly paid taxes -- because most knew first-hand the hardship and devastation of having to go it alone.

But for more than a decade Canadians have been insulated.

Our nation has enjoyed unprecedented growth in economic prosperity. At the same time, we voted in governments who told us the best thing they could do is give us back our tax money.

Somehow, we came to believe that Canada could enjoy the same high standard of living -- with public services the envy of many nations -- without having to pay full price for them.

We forget that our taxes actually pay for services and a high quality of life that are of priceless value. Even for the middle class.

In the U.S., where the Bush administration worked up trillion dollar debts in the blink of an eye, they are just beginning to ask the question: Who pays for this? And is it fair to leave the bill for generations to come?

Some Americans are proposing taxing the wealthiest a bit more so they carry a fairer share of the load. Warren Buffet, the richest man in America and the world, agrees.

In Canada, we seem to be afraid of such debates. Yet the price of ignoring poverty costs each and every one of us.

A recent study shows the cost of ignoring poverty costs every Ontario household anywhere from $2,299 to $2,895 a year. That's because persistent poverty costs our public system through health care, education, and in so many other ways.

But poverty isn't just about dollars and cents. It's about people and communities.

I, for one, am willing to pay my taxes if it means I'm doing my part to make sure no one is left behind.

If you're with me, you may want to register your vote on Canada Without Poverty's new online poll question:

If you pay taxes, would you be willing to pay a higher amount each year if you were confident it would contribute to the elimination of poverty and to greater social security for all Canadians?

So far, the majority votes yes.

Check out the poll at: www.cwp-csp.ca

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.