COLUMN: Discrimination starts a slippery slide

Last month, Health Minister Mike de Jong floated the idea of charging smokers extra MSP premiums – though the idea was quickly opposed by Premier Christy Clark.

Here we go again.

Let’s target the smokers.

Last month, Health Minister Mike de Jong floated the idea of charging smokers extra MSP premiums – though the idea was quickly opposed by Premier Christy Clark.

But while de Jong goes after smokers, he’s apparently not considering charging obese people, who pose an ever-increasing drain on the healthcare system – a drain that is fast overtaking the threat smokers pose to health care. Or pot smokers, coke snorters, heroin addicts, meth heads or alcoholics.

What about people who participate in extreme sports?

Some doctors call motorcycle owners ‘organ donors’ … you still ride your motorbike, Mike?

De Jong attempts to use the excuse that smokers should take responsibility for their actions.

He’s right. But what about all of the above? Should they not also take responsibility for their actions?

He suggests smokers should contribute more.

They already do. About $3.70 – per pack – in taxes.

And each time those taxes were raised – several times in recent years – the government said those funds would go toward the smokers’ drain on the healthcare system.

It would be interesting to find out exactly where all those tax dollars go.

Too bad government can’t tax marijuana or cocaine or meth or ecstasy.

What taxes do obese people currently pay toward their expanding pull on healthcare dollars?

What do heroin addicts currently contribute? Racecar drivers and motocross athletes?

Heck, even our hockey-playing population should probably contribute more, with all the injuries that send players to B.C. emergency rooms every year. Not just the pros, either.

You still play hockey, Mike?

Bottom line is, it’s discrimination.

And likely just another government money grab. Gotta find the money to repay the federal government because de Jong’s Liberals brought in a tax they said they wouldn’t bring in before the election, right? Gotta pay back for something no one wanted in the first place – and they proved that at the polls.

Maybe the Liberals should put out more attack ads saying their opponents are untrustworthy.

Thing is, once you start with the smokers, where does it end?

Perhaps other addicts will be targeted first.

But once one personal choice is attacked, it opens the door to all personal choices being attacked. No one wants that. Or things like invasive health checks to ensure whether people are actually smokers or not … or is it just the honour system? If so, effective much?

De Jong would be wise to drop such a discriminatory idea and focus on being safe on the road while he rides his motorcycle, a behaviour many believe is risky and irresponsible.

Of course, donating organs would be a much better way to support the healthcare system than targeting addictive behaviour.

Tricia Leslie is a freelance multimedia journalist and former Peace Arch News reporter.

 

 

Just Posted

TONIGHT: Eagle Eyes to headline Concerts for the Pier in White Rock

East Beach event to feature The Fab Fourever

Mother’s death causes singer to cancel Surrey Fusion Festival performance

Revised schedule released with Mankirt Aulakh replacing Sharry Mann

Cars keyed on BC Ferries after alarms bother dog on board

Delta police arrested one passenger on suspicion of mischief

Three from Surrey inducted into Softball Canada Hall of Fame

Greg Timm, Melanie Matthews and Christman Lee part of 2019 induction class

Toilet, bathtub among junk dumped behind Scott Road thrift store, costing operators money

‘I wish people would appreciate what we do, and not dump their stuff,’ frustrated manager says

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Two toddler siblings found drowned on First Nation in Alberta

The siblings were found drowned on their family’s property, according to RCMP

Most Read

l -->