COLUMN: Discrimination starts a slippery slide

Last month, Health Minister Mike de Jong floated the idea of charging smokers extra MSP premiums...

By Tricia Leslie

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 health care 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 health care 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 health care 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 health care system than targeting addictive behaviour.

Tricia Leslie is a freelance journalist and former reporter at the Peace Arch News, a sister newspaper to the Abbotsford News.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kevin Fowler of Abbotsford won almost $57,000 in the Lotto 6/49 drawn from Aug. 15. (Submitted photo)
Abbotsford man wins almost $57K in Lotto 6/49

Kevin Fowler matches five out of six numbers, using dog’s age and other numbers

A testing kit can determine the levels of radon in a home. Abbotsford participated in the 2019 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge, and results were released on Oct. 29, 2020. (Image by TakeActionOnRadon from Pixabay)
11 Abbotsford homes had unsafe radon levels following testing

Total of 82 houses tested as part of 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge

Everett Silvertips’ Gage Gonclaves fights with Spokane Chiefs’ Filip Kral for the puck during the game on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Mission’s Gage Goncalves invited to Hockey Canada’s World Juniors selection camp

Goncalves was recently drafted to the NHL in the 2nd round by the Tampa Bay Lightning

Poppy donation boxes will be in place at businesses and organizations across Abbotsford for the 2020 Royal Canadian Legion poppy campaign. (Black Press photo)
In-person poppy locations down, collection boxes increase in Abbotsford

2020 Royal Canadian Legion campaign impacted by COVID-19 pandemic

The former Matsqui-Sumas-Hospital lands are being returned to the Matsqui First Nation. (Submitted)
Abbotsford lands returned to Matsqui First Nation

Nine acres of MSA Hospital lands set to be redeveloped in the coming years

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks Thursday (Oct. 29) during a news conference held at Fraser Health office, in video posted to Facebook. (Photo: Government of British Columbai/Facebook)
COVID-19 ‘disproportionately’ affecting Fraser Health: Henry

Health region has about 75 per cent of B.C.’s active cases

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Most Read