My adoptive home of Peterborough Ontario, a community of over 70,000 people and home of Trent University, was struck with hardship in early July. The city received a torrential down pour of over 20 centimetres of rain in less than 12 hours. The sewers and storm drains, ill-equipped for the flooding, quickly overflowed, leaving streets, businesses and over 31,000 homes flooded.

Now as the resilient citizenry of Peterborough struggle to repair their broken community, they are faced with yet another dire and unforeseen hardship: a lack of financial aid.

Canada is a supremely wealthy nation. But the majority of that wealth remains in the pockets of a rich few, the business elite. Even when Canadians are in dire need of support, the business class shirks off their responsibilities to the their workers and consumers by making use of some legal loop hole. And as for the government, they are content to proclaim more and more tax breaks to those same business leaders and corporations at the expense of the very social programs that the citizens desperately need in their time of crisis.

The vast majority of homeowners in the flooded area have purchased home insurance to protect them financially in times of need. However the large insurance companies are refusing to even so much as recognize the vast majority of claims until city authorities can determine the exact cause of flooding for each individual case. This is process that could take months. Deputy Fire Chief Trent Gervais said that out of 31,000 homes, public workers have pumped out only 1,000. Other citizens are forced to resort to vastly more expensive private contractors to clear their own homes of water.

But why do the insurance firms want to know the specific cause of flooding? Is it not enough to see the damage done to the homes of their faithful customers? Apparently, the companies will only come forward with compensation if the flood happened due to overflowing pipes inside the home AND if the homeowner has purchased the optional coverage for this specific occurrence. The insurance hucksters say that if water entered the home through a door, window, crack or vent it does not qualify to receive coverage. What’s more is that those few who are covered will undoubtedly have to pay even larger premiums from now on. Apparently the insurers don’t quite understand the concept of insurance. The exploitive corporations that dole out insurance are corrupt in the most pronounced sense of the word. They display nothing but sheer contempt for the people they are supposedly there to help when faced with a situation in which they may actually have to live up to their obligations.

The theft could not be more clear. First, willing consumers, with only their own welfare and that of their family in mind, purchase an insurance plan which, they are assured, will save them the hardship of loss to house and home. The corporations then charge huge fees and premiums to cover the supposedly “collective” insurance plan. In reality, the homeowners pay far, far more to the insurance company than they would even in the event of very extreme damage to their home. And when a situation arises where the homeowner actually needs to cash in for his insurance, what do the insurers do? They stall, negotiate for a smaller settlement, and even attempt to avoid payment through the use of corporate loop holes in the contract that the corporations themselves wrote. This is piracy.

But what about the government? Surely the citizens will be able to count on their elected officials to help them out of this natural disaster. Unfortunately, much like the sleazy insurance brokers the federal government is refusing to seriously help the populous for circumstantial reasons. Ontario Vice-President of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, Mark Yakabuski, explains, “Across the world, flooding is not covered by private insurance. Flooding is only ever covered by government-run or government subsidized insurance programs.”

The problem with this of course being that no such program exists in Canada. The only program the government offers to assist the citizens is Disaster Relief, and this is no where near adequate. Disaster relief only applies to the worst of all cases affected by disaster and only then to what the government considers to be living essentials. But the largest setback to this program is that for it to apply, the situation must be officially be recognized as a “disaster”. As it is, Peterborough is deemed to be a mere “emergency”.

So we see the government of Canada is no different than any money grubbing corporation. With promises of a fulfilled and protected way of life, workers pay their hard earned dollars to the politicians, who are trusted to use it for our benefit. Instead, when those same faithful citizens are in genuine need, the government reneges and refuses to offer help. If not to the aid of Canadians in need, then where are our tax dollars going? What’s more, if the system is impotent in helping the people that support it, then why does it deserve our support?

It is time to end corporate pandering by the government. Time for the nation to be run by the people, for the people. It is time for the owning class to learn that Canada is not a for-profit enterprise. It is time for Socialism.

September, 2004