Canadians should pay a nickel a drink to help the mentally ill, says the Senate social affairs committee.
After three years' work and consultation, the committee is calling on the government to invest half a billion dollars annually in support and housing for people with mental illness, paying for it with a tax on alcoholic drinks.
In a report Tuesday, the committee recommended the creation of a national agency to help the mentally ill, and 57,000 affordable housing units for people living with mental illness.
"The stories we heard moved us to tears," said Liberal Senator Michael Kirby, chair of the committee.
"They also angered us because it shows clearly how little governments have done over the years for people living with a mental illness.
Smokers underwrite their costs to the health care system through tobacco taxes. Since many of the mentally ill are also alcoholic, taxing liquor to pay for their treatment seems only fair, in a way, although the non-insane and non-alcoholic among us will carry much of the cost for them.
But one wonders whether such a tax will be aimed at the real heart of the problem: the mental health professionals who have decided that all but the most uncontrollably insane can be dumped on the streets with a reminder to take their pills, and the social-welfare enablers who believe that letting these poor folk beg on the streets is more dignifying than treating them in hospital.
Source: Toronto Star