Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Let's talk ... about corporate greed.

The Talking Heads:

Today is the day that one big business has chosen to make itself look good and to brand its corporate image with the glow of a Very Important social / health issue.

Yes, today is Bell _Let's Talk™_ Day.

My co-blogger fern hill wrote about it two years ago.

I agree with her.

Yesterday there was a number of people waiting with me at a Bank Street bus stop, including a mother and her young adult daughter who kept whispering loudly to her mother about the spirits she saw who were telling her *things*.  The older woman was painfully aware that people were looking at them, some in kindness, others not so much as she tried to guide her daughter away from the group.

They travelled briefly on the same bus with me then disembarked to transfer on to a different route. I wondered and worried about them.  My daughter's childhood friend developed schizophrenia in her late adolescence.  Many of her (her partner's, too) peers and contemporaries are beset with a wide range of mental health issues that are aggravated by precarious employment conditions and dwindling mental health resources.


Indeed.  For every tweet, Bell will donate 5¢ per.  The corporation claims that funds they've dedicated to mental health programs are distributed according to funding requests awarded.

You want more numbers crunching? This blogger does an excellent job of breaking down the figures.

[...]in reality one of the things that is actually happening is that for $4.26 per hour Bell are paying you to act as a PR representative for their brand – part of that branding is the image of a “responsible corporate citizen.”

Bell could just pay the same corporate income tax in 2013 that corporations paid in 1960 (or really any point since then) and contribute vastly more to the treatment of mental health in Canada than the money they are contributing as part of a corporate PR campaign. Bell Canada’s 2011 net profits were $2,160,000,000 and its total revenue was 19,500,000,000 – so whatever they end up donating for mental health treatment/awareness could be replaced with stable, annual funding by increasing corporate income tax by less than a sliver of a fraction of a percentage point.

So Bell demands more and more corporate welfare and tax relief from the federal government.  This leads to shortfalls in revenues which governments at the federal, provincial and municipal level must absorb by cutting mental health programs.

At which point Bell swoops in like a white knight in shining armour and can point to where it takes credit for patching up the healthcare infrastructures disintegration that its own corporate greed and gluttony for profits has caused.

Toxic capitalism. 

It also seems a good time to note, as communications flunkeys who toil for the Harper government furiously tweet up a storm on behalf of its CPC Ministers and MPs, that the CRA is directed to investigate charities that do not comply with his government policies, and that millions of dollars in advertising are dedicated to promoting his *Party of One* on the ordinary Canadian taxpayer's dime.

1 comment:

the regina mom said...

Awesome posts, good women! I thought about boycotting the action, but when I saw a couple of my young, progressive friends facebooking and tweeting, I decided to support them. I've tweeted about mental health, my own and others and I've tweeted a few challenges to Bell and to our Premier. And I've learned a lot reading the feed. For example, the percentage of the budget for mental health in SK is the lowest in the country! I've also suggested that instead of Bell's once/year thingie, we should start #MHM, Mental Health Mondays. Now, if I can remember to do that on Monday!

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