Loving my neighbour, paying my taxes

Tax season for 2014 ended last week. In the spirit of the season, Greg deGroot-Maggetti prepared this week’s guest blog. Greg lives in Kitchener, Ontario where he works for MCC Ontario as People in Poverty Program Coordinator. Greg regularly blogs at http://povertyfreeontario.blogspot.ca/

Have you ever saved someone’s life? I have. Or at least I helped save someone’s life.

About ten years ago, a neighbour of mine contracted flesh eating disease.  There were weeks when she was in hospital and we did not know whether she would live or die.

Photo: Alamy, theguardian.com

Photo: Alamy, theguardian.com

I’m happy to say that my neighbour is alive today. In fact, I was just chatting with her and her husband the other day. We were talking about the coming of spring and gardening after a long and cold winter.

The coming of spring also reminds me of how I helped her pull through that deadly disease.

I’m not a doctor. And I had no direct hand in saving my neighbour’s life. I simply helped make sure she got the best medical care possible. You probably did too.

The way I helped save my neighbour’s life was by paying my taxes.

It’s one of the most powerful reminders for me of why I pay taxes.

TaxesIn the current political culture, it seems as if the best thing governments can do for us is offer tax cuts. I wonder if that really is the best we can do. I know people who cannot afford to see a dentist or pay for the prescriptions they need. I’d be happy to defer a tax cut to see dental and pharmacare added to our public health system. And I’d rather see more affordable housing built.

It might be hard to imagine paying taxes as one of the ways we love our neighbours. But for me, I have at least one living example of how it is.


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