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Canada’s Rich Forget to Trickle Their Money Down

Canada’s Rich Forget to Trickle Their Money Down


If conversations among my friends are any indication, news that the gap between Canada’s rich and poor has widened will surprise no one. The Conference Board of Canada has just made it official.

Canada Inequality: Is Canada becoming more unequal?
shows that the rich are gobbling more of the country’s wealth, leaving the poor and middle class to scramble for a smaller wedge of the economic pie.

The richest 20% of Canadians control nearly 40% of national income. That has widened the gap between rich and poor by some 27% since 1976.

If compensation for the super high-paid were subtracted, the picture would look even more dismal. According to Statistics Canada, in 2010 the CEOs of Canada’s Big Five banks earned $51.84 million. The next four in line at Royal Bank had to content themselves dividing up a pie worth only $28.08 million. Add all the other high rollers in the country, and the picture is one of rising inequality.

The irony is not lost on ordinary Canadians, who have a pretty strong sense of social justice and the common good. While financial markets were crashing and retirement investments were disappearing, the richest Canadians were increasing their share of the pie. That has left the majority of Canadians to gather up the crumbs.

While the wealthy were scooping more than their share, conservative governments were raiding the pockets of the poor and middle class. Holes in the social safety net widened as welfare rates stagnated and unemployment insurance got renamed “employment insurance” (and became harder to get). The money that theoretically trickles down when the wealthy are given tax breaks got dammed up at the top.

There is little comfort in knowing that Canada is fitting ever more neatly into its “peer” group of 17 developed countries. The U.S. is the worst for income inequality, Italy second, with Canada coming in a not-so-distant sixth.

There’s certainly little comfort in the report for the nearly one-quarter of children in my home province of British Columbia who live below the poverty line.

Anne Golden, President and CEO of the Conference Board of Canada, sums up the sorry state of affairs in this video, “Income Inequality in Canada.”

Related Care2 Stories:
Economic Inequality Running Rampant in U.S.
Senator Bernie Sanders Stands Up for the Rest of Us

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Photo from Andrew Currie via Flickr

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11:21AM PDT on Jul 30, 2011

You mean I can't go to Canada as a conscientious objector to corpserate American monkeynomics. This is all Murdoch's fault. He should be declared a traitor and a clear and present danger to all things America holds dear. Not to mention being a moral and ethical leper.

1:16AM PDT on Jul 28, 2011

Learning from the big bully next door - may Canadian conservatives learn better.

9:46AM PDT on Jul 27, 2011

Until the majority of regular citizen come together to vote out those who support the super wealthy minority we will be ruled by them. The majority of leaders throughout the world have pandered to the wealthy for their own self agrandizement to the detriment of their people and the environment.

The majority of people are not in the wealthy/super wealthy classes and never will be but when it comes to voting for candidates they get distracted by the candidates playing on their fears, biases, and single issues.

Voters must learn about their candidates through independent
research and not through the major media or the candidate's sites.
Do not vote for anyone tied to big corporations, Wall Street, the financial services industry, oil and gas companies, and the insurance industry, etc.

8:38AM PDT on Jul 27, 2011

There was a time when the rich had a social conscience IMPOSED upon them and they supported the arts, particularly. Sometime in the near narcissistic past that conscience was banished and everyone seems to think that if you have money you deserve to spend it all on yourself. As I watch orchestras going bankrupt and no one coming forward to save them, I know that humanity itself is devlolving and soon we will simply have rich and slaves and this time around the rich will ignorant idiots rather than at least cultured and supporting the arts. I am looking forward to the extinction of the human species.

5:01AM PDT on Jul 27, 2011

The rich never trickle their money down into the economy. They just get richer.

9:13PM PDT on Jul 26, 2011

The only thing that ever trickled down in this stupid, warped, unrealistic version of economics was shit.

6:47PM PDT on Jul 26, 2011

If we can believe what the well off keep saying, They are rich cuz they work hard and the poor are only poor because they won't work hard, they buy & smoke cigarettes and just want handouts.

4:54PM PDT on Jul 26, 2011

Hard to believe that any other country was stupid enough to believe that "trickle down" nonsense. Unfortunately, Rupert Murdoch was around to spread the lies to the citizens of the planet.

4:51PM PDT on Jul 26, 2011

This is something that is happening worldwide and many of us down here on the bottom are fighting not for our own good but for the good of the richest among us. Can't you see that the world governments have been bought by corporations? I just read about a group ALEC which is made up of corporation heads and lobbyists and they get together with our people in government and tell them which laws to pass.Meanwhille they have us fighting each other that way we cannot see just how badly we are being manipulated by the wealthy and greedy in this country. People of the world need to wake up and see who your real enemy is.

1:15PM PDT on Jul 26, 2011

I've always said, "Hang the rich." Wealthy Canadians are no exception.

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