- In advance of this year's Progress Summit, Ed Broadbent writes that burgeoning inequality threatens our democracy:
Inequality matters. Promises must be kept. It’s not enough for our government to celebrate the diversity of our country but not enact policies that head off growing inequality. Mr. Trudeau, it’s time to deliver.- Meanwhile, George Monbiot warns against accepting a definition of "freedom" which is limited to allowing the wealthy and well-connected to exploit the public. And Matt Stoller discusses Simcha Barkai's research showing how bigger corporations are making workers poorer.
The underlying causes that produced the harsh politics of resentment and exclusion in the United Kingdom before Brexit, and in the recent U.S. election, are stirring here at home. According to a recent EKOS poll, the percentage of Canadians who identify themselves as middle class has dropped from 67 per cent to 46 per cent. And 70 per cent of Canadians believe – quite accurately – that almost all recent economic growth has gone to the top one per cent. Almost 60 per cent of Canadians said that they would not be surprised if violence broke out unless inequality was addressed.
This accurate perception of unfairness, that some make great gains but most do not, undermines democracy. As the statistics suggest, many Canadians feel the sense of alienation from the political process and from the economic system, which has fuelled the rise of the nationalist and intolerant political right around the world: Donald Trump in the U.S., UKIP in the UK, and the Front National in France.
A country’s true worth is not measured by how it enables the few but by how it provides for the many. Our country needs all the restless, creative energy we can bring to bear to create a brighter future.
- Jessica Vomiero looks at the Conference Board of Canada's research showing that residents of Atlantic provinces are significantly happier than people elsewhere in Canada - based in large part on a stronger sense of community and greater affordability. And discussing the same study, Peter Zimonjic reports that Canada ranks fairly highly among comparable countries in overall life satisfaction, but near the bottom in terms of gender equality.
- Armine Yalnizyan discusses the importance of focusing on gender equality in developing and analyzing budgets. And Heather Cleland explains why the Libs' plan to extend maternal leave benefits only for those who have money to spare doesn't answer the real disparities which need addressing.
- Finally, Michal Rozworski interviews Charles Smith and Ian Hussey about the contrast between Brad Wall's destructive austerity and Rachel Notley's maintenance of needed services.