Lesson 4: Canada as a Concerned Nation – Wealth and Poverty
Part 1: Context for Thinking About Poverty
• Why do we need to think about inequality? Is inequality growing? How does it relate to
the articulation of Canadian values?
• Idle No More: super rich
• “The state of being extremely poor”
• Richest 10% receive 42% of the worlds income
• Inequality challenges understanding of Canadian citizenship, democracy and identity.
Canada is suppose to be “equality of opportunity and condition”
• Chretien’s “Canadian Way”
o Strong values: caring, compassion, equitable sharing of the benefits of economic
growth, partnership between citizen and states, individual freedom and economic
o How might these values translate into action? How might they not?
Part 2: Global Poverty
• A look at global inequality, the 1%, and Canadian aid efforts.
• Global poverty: http://www.oxfam.org/en/policy/workingforthefeweconomic
• What contributes to the 1% phenomenon? Wealth, power
• Canadian Aid Policy: lack of political leadership and aid is seen as a luxury, more well
meaning than committed
• 2 minute essay:
o Some people argue that Conservative government actions are eroding Canada’s
image. However, Canada’s aid record has never been great. Is this just political
optics, or is something else happening?
• Canada’s foreign aid spending around the world: http://cidpnsi.ca/blog/portfolio/canadas
Part 3: Inequalities in Canada
• Richest 10% of Canadians make more than $80,4000 in individual income, but the
wealthiest 1% makes more than $191,100. The 1% are mainly while, married men
between the ages of 4554.
• Limited social mobility – top and bottom strata fairly closed
• Child poverty – 1 in 7 children in Canada still live in poverty, half of First Nations
children live in poverty,
• Race and ethnicity: new Canadians tend to have lower incomes despite higher education
• Andrew Jackson (2013): economist who looked at the household survey data. You see
huge differences in terms of race and ethnicity (high unemployment rates). Education
does not narrow the gap, although we are raised in a society that teaches us that education
will help you get ahead. http://www.broadbentistiture.ca/en/blog/racialdiscrimination
andeconomicdownturn • Other dimensions of inequality: disabilities, gender, and age
• Just because Canada has a high income globally, does not mean we all have the same
distribution of wealth
• What are the implications of inequality in Canada? If we are committed to “caring and
sharing,” why has inequality grown?
Part 4: Competing Visions
• A comparison of philosophies that shape our policy actions for addressing inequality,
poverty and growth. How do these ideas affect our actions?
• Clashing visions of equality: we don’t agree on what a just society or what equality is
• Liberals and Social Democrats: influenced by Keynesian economics – harsh edge of
capitalist system needs to be tempered by a welfare state
• Neoliberals: hard work, Canada classless, social mobility, merit principle, smaller
• Harper tax cuts estimate $45 billion – does it benefit all Canadians? They have