A decade after the worst financial crash since the Great Depression, a fragile recovery is obscuring threats—some new, some as old as capitalism—to Canadian workers and the broader economy. In this first part of a two-part feature on the fallout of that crisis, the Monitor looks at the financial flows, government revenue shortfalls and austerity plans that undermine our ability to handle another sudden shock. Here's a sample of what you'll find inside this issue:
Inequality and poverty
Illustration by Katie Raso Ten years from the onset of the Great Financial Crisis, and eight after the “turn to austerity,” provides a useful vantage point. From here we can clearly see how austerity quickly succeeded the panic-driven experimentation with economic stimulus of the 2008-09 period.
Illustration by Katie Raso
Starting in 2004, almost all provinces and territories, several regions and municipalities, and the federal government have released poverty reduction strategies or discussion papers. Initially, the willingness of governments to develop plans focused on poverty reduction was met with enthusiasm from communities and advocates who had long demanded them. As time passed, it became clear that having these plans was not enough to drive the expected actions and investments.
There has been plenty of concern in Canada and around the world about income inequality, in particular the growing gap between the incomes of society’s highest-paid 10% or 1% and those of the bottom 90% of income earners. We spend less time thinking about inequality in relative wealth or net worth — the sum of all individual or family assets (house, car, investments, etc.) minus all debts (mortgage, student loan, etc.).
OTTAWA—Canada’s wealthiest family dynasties are more than 4,400 times richer than the average Canadian family and much more likely to keep that money in the family than they were two decades ago, finds a new study released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).
This is a study of the previous provincial government’s policy approach to Community Economic Development (CED). Manitoba at the time was described as a leader in CED. In contrast to the prevailing neoliberalizing winds, “social democratic governments (in Quebec and Manitoba) have been important promoters of CED/Social Economy” (Loxley, Silver and Sexmith, 2007; see also Sheldrick & Warkentin 2007).
This submission was made to the BC government Rental Housing Task Force to recommend controlling rental costs in British Columbia and specific measures for BC’s Residential Tenancy Act. We believe that bold action to control rental costs must be a central component of a comprehensive and effective poverty reduction plan, and that this issue is among the greatest threats not only to BC's proposed poverty reduction plan but to the government’s overall policy agenda.
First published on CBC online July 8th, 2018 A Ferrari cruises down Portage Avenue past people lining the streets on lawn chairs on Sunday evening in Winnipeg. The $250,000 car purrs along the road, a symbol of incredible wealth. Meanwhile, other Winnipeggers struggle to find bus fare to use our underfunded transit system.