The Sudbury Star:
Income inequality is growing in Canada, and with that growth
comes a series of social problems for ordinary Canadians who are having
more trouble than ever before to make ends meet.
That was the message at The Rich and the Rest of Us, a panel
discussion that included a number of union leaders representing public
and private workers in Ontario, at the United Steelworkers Union Hall on
"Income inequality, we believe, is the most serious problem facing
Ontarians today, and indeed Canadians," said James Clancy, president of
the National Union of Public and General Employees.
Clancy and Janet Gasparini, executive director of the Social Planning
Council of Sudbury, led off a wide-ranging discussion on social
inequality, with about 500 people in attendance and another 2,000
listening in on a conference call.
Clancy said there are three key factors that have led to great income
inequality in Canada. The first is what he called the attack against
labour rights from various levels of government. The second was Canada's
lack of a modern industrial strategy. The final factor, according to
Clancy, was Canada's unfair tax system that benefits the ultra rich and
leaves the middle class to pick up the brunt of the tax burden.
Gasparini said underfunded social programs make social mobility very
difficult for people who find themselves in the lowest income bracket
and make less than $10,000 a year.
"There's more than enough money, but it's in the wrong hands," said
Clancy. He added social programs to help get people out of poverty could
easily be supported if corporations paid their fair share of taxes.
He said about $1 trillion of Canadian corporate money sits in offshore accounts that are completely tax-free.
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