This time last year, inequality seemed to have become a household word in Canada. There had been a modestly good level of media coverage of the way our incomes have been diverging and the effect this has on Canada. That focus seems to have been lost somewhat.
In June of 2012 parliament agreed to an all-party, high level effort to find solutions for the damaging effect of income inequality. The effort was brought to life by a private member’s motion asking the finance committee in the House of Commons to report on possible solutions.
Well, close to a year-and-a-half went by without much happening. Perhaps the government detected a slackening of public interest in the matter of income equality because a grand total of three hearings were held this fall. The final product is called Income Inequality in Canada: an Overview. The representatives of each party involved with the document came up with two dozen recommendations none of which are really radical or noteworthy. The document doesn’t call for legislation or urge any kind of war on poverty and inequality. The report seems to be about tweaks here and there to this and that. In an editorial in Friday’s Toronto Star Carol Goar referred to the report as “pathetic.”
A Tory-dominated government committee was unlikely to produce some anti-poverty manifesto but the document is still remarkably disappointing. Releasing it just as parliament adjourns and the holiday season unfolds was probably a deliberate attempt to dodge formal debate and media attention.
House of Commons income inequality report fails poor Canadians
Citizens for Public Justice
image: Johnathan McIntosh via Wikimedia Commons