(655) Faster than ever

Marie-Antoinette,_1775_-_Musée_Antoine_LécuyerSince forever, Canada’s rich have gotten richer.  Now, it’s the speed of it all.  Even America, the original home of all things zillionaire-ey, is behind us.  Wealth-X and UBS put this, and not a few other findings, in their new global report on ultra high net worth people.  There’s thought to be just under a quarter of a million such individuals and their status rests on $30-trillion in assets.  In 2008 and 2010 there were reports on Canada’s fast-movers, so the trend is looking quite solid.

The rich are getting richer — and faster than you think
Linda McQuaig in iPolitics

Canada’s rapidly growing wealth gap remains off the political agenda. Why?
Linda McQuaig on rabble.ca

image: Marie Antoinette by unknown artist via Wikimedia Commons

(652) One small look at poverty in Greater Toronto

redditA reader sent us a link to a thread on Reddit that gives an uncensored view of poverty in Toronto.  Some of the squalid force that creates suburban poverty is seen in this thread where housing, ill health and some mental health difficulty have converged in one individual’s life.  Hopefully this works out for the people involved.

How the hell do the poor survive in this city?

(649) Social safety

GrantThis cold week of Remembrance Day 2014 included the voice of Harry Leslie Smith, 91.  Smith experienced the Great Depression and World War II, firstly as a child, then as a working person and soldier.  The difficulties and losses of those years are attached, in a book Smith has written, to the progress made after 1945.  Harry’s Last Stand describes its author’s fear that the erosion of the security and quality of life for middle and working class people is disastrous in ways all too familiar to his generation.  Young people coming of age in an era of austerity and inequality face diminished prospects according to Smith.  His words are delivered gently but carry very serious things.

Why this 91-year old veteran fears we’re losing what we won after WWII
pressprogress.ca

And the very same week, what appears other than a brutal report on child poverty in Toronto?  This is why social safety nets were invented and need to be fought for.  This is exactly what Smith is talking about.

Hidden epidemic: a report on child and family poverty in Toronto

(646) Three Hamiltons talk living wages

HamiltonA town each in Canada, Scotland and New Zealand share the name Hamilton.  On poverty and wages they appear to speak the same language.  Minimum wages are not enough in these places to fully participate in life and keep individuals healthy through proper housing and living conditions.  Those participating in this internet discussion, recorded this afternoon, explain their take on living wages as the preferred approach to pulling people who work out of poverty.

3 Hamiltons meet to discuss their living wage efforts
cbc.ca/news

(644) Canada’s elites

PolozyJian Ghomeshi gives us a glimpse into the character and psychology of Canada’s elites. Enough to make us shudder.  Now Stephen Poloz adds something to the profile.  Poloz is a $400k-a-year central banker who suggests serfdom to his country’s young people as they face record unemployment.  With these shallow, narcissistic and glib role models oozing an odd admixture of indifference and authoritarianism what are the youth to make of their elders?  The same elders soon to be at the pension counter.

Bank of Canada governor tells jobless youth ‘living in folks’ basements’ to work for free Hamilton Spectator

(641) Murder & social policy in Canada

national wmConnecting social policy to last week’s fatal gun attack at the National War Memorial and Parliament Hill and the murder-by-car of a Canadian Forces member in Quebec seems to have taken the media an awfully long time and be rather thin on the ground.  Islamic fundamentalism is a dire thing to be taken up by wandering, mentally ill, underemployed substance-afflicted young men on the margins of Canadian life.  We’d go as far as saying that a guaranteed minimum income might have protected us from these attacks.  Similarly, a killer of three police officers in New Brunswick was sentenced this week.  He’ll do seventy five years in a box before any kind of parole hearing.  A depressing prospect for someone in his twenties.  American-style gun nut culture is also a dire thing to be taken up by outcasts.  Better social safety nets might have encouraged these messed up young men to consider something other than the wasteful, hurtful stupidity they chose to enact.

Ottawa attack reveals gaping holes in social safety net. Michael Zehaf-Bibeau asked for – and should have received – help
Ian Mulgrew in the Vancouver Sun

image: stamp depicting the National War Memorial in Ottawa via Wikimedia Commons