A panel discussion from TVO of where Canada’s middle class is at. Looks like wage stagnation and the death of the middle class is a little overstated but there’s genuine concern about where things are going.
All over the mainstream media – despite the zillion dollar slipping and sliding festival that was Sochi, riots in the Ukraine and some of the harshest weather ever – is an internal government report on where things are at in this country. What We Know About the Middle Class in Canada, from Employment and Social Development Canada, was unearthed by the Canadian Press and is a bit of a disaster for the federal conservatives. Apparently being middle class here is a mythical status: those clinging to it have done so through debt, and lots of it.
Now, if we aren’t mistaken we thought these neoconservatives and neoliberals were all about family values and prosperity? They’ve had decades to get it right for the voters, taxpayers and working people of Canada but even the most convinced of the neocons must be starting to wonder where it all went wrong. “The market does not reward middle-income families so well,” says the report which was written last fall and released after an access to information request by CP.
‘Canadian Dream’ a myth, says internal government report Calgary Herald
Report viewable at this link
image: House of Parliament, Ottawa, 1878 by Notman & Sandham via Wikimedia Commons
Governments, universities, think tanks, large corporations and political parties generate studies and position papers as a matter of course. Sometimes they get a bit of a bounce around in the media though most remain fairly obscure. Suburban-poverty.com read recent leakage from a federal Tory document advocating American-style labour laws with concern.
Our home province, Ontario, is heading into a provincial election and so the grinding and mashing of a worn set of gears called neoconservatism is again to be heard far and wide. Progressive Conservative leader Hudak has aligned himself with his federal forefathers and their take on right-to-work legislation, minimum wages, worker safety, child labour all in the name of jobs. A claw back is what you call this. A fast ticket to the 50s people: and that’d be the eighteen fifties.
Hardly a surprise. Hopefully nobody will fall for this nonsense. Some splatter from Mayor Ford’s antics should help the voters make their minds up. Mayor Ford promised a right wing agenda and certainly delivers on the innate antipathy usually contained in them. Hudak’s interest in abusive, race-to-the-bottom American labour law grows from the same family tree that Ford’s rage and anti-social behaviour does. For both, the words of their Great Grandma Margaret Thatcher, “there’s no such thing as society”, clearly still represent the wisdom of the ages.
‘Right-to-work’ U.S. states a model for Ontario, say Tories. The Tories are launching a jobs tour to insist Ontario can be a manufacturing powerhouse again. But critics say it’s a road map to lower wages
The mass appearance of one begat the other and so we find the fate of the middle class and the fate of suburban life conjoined in a fashion that would have given Eng and Chang Bunker a good fright. You could not have had one without the other. Moving forward into the Long Emergency and a world of expensive petroleum, general resource depletion, traumatic economics, badly impaired credit/financial systems and shock doctrines we may end up losing much of both suburbia and its most loyal customers. Leave it to The Atlantic Monthly to be a source of timely content for us yet again.
Can the Middle Class Be Saved?
“The Great Recession has accelerated the hollowing-out of the American middle class. And it has illuminated the widening divide between most of America and the super-rich. Both developments herald grave consequences. Here is how we can bridge the gap between us.”Elizabeth Warren is an academic expert with a specialty in credit law and consumer debt/bankruptcy issues. She was in the documentary Maxed Out and the link below takes you to a presentation she gave in 2008. 57 minutes that will open your eyes. If you have the stomache for the details of the destruction of the middle class in America block out the time. Seriously, this wonderful, articulate, compassionate and very smart woman should be the president of the USA, not that nice, utterly feckless Obama guy.
The coming collapse of the middle class