Distribution of WealthPublished on 8 April 2014 Hansard and Statements by Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette (retired)
Hon. Céline Hervieux-Payette:
I would like to digress for a moment and say to the Leader of the Government in the Senate that I am sure he did well in his constitutional law course. Perhaps the government should consult him on these issues, given that he is not part of cabinet. His explanation of regional representation was very clear, and I agree with him on that.
My question is far more trivial and mundane. It stems from a report that we just received, titled Outrageous Fortune: Documenting Canada’s Wealth Gap. I have read it and I would simply like to share some numbers and ask how we can remedy the issues addressed in the report.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives just released this report, which indicates that the 86 wealthiest individuals and families in Canada, or 0.002 per cent of the population, keep getting richer and now hold $178 billion in wealth, which is more than the poorest 11.4 million Canadians combined. That is enough to buy up everything in New Brunswick — I apologize for mentioning a specific province — and still have $40 billion to spare. That really puts things into perspective. The numbers have increased since 1999, when the 86 wealthiest people held the same wealth as the poorest 10.1 million Canadians. In other words, the gap is growing every year.
It is clear that the Conservative government’s policies are not only increasing the income gap between the rich and the poor, but also creating a greater inequality of accumulated wealth.
Mr. Leader, how does your government intend to remedy the situation to help the least fortunate and stem the impoverishment of the middle-class, which is favouring Canada’s richest individuals? Specifically, how is the latest budget going to do that?