I don't expect Stephen Harper to take any effective action on inequality. That's a problem facing the Canadian people, not the oil barons of Calgary or his chums in the Beijing politburo. That said, I do expect our opposition leaders, Muclair and Trudeau to come up with some coherent and credible policies and well prior to the 2015 election.
Fixing this problem begins with acknowledging the problem - the full problem, inequality of wealth, inequality of income and inequality of opportunity. Equally essential is acknowledgment of the fundamental role government plays in creating and empowering inequality.
The truth is that most inequality is legislated. It arises out of enactments that create wealth - for a few - from grants, deferrals, tax breaks, subsidies and the transfer of rights to public property at far below fair value and sometimes free of charge.
The infamous "1%" we hear so much about? It wouldn't be sitting anywhere near as fat and sassy if it wasn't for the political classes serving as its handmaiden. Read Stiglitz, "The Price of Inequality", to see how Western governments have fallen into service of these elites at the direct expense of the electorates they're sworn to serve and protect.
This screed is brought to you courtesy of The Toronto Star and outgoing TD Bank chief, Ed Clark. In his farewell speech, Clark referred to inequality in Canada as a "corrosive thing." Clark also fingered regulators, central bankers, and politicians for helping to create the financial collapse of 2008.
The inequality problem is only going to deepen if the next prime minister plays it safe and seeks political cover in the status quo. We need a leader who will change Canada's course economically, environmentally and socially. That sort of change might have the appearance of being revolutionary but that has nothing to do with the imperative merit of change and everything to do with how far Canada has listed to the right. We're heeled over so far now that the gunwales are kissing the water.
So, let's hear it Tom, let's hear it Justin. Are you going to be Bay Street bumboys or are you actually going to lead this country to an even keel?