We are the 99%

Homeless_1200-800.jpgWhen Did Basic Fairness Become a Radical Idea?

We are the 99%, but the 1% get all the gains. Families are struggling to pay their bills and keep a roof over their heads – if they even have a roof to keep. Young people can’t find jobs or a decent place to live. Higher education is a path to crippling debt, not a better future.

These challenges impact people in communities from Newfoundland to British Columbia, from the biggest cities to single industry towns to the smallest villages.  But there are also issues unique to every place.  Our power to build a better world will come from melding what we share in common with our diversity.

Good public healthcare, education, childcare and pensions are central to a fair and equitable society, but there is so much more we can do. 

What are the challenges you experience? What are the solutions you want to see? Let’s talk!


  • commented 2017-03-14 22:24:20 -0400
    We cannot minimize the importance and prevalence of this issue in our society today. Government policy appears to simply continue to raise taxation, without providing the essential services that many of us depend on. With the undermining of public health care by both conservative and liberal governments, the blatant corruption and misuse of government funds, the rich seem to continue to get richer, while the rest of us are left behind. What we need is a massive shake up in Ottawa, in order to ensure that our taxes are being spent efficiently and in the people’s best interests, not to benefit just the wealthiest Canadians or corporate entities. I hope that one day I will see government policy that will extensively benefit small business owners, young people, the elderly, our veterans, first nations communities, and other groups that have seemingly been left behind by recent government action. Bloat and bureaucracy is not the answer, but effective governance and a control on corruption is vital in the prosperity of these disenfranchised groups.
  • commented 2017-03-14 22:14:03 -0400
    I agree. This is one of the most crucial issues of our time. Over the past 35 years, the incomes of the ultra-wealthy have skyrocketed, while the incomes of 99% of Canadians have stagnated (and the financial well-being of the bottom 20% of the population has declined). We have seen growth in GDP per capita, but it has been rendered meaningless by the fact that virtually the entirety of it has gone to those who are already extremely wealthy. Stable, full-time employment has virtually disappeared outside the public sector, even for many university graduates. Over the last two decades, poverty has increased while the rich became richer.

    Some key measure will need to be done at the provincial level – in particular, increases to the minimum wage – but the federal government can put its support behind these reforms. In addition, I strongly support taxes on non-resident property speculation and on vacant homes, in order to prevent the speculative bubble that has placed homeownership and even decent rental housing out of the financial range of many Canadians; this should be nationwide, if jurisdiction supports it; or by provinces, with political support from the federal government, if otherwise.

    In addition, a thorough reform of our tax system is needed. Capital gains are taxed at much lower rates than other forms of income, favouring speculation over solid hard work. The vast majority of capital gains go to the very rich. Capital gains should be taxed at the same rates as other income, if not higher. In addition, corporate taxes should be raised back to their pre-Harper levels of 35% (they are currently 26.5%). Finally, a small tax on financial transactions – amounting to perhaps 0.2% of a transaction’s value – would be sufficient to fund a large number of programs, and would decrease rampant speculation in the bargain. We must also work with other countries in the world to close tax havens and prevent millionaires and billionaires from avoding the taxes that the rest of us pay.

    It is equally crucial that Canada combat the staggering rise in global income inequality. These means that ensuring that our trade agreements contain clauses that protect basic worker rights to a safe workplace and a decent wage, and ensuring that those agreements do NOT include clauses allowing corporations to sue governments for passing laws that protect workers and the environment. Canada must also hold our companies accountable for human rights abuses overseas: currently, Canada is the headquarters of most of the world’s mining companies, which have exploited, killed, and poisoned workers and citizens throughout the developing world. We must allow citizens whose rights are violated by these companies to bring suits against them in Canadian courts, and support the equitable resolution of these suits. In addition to this, Canada must raise our foreign aid budget to 0.7% of GDP, the global target and one which is already met by many Scandanavian countries. Canada currently gives only 0.24% of our GDP in foreign aid, less than the OECD average.
  • commented 2017-03-14 21:00:48 -0400
    Please Peter, instead of “middle class”, say “middle income”, which does not imply that there is a “lower class” of people in this Canada of ours. Whether a voter is a worker or a student, handicapped, on government assistance, with a less than adequate income: you will be giving them the respect they deserve. And getting marks for honesty and clarity! Words do matter… I am for a Guaranteed Income.
  • commented 2017-03-12 16:35:08 -0400
    Fairness is important. But the first sentence of this discussion is not fair or accurate.

    Doesn’t the NDP have a lot to offer all Canadians? Doesn’t the peace, security, and stability that comes from the common good benefit the people in the top 1% as well as those of us who are struggling? Why set us at odds with each other?
  • commented 2017-03-04 12:11:16 -0500
    This is probably the number one issue for me. I’m 28 years old, and I have never had a salaried full time job, nor have I made more than 800$ a week in my entire life. Despite a hard work ethic, a wide array of skills, and a bachelor’s degree, I have not been able to find stable employment in my field, or any field, and indeed, I am forced to subsist on part time and contract labour, living somewhere around the poverty line. Even with all my advantages – straight-passing, white, male, fluent English speaker from a reasonably affluent family, I am full of anxiety about my future.

    There are lots of solutions I want to see – but the most pressing one for me is Universal Basic Income, structured in such a way so as to incentivize people to work, but also to allow them to live a dignified existence as it is. My dream job is to live as an author. If I could get just enough money to live and feel financially secure, I would be able to pursue my passion, live a fulfilling life, and contribute to Canada’s cultural fabric. Better labor laws, crackdowns on unpaid internships, a higher minimum wage, a shorter work week, stronger unions, job training and creation programs are all great in the short term. BUT. We are rapidly heading for a future of automation, where up to 45% of jobs will no longer be in human hands. This has the potential to be an amazing boon, where no-one needs to work a job they hate just to support themselves – but ONLY IF society at large, and not a handful of oligarchs, control the means of production, and only if we as a society have made ourselves prepared to live in a world where the 9-5 Monday to Friday work week is not the structure around which we organize ourselves.
  • commented 2017-03-02 07:37:34 -0500
    I see little progress here until we change the way we elect our governments, so I’m hoping electoral reform is a huge part of our platform going forward. In 2015, 63% of voters voted for a progressive platform (if you include the Liberals’ prevarications). Unfortunately, we elected a government that had no intention of carrying out their platform.

    One thing we don’t discuss much as a party is monetary reform, but changing the way we finance our public debt would make a sea change in the things that are possible. Not a platform item, but something we should be thinking about.

    As a senior, of course, i could always use a few more bucks and better healthcare, but if we don’t educate our kids, we are short changing our future. World class education based on merit, not socio-economic status is an absolute must going forward.
  • commented 2017-02-19 15:34:53 -0500
    The global economy is changing. We need to build a new, invovative social security system to ensure that wealth does not pool in limited hands and everyone can live a fulfilling life.
  • commented 2017-02-16 12:19:57 -0500
    What SPECIFICALLY will you do to reduce income inequality? You’ll be just another platitude-spouting politician to many people if you don’t get into how you’ll tangibly improve lives. Increasing taxes on the super wealthy and corporations? Ending the drug war? What?
  • commented 2017-02-16 01:04:05 -0500
    I think that a system of guaranteed Minimum Income is the best way to answer Canadians’ financial woes. Do you support a guaranteed Minimum Income?

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