Why have Canadians’ attitudes toward the poor remained the same during the past decade? Why are some Canadians still poor-bashing? Is it something to do with the attitude of the federal government toward the poor? The federal government started the race-to-the-bottom for the poor with the elimination of the Canada Assistance Plan Act in 1996. The Act was essentially a Bill of Rights for the poor. Recall from the beginning of this essay the definition that inequality is the basis of poverty. Here’s an example from The Spirit Level, p. 17: “Typically, the poorest half of the population get something like 20 or 25 per cent of all incomes and the richest half get 75 or 80 per cent.” Here’s a quotation from one of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) publications, The Monitor, February 2010. From an article by Ed Broadbent titled, “Stop backsliding, put Canada back on the road to equality,” p. 25:
“The present federal government has simply continued its predecessors’ onslaught on equality. As a consequence of the continuing underfunding of social spending and irresponsible and unfair tax cuts, it came as no surprise when we were criticized by the United Nations for failing to live up to our obligations under the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This was followed by an OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] report showing that the level of inequality in Canada is now among the worst in the OECD.”
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