By Henry McRandall
(Editor’s Note: The economic data used
in this column are almost identical
for both Canada and the U.S.)
Over the past 30 years, the vast majority of Canadians have seen household incomes actually decline even as worker productivity surged and more members of the typical household have gone out to work.
And while this was happening, the tax burden on the masses – the poor, the working class and the middle class – has actually increased.
During this same 30 years, the incomes of the elite have soared to the point where the portion of national income gobbled up by the top one percent has more than doubled – from six percent to more than 14 percent.
And while this was happening, federal and provincial governments have lavished tax cut after tax after tax cut on the wealthy and the banks and corporations they control.
These trends have remained constant whether it was the right-wing, neoconservative Conservatives or the supposedly centrist, neoliberal Liberals who were in power.
The top one percent of the economic heap did not double their share of gross national income by growing the national economic pie.
Rather, they did it by stealing fully 10 percent of the total pie from the poor, the working class and the middle class.
They accomplished this by replacing relatively high Canadian wages and relatively high corporate profits with low Canadian wages, fewer employee benefits and exorbitant corporate profits and then arm-twisting the Conservative and Liberal governments whose elections they financed into repeatedly lowering corporate and high-income taxes and shifting their erstwhile burden onto the masses.
A Conservative majority would certainly mean a continuation and an acceleration of these sordid and unjust trends.
So, too, would a coalition of Liberals, NDPers and Bloc Quebecois – unless the NDP becomes the dominant party in that coalition.
Unless the accelerating trend of extreme concentration of wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer Canadians is halted and reversed, Canada is headed for the kind of economic crisis that has plagued the U.S. and much of Europe in recent years.
In the U.S. – where there are only two viable political parties, both of which are owned by the exact same banks and corporations – the situation is probably hopeless. Americans may be lured into thinking they are voting for meaningful change but as long as the Democrats and the Republican Tea Party are owned by the banks and corporations and the same billionaires and mega-millionaires who control those banks and corporations, there can be no meaningful change.
But Canadians still have a chance – perhaps one last chance – to vote for real change and get real change.
While the Conservatives and the Liberals are both owned by the banks and the corporations and the billionaires and mega-millionaires, there is one viable national party in Canada that does not even accept corporate contributions – the NDP.
If the bottom 80 percent of Canadians are ever to reclaim what the top one percent have stolen from them over the past 30 years, then they must abandon both the Conservatives and the Liberals.
On Monday, May 2, if you are a Canadian, please vote NDP.
Let’s see if they’re really different.
Why Canada needs an NDP government
By Henry McRandall