Why we shouldn’t worry about wealth inequality in Canada

Age and accumulated wealth account for much of the discrepancy. And that's just normal life-cycle economics

Why we shouldn’t worry about wealth inequality in CanadaMuch ado about nothing. The title of the Shakespearean comedy comes to mind when I think about the attention devoted to wealth inequality in recent years. The left's (and much of the major media's) preoccupation with economic inequality is fundamentally misplaced and has diverted attention away from the real problems we face. For example, take…

Why the workforce gender gap matters to business

Reducing barriers to adding women to the workforce in Canada could add $150 billion to $420 billion in GDP over 10 years

Why the workforce gender gap matters to businessBy Denise Mullen and Kristine St.-Laurent Business Council of British Columbia In British Columbia and Canada more broadly, the proportion of females aged 15 and over who participate in the labour force remains nine percentage points below that of males. And it has stayed this way since the early 1990s. Why does this matter? Sometimes,…

We need to measure basic-needs poverty, not inequality

The fundamental problem with relative measures of poverty is that they often give us results that border on absurd

We need to measure basic-needs poverty, not inequalityDoes Canada need a new measure of poverty? That’s what Michael Wolfson, member of the Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics at the University of Ottawa, recently argued. According to Wolfson, poverty (in the Canadian context) is hard to measure because it’s connected to issues such as disability, literacy, food insecurity and the like.…

Time for #MeToo to shift to the #IRegret movement

The focus on consent has made men all over the world stop and think. Am I one of those men?

Time for #MeToo to shift to the #IRegret movementStrangely, this weird moment in history is a good time to be alive. I've been a feminist most of my adult life, at least since I realized power imbalances were rampant in present and past societies. After dedicating most of the 1990s and 2000s to fighting the good fight in the trenches, I burned out and left…

Quest for equality must first address poverty, childcare

Too many people are one job loss, one illness, one retirement or one calamity away from disaster. We need income security

Quest for equality must first address poverty, childcareWhen I was an economics student years ago, the last living student of John Maynard Keynes, noted economist Joan Robinson, gave a lecture to a packed hall. During the question period, one smart aleck student asked, “Why should anyone study economics?” After a prolonged pause, her answer was simple, “So you know when economists are…

Pay equity laws alone won’t close the gap

Canadian families need affordable, accessible child care to effectively address gender equity issues

Pay equity laws alone won’t close the gapThere were a lot of old ghosts haunting the Liberal government when it tabled its budget on Feb. 27. But have these spectres brought change to women’s lives in the wake of the recent International Women’s Day? Not likely. The budget announced proactive pay equity for workers in federally regulated sectors (banking, communication, transportation, Crown…

Sharing the spoils in a world ruled by the few

In a future ruled by titans, plebs lose opportunities to innovate. Advancement depends on idea generation in the hands of the many rather than the few

Sharing the spoils in a world ruled by the fewLast week’s announcement that Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase are forming a new health-care company to cover their employees is an interesting case study in creating haves and have nots. It’s an intriguing concept because of how fractured the United States health-care system is. No doubt other companies will join suit and pool their…

Stephen Harper in the rearview mirror

Calling the Harper years a particularly dark time for Canada is partisan fiction, not reality

Stephen Harper in the rearview mirrorWilliam Watson’s Financial Post columns are invariably worth reading. As centre-right economists go, his general perspective isn’t unusual, but his penchant for digging into data can be illuminating. One of the things that a dispassionate person might take away from Watson is a more nuanced view of former Canadian Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper. Harper,…

Just who’s the bully when it comes to minimum wage hikes?

Government generally has little or no understanding of franchising, how food distribution forces play out or even simply how small businesses operate

Just who’s the bully when it comes to minimum wage hikes?Dramatically increasing minimum wages in the food industry is irresponsible and even reckless. On Jan. 1, Ontario’s minimum wage increased by 22 per cent, to $14 an hour. It will go to $15 on Jan. 1, 2019. That’s almost a 32 per cent increase in 12 months. Other provinces, such as Alberta and B.C., will follow…

Charity is not enough to fight poverty, social inequality

Food banks remain a symptom of bigger problems – poverty and social inequality. We need systemic change to fix those bigger problems

Charity is not enough to fight poverty, social inequalityWe’ve just emerged from the season when everyone wants to help support their local food bank initiatives. But ‘sharing the season’ always poses a tough question for me: How do we help our neighbours when, according to Canada Without Poverty, there are 4.9 million neighbours to help? The number of Canadians in need only seems…

Communism’s pernicious influence persists despite the best evidence

On the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, some romantics still embrace the fallacies of communism and its sister socialism

Communism’s pernicious influence persists despite the best evidenceA number of Canadian newspapers recently noted the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. The attention was misplaced and lacked perspective. In 1917, a small band of fierce, committed and violent extremists seized control of the Tsarist Russian Empire. They then created the much more oppressive and murderous Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. After the success…

Lowering costs, not raising wages, key to helping low-income earners

Remove trade barriers, end supply management and reduce payroll taxes – don't hike minimum wages – if you really want to address income discrepancies in Canada

Lowering costs, not raising wages, key to helping low-income earnersPeople tend to applaud minimum wage increases but those increases more likely harm those who policy-makers want to help. New Brunswick’s government has raised the minimum wage by 35 cents to $11 an hour, the 12th provincial increase since 2007. This moves the wage floor to the highest level in three decades. The minimum wage…