Earlier this week, I spoke to you about a study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. I invite my colleagues to consult another study that I have been reading, which is entitled: All in a Day’s Work? CEO Pay in Canada.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives said that at 1:11 p.m., on January 2, 2012, or midway through the first work day of the year, most of the 100 top-earning CEOs in Canada had already earned $46,634, or the entire annual salary of most Canadians working full time.
By the end of 2012, each of those 100 CEOs had pocketed $7.96 million, or 171 times more than the average Canadian man and 194 times more than the average Canadian woman. As you know, we have not reached parity.
What does the government intend to do to learn from the financial crisis, reduce wealth inequality, and follow the lead of other jurisdictions that have started to rein in compensation that has nothing to do with the productivity of the people who earn the average salary of a Canadian in half a day? read more…
I would like to digress for a moment and say to the Leader of the Government in the Senate that I am sure he did well in his constitutional law course. Perhaps the government should consult him on these issues, given that he is not part of cabinet. His explanation of regional representation was very clear, and I agree with him on that.
My question is far more trivial and mundane. It stems from a report that we just received, titled Outrageous Fortune: Documenting Canada’s Wealth Gap. I have read it and I would simply like to share some numbers and ask how we can remedy the issues addressed in the report.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives just released this report, which indicates that the 86 wealthiest individuals and families in Canada, or 0.002 per cent of the population, keep getting richer and now hold $178 billion in wealth, which is more than the poorest 11.4 million Canadians combined. That is enough to buy up everything in New Brunswick — I apologize for mentioning a specific province — and still have $40 billion to spare. That really puts things into perspective. The numbers have increased since 1999, when the 86 wealthiest people held the same wealth as the poorest 10.1 million Canadians. In other words, the gap is growing every year.
It is clear that the Conservative government’s policies are not only increasing the income gap between the rich and the poor, but also creating a greater inequality of accumulated wealth.
Mr. Leader, how does your government intend to remedy the situation to help the least fortunate and stem the impoverishment of the middle-class, which is favouring Canada’s richest individuals? Specifically, how is the latest budget going to do that? read more…
After listening to the wise words of my colleagues, I would like to add my francophone voice to theirs and quote from a journalist whom I have always admired: Manon Cornellier. Yesterday, she wrote an article in Le Devoir entitled “My party first”. I felt that that party was not mine. If it is not mine, it must be the other one. She wrote, and I quote:
The debate going on in Ottawa about reforming the Elections Act is clearly little short of absurd.
I cannot say that I find this very flattering in the light of our current exercise. If a distinguished woman like Manon Cornellier writes that, I feel that we too must give some thought to the way in which our debate is unfolding.
As I participate in this discussion, I find it important to remember that the right to vote, as our leader has mentioned, is a fundamental right. I remember that when I was a member of Parliament here I voted on the Constitution of Canada, which recognized this basic right. I am equally convinced that this right cannot be granted arbitrarily.
It is at the foundation of our system. Clearly, we must acknowledge that there are political parties. But the government of the day does not have the exclusive right to draft a bill, prepare a bill, discuss a bill and come to a consensus. I feel that a responsible government must make sure that all political parties are ready to be governed by the Elections Act. This is no ordinary act; it is an act that guarantees the first rights that we are given in the Constitution.
Honourable senators, we must recall that in a number of countries around the world many have died to obtain this right that we have and cherish.
We must remember that this is not simply a formality. We need to do everything we can to ensure that every Canadian has the opportunity to have a say on how their country is governed. read more…
Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.
Leader, together with the Prime Minister we are reacquainting ourselves with the longest word in the French language: “anticonstitutionnellement.”
According to the Supreme Court decision, Justice Nadon was unconstitutionally appointed to the highest court of the land by Prime Minister Harper. That is a serious setback for a Prime Minister who, since 2006, has used judicial and parliamentary institutions and rewarded his friends and supporters in order to further his political interests.
Justice Nadon was the only justice to support the Harper government’s decision not to repatriate Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen, from Guantanamo, which was a clear violation of fundamental rights and international conventions.
Will the Prime Minister commit to complying with the Canadian Constitution when he appoints the next Supreme Court justice?