A new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives entitled "The Rise of Canada's Richest 1%" is highlighting the continuing growth of income inequality in Canada. The disparity has been been growing since the beginning of the 1980s when neoliberal policies started to be enacted in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States; however, the enactment of these policies don't paint a complete picture, one needs to look to the wider social and policy trends that have seen the gradual erosion of the social safety net, stagnation in taxation policy, the process of globalization being imposed on an unwilling population, and the rise of transnational corporations.
The last three decades has also seen the shrinking of the middle class in Canada as wages stagnated and were unable to keep up with inflation. The biggest losers in this equation have been: young people, recent immigrants, high-school dropouts, single parents, single people between 45 and 64, Aboriginals, and the disabled - these groups have borne the brunt of the continue shift away from a manufacturing economy to one relying on knowledge and resource extraction. It seems that factors like class, race, and educational achievement that rarely get discussed explicitly within the political class are becoming areas of growing concern, one simply cannot have strong economy growth when large swathes of the population are excluded from the economic mainstream.
Income inequality is one of the great challenges of our age and its effects are impacting all spheres of social, cultural, and political life. This rise in income inequality has been paralleled by an explosion in the prison population, the rapid ascendancy of high levels of student debt, and a crumbling infrastructure - in a world that's growing smaller all these phenomena are closely linked. Charting a path towards resolving these issues and enacting solution may be difficult, but it's one that will become necessary in the medium to long term. Environments like the one we're currently experiencing don't have a tendency to last.