trudeau-middleclass_thumb-1.png
trudeau-middleclass_thumb-1.png This article is more than 3 years old

Focus Group to Finance Canada: Trudeau’s Government is Not Doing Enough For The Middle Class

Many Canadians perceive a disconnect between the federal government's middle class rhetoric and its policies.

NEWPP.gif

It turns out words and actions may not be the same thing.

Despite the Trudeau government’s sunny rhetoric about helping the middle class, its very own public opinion research suggests Canadians are having trouble seeing any results. 

According to newly released public opinion research on Canada’s economy prepared for Finance Canada, bureaucrats concluded there is a “widespread perception” the Trudeau’s government “could do more for the middle class.”

“At least some participants in each group felt that the Government of Canada could be doing more to assist the middle class,” reads the report published internally in February 2017 based on focus groups held across the country.

widespreadperception-middleclass.jpg

Focus groups also said they’d like the Trudeau government to do more to help those struggling to join the middle class: 

“Some participants felt that the Government of Canada should focus as much (or more) on the ‘lower’ class and try to pull more members of this class up into the ‘middle class’. Specific measures that were identified to help achieve this include establishing a minimum guaranteed income and improving job-training programs (in partnership with the provinces).” 

What would most Canadians like to see?

Based on the feedback Finance Canada received, one of the top ideas is having high earners and corporate “pay their ‘fair share’ of taxes:

• Make “wealthy Canadians” and big business pay their fair share through increased corporate and income taxes;

• “Taxing big polluters”;

• “Cracking down on tax havens.”

Here are a few other ideas the focus groups had about how Trudeau’s government can make life more affordable and reduce inequality:

• “Helping create better jobs (i.e. permanent, full-time, well-paying jobs” and “increasing the minimum wage”;

• “Implementing a national daycare program” and “extending paid parental leave”;

• “Increasing the availability of subsidized/affordable housing”;

Given the current state of things, maybe these answers should come as no surprise. 

As Postmedia columnist Tom Parkin recently noted, Statistics Canada reports the average Canadian wage in May 2017 was just $25.88 an hour — only 33 cents (or 1.3%) up from May 2016. That’s below the rate of inflation, which stands at 1.7%.

And it gets worse: 

“From 2006 to 2015, Canadians in the top two income deciles—the top 20%—increased their share of Canada’s total after-tax income from 44% to 45%. The share of each of the other eight deciles—80% of Canadians—shrank.”

In other words: Canada’s middle class is shrinking, people are feeling the squeeze, and many feel the government isn’t doing enough to reverse the trend.

That reflects what Finance Canada was told too.

Asked to describe their feelings about how the economy is affecting them, respondents were most likely to choose words like “uncertainty,” “insecurity” and “precarious.” 

pressprogress-invest-button.png

 

 

Help us protect Canadians by holding the powerful accountable.

Journalism is an important public service. That’s why PressProgress is prioritizing stories aimed at keeping Canadians safe and holding the powerful accountable during the coronavirus pandemic.

Please consider supporting our award-winning non-profit news organization so we can keep making a positive impact for Canadians.

 

Support Our Journalism
PressProgress
PressProgress is an award-winning non-profit news organization focused on uncovering and unpacking the news through original investigative and explanatory journalism.

Most Shared

thumb-2021-06-027 New

Doug Ford’s Government Cut Education By More Than Half a Billion Dollars, New Report Finds

Related Stories

New

Conservative MP Who Opposed Conversion Therapy Bill Spoke at Conference Organized By European Far-Right, Anti-LGBTQ Groups

View the post
Fact-Check

Celebrity Millionaire W. Brett Wilson Boosted a Misleading Tweet About Electric Cars. Right-Wing Facebook Pages Made It Go Viral.

View the post
News

Lost Wages, Security and Voice: New Report Documents Workers’ Experiences of Subcontracting in BC’s Long-Term Care Sector

View the post

Explainers

Power and democracy

Andrea Reimer

Why Canadian Politics Does Such a Bad Job at Reflecting Working Class Values

View the post
Politics & strategy

Tom Parkin

Why Jason Kenney is Playing Politics with the Horrific Legacy of Canada’s Residential Schools

View the post
Work & rights

Liz Walker and Shanice Regis-Wilkins

Here is What Everyone in Canada Needs To Know About How Collective Bargaining Really Works

View the post