There has been an argument within Canada that the rich section of the society is becoming super rich while those considered as poor are even becoming poorer (Gilbert, 2008). This assertion has elicited various debates with analysts taking to keenly follow the manner in which events have been unfolding within Canadian economy. It is aimed at either proving that the assertion holds or demystifying it all together. According to the latest statistics, earnings among the rich in Canada rise by a significant percentage. Analysts argue that the rise was 16% with the lowest earners’ incomes slumping even deeper by a whopping 20%. This trend was monitored between the year 1980 and 2005 of which the findings show that there is exists a disparity within the incomes of the rich and those of the poor within the Canadian economy.
The income inequalities in Canada is said to have set stage for a diminishing economic growth. Economists argue that such a situation could only mean that the capabilities and skills of the citizens within Canada are not being utilized effectively (Chang, 2013). Such a scenario is argued to undermine various aspects within society such as the social cohesion that effectively becomes a recipe to the various social tensions. Such situations then raise the questions on whether the architects of the economic policies determining such practices are propelled by the need to practice fairness or even social justice. Over the past 20 years, the income inequalities within Canada have significantly increased even though the average Canadian citizen is said to be better currently compared to the earlier days.
Studies show that most of the gains experienced within the Canadian economy have significantly gone to a smaller group of individuals who are considered to be super rich. This group of individuals only forms 20% of the total Canadian population. According to a research study carried out by the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, tax files that were submitted by the super rich reveals that this group of individuals took close to a third of all the growths in income between the year 1998 and 2007. This scenario is different from the previous time when in the 1950s and 1960s; the super rich only took 8% of all the income growths within the Canadian economy. Studies have shown that the abnormal growth in the income of the super rich within Canada is not due to the many assets that they own. Currently, the average income of the super rich individual in Canada estimated to be $ 405,000 which far much above that taken home by a poor person. The super rich are argued to have earlier relied heavily on the incomes from their assets but currently they get their incomes from the work that they do. These sums of money are said to be lavish.
Earlier on, the ownership of various assets such as bonds, property and stocks guaranteed one lavish amounts of income but with time such scenario has changed (Ismael, 2006). Currently, ownership of such properties do not guarantee somebody such levels of lavish income that is why the super rich have resorted to demanding such extravagant amounts for the various roles they perform within the economy. Either, the market forces such as skill biased technical changes have led to an increase in the globalization process. It has significantly increased the rising demand for highly skilled labor. There are those scholars such as Krugman who have advanced the argument that the inequalities within the Canadian economy has been occasioned by the institutional forces that have played out within the economy. The major forces that have led to such situation, according to Krugman, are the declines in the unionization rates, deregulations, stagnations in the minimum wage rates and the many national policies that only favor the rich. Either, there is a significant fall in the top marginal tax rates that has systematically led to the rise of the super rich within Canadian economy.
Analysis of the state of the poor population within Canada reveals that their income levels have over the years remained low not rising with the same margin that the incomes of the super rich have increased. Available data show that the incomes of the lower section of the population always referred to as the poor population, remains at $ 12,400 and have stagnated at that rate since the year 1976. Analysts argue that the poor became even poorer during the period of recession when in the 1980s the average income of the poor section of the society fell from $ 13,500 to $ 12,300. The actual fall happened in the year 1983. Even though the economy recovered from the effects of the recession period, little progress was witnessed until the 1991-1993 recession whose effects are still felt up to now. The real average income for the poor section of the society fell significantly by 2.2 percent a scenario that most analysts attribute to the fall on government transfers.
Further, analysis reveals that the absolute tap between the incomes of the rich within societies in Canada and the poor have grown over time (Seitz & Hite, 2012). The gap grew from $ 92,300 in the year 1976 to the present that stands at $ 117,500 according to a 2009 survey. It shows that even though the poor are considered to be better off minimally on an absolute sense they are worse off from a relative perspective. The most vulnerable individual within the poor population are the Aborigines, disabled, recent immigrants, children among others.
The occupy movement within Canada has push for the initiation of certain measures that are aimed at reducing the level of inequality. The government has come up with three major measures that do help in minimizing the level of inequality. Among the measures are the market incomes that reflect the sums of the earnings from different sources such as private retirement incomes, investment incomes and any other item under other types of incomes that the government uses as a measure to reduce the inequalities. There is also the total income policy that the government uses to minimize the inequality. The government also uses the policy of income after taxes and transfers where the government deducts the federal and provincial taxes.
Within the Canadian economy, the government is worried about the level of inequality that is playing out. Various institutions have also undertaken to study the situation and come up with measures that can possibly minimize the disparity. Tax measures is one of the tools that the government uses to solve this problem where by the super rich are taxed more while the poor are taxed less with the revenue collected from the super rich used to offer services to the poor. International communities and bodies have also taken to monitor the situation in Canada with various calls on the government to reduce the disparity between the super rich Canadians and the poor ones.
The Aboriginal rights have been defined as an inherent and collective right that flows from the original occupation of land that currently referred to Canada for purposes of pre-contact orders of the social systems (Kasoff et al. 2013). These rights can be summed up as the independence rights through which self-determination through governance is practiced. It is also a system through which land and other resources are utilized. Either, it also enables the people practice through their cultural traditions. These rights are usually asserted by the people of the First nations in Canada, the Inuit and the Metis people of Canada. These rights are affirmed in the constitutional Act of 1982. Either, the supreme court in Canada has also held that the aboriginal rights have a provision that do protect a wider spectrum that has a wide range. They range from the legal recognitions for customary practices that include marriages and adoption. Either, the rights also include specific site exercises such as harvesting rights and any other right in which no claim is made on lands. It also asserts aboriginal titles to the traditional lands.
When it comes to proving aboriginal rights, the Canadian Supreme Court has firmly held that claimants must demonstrate that the rights they attest to form an integral part of the indigenous societies’ distinct exercises, which were practiced at the time the community came into contact with the European population (Grabb et al. 2009). These rights exclude the aboriginal titles that are automatic. Those practices that came into existence due to the European influences are never protected. Analysts argue that this is a paradox that is commonly expressed whenever there are commercial dealings in relation to fish or furs trade. This trade is seen as a product of the European influences and contacts and did not form an integral part of the aboriginal society. Fishing practices that are carried out for purposes of food or ceremonial community services are also protected under aboriginal rights. They can be exercised through modern ways and by using the modern fishing equipments.
The supreme court of Canada ruled that for one to prove entitlement to the lands, one had to show that such claims had to show exclusivity in terms of occupation of the territory that is defined by an aboriginal society (Kasoff et al. 2013). The definition has to have taken place at the time the British asserted their authority within the territory. The ruling manifested itself during the ruling of Delgamuukw in a 1997 case in which the court also ruled that any oral histories of the aboriginal people were supposed to be accepted as evidence in any court of law since they provided a historical evidence of use and occupation. There are also various land treaties that guide the usage of land within Canada.
The Nisga’a land treaty is the most notable land treaty that was signed into law in the year 1998. It followed a 25 year negotiation process that was preceded by the Calder Case of 1973. The treaty has already been ratified by the Nisga’a nations and is argued that the BC legislature should also ratify it. The content of this treaty has elicited much debate especially within the BC legislature and various figures have petitioned the courts to challenge it. The treaty is seen by many as a bellwether on the part of the BC treaty process and is argued that it is an indication that the court processes for negotiated settlements that are expressed in the Delgamuukw case are likely to be realized.
There are various land claims whose processes have been established by the federal government (Grabb et al. 2009). The process enables the first nations, the INUIT and the METIS to obtain various full recognitions for their rights under various treaties. It also enables them be recognized fully as the original inhabitants of the land that is now called Canada. These treaties have been protected constitutionally and are mutually binding. There are those treaties that were signed between the people of aboriginal descent that are commonly referred to as the historic treaties. These treaties were signed between the years of 1701 and 1923. Either, there are also modern treaties that were further negotiated after the period stated above of 1923.
The land claims are meant to provide jurisdiction over any land and other resources by determining the rights and obligations of various parties and also resolve any land ownership disputes. These treaties are meant to offer guidance and leadership on matter related top land ownership. There has been opposition towards the land treaties and claims as majority feel that they give the people of aboriginal descent more clout when it comes to matters related to land. Analysts argue that the opposition experienced so far is healthy as it is a pointer to the need of initiating land reforms. Therefore, the opposition is meant to point out at the weaknesses of the land laws that require many reforms to make them all inclusive and favorable.
The Canadian society is bogged with various land conflicts that pit individuals against each other. The Canadian land laws and any other agreement in relation to the land administration were made to avert any conflict that might arise due to land wrangles. In the Canadian economy, land is considered an important factor of production. It is valued highly among the wealthy and those not so wealthy. Most lands in Canada are used for farming activities which fetch a substantial amount of income. Various parties are interested in the land and thus the government and other arms of governance have instituted procedures and regulations to guide through land administration. The aboriginal people, being the first inhabitants of Canada, have their interest and rights in land catered for in the laws so that they are not disadvantaged.
Gilbert, G. (2008). Rich And Poor In America: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO.
Chang, Tim. (2013). Wake-Up Call: Economic, Political, Social, And Psychological Factors That Can Erode Your Wealth. Iuniverse Inc.
Ismael, S. T. (2006). Child Poverty And The Canadian Welfare State: From Entitlement To Charity. Edmonton: Univ. Of Alberta Press.
Seitz, J. L., & Hite, K. A. (2012). Global Issues: An Introduction. Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons.
Kasoff, Mark; Patrick James. (2013). Canadian Studies In The New Millennium, Second Edition Toronto: University Of Toronto Press.
Grabb, Edward; Guppy, Neil. (2009). Social Inequality In Canada: Patterns Problems, Policies. Fifth Edition. Scarborough: Pearson Press.