According to a new report, the wealth of Canada’s billionaires has hit a record high. The ten most affluent Canadians now have a combined wealth of $127 billion. A different source had pegged their 2016 wealth at around $108 billion. That’s an increase of 17% over just a few years.

While average Canadians struggle to make ends meet, the super-rich are accumulating exorbitant amounts of wealth. Just this year, it was reported that nearly half of all Canadians are $200 away from financial insolvency.  

Forget paycheque to paycheque. That’s one grocery trip or one electricity bill away from falling into never-ending debt. The economy may be doing well, the economy may be getting bigger, but regular folks aren’t benefiting.

This is precisely why we need a wealth tax. A meagre one or two percent tax on the wealth of the most well-heeled could significantly improve the livelihoods of average Canadians struggling to get by.

Governments across the country are instead choosing to exacerbate economic inequalities by doling out large tax breaks to these same billionaires and their corporations. 

Conservative governments, in particular, have taken it a step further by simultaneously cutting the public programs which had offered the slightest helping hand to the most vulnerable. In Alberta, Jason Kenney’s United Conservatives combined both by cutting supports for the severely disabled in order to pay for their corporate tax handouts. 

While the mainstream media and right-wing think tanks frame a wealth tax as a contentious policy, the truth is that the idea has overwhelming support. According to a poll commissioned by North99 conducted by Abacus Data, over two-thirds of Canadians support implementing a wealth tax.

In the United States, the policy idea has become a central issue in the 2020 Democratic Primaries. Frontrunners like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders both support some variation of a wealth tax. There as well, the idea has popular support. Nearly 74% of voters back an annual wealth tax.

Of course, most (if not all) billionaires hate the idea. Their mouthpieces in the corporate media, like the National Post, attack and discredit the idea.

The people, however, seem to love the plan. The more they hear about it, the more supportive they are. It’s time for our political class to listen and adopt policies like a wealth tax that Canadians overwhelmingly support.

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