February 07, 2017

The Wealth Gap in British Columbia

Something has been happening on Canada's left coast and it isn't fair.

A small number of people in BC have become wealthier, the rising cost of living (especially of housing) and a trend towards lower wages have combined to increase the gap between the rich and poor significantly.

In fact, BC is now the most unequal province in Canada.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives shows that the BC Liberals "decade of tax cuts" and continuing "regressive changes to the provincial tax system" helped to "exacerbate growing income inequality in BC."

At the beginning of the century the wealthiest ten percent saw their earnings "spike" while the lowest fifty percent saw their earnings drop. And this after the BC Liberals under Gordon Campbell introduced tax changes that benefited top earners.

The trend has continued under Christy Clark, indeed the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition says the income gap in BC is growing at a faster rate than most of the other provinces in Canada, noting that the "average household income of the top one percent in BC has increased by thirty-six percent since the mid-2000s." The most recent available data from Statistics Canada shows that the richest ten percent in this province own more that fifty percent of all the wealth in British Columbia.

Christy Clark, our smiling photo-opportunist premier, doesn't mention the growing polarization within the province, but her regressive tax policies continue to exacerbate the problem.

Something isn't right here.

Graphs by Press Progress. Copyright 2017 by Jim Murray. 

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