Oct 282013

Dr. John Myles – Inequality and the Fading Politics of Income Redistribution

For decades, social progressives in Canada focused almost exclusively on the ups-and-downs of the poverty rate to press their case for policy innovation.  As in most Anglo Saxon countries, anti-poverty rhetoric has a long history in Canada and governments have had a quasi-mandate to take action in the face of poverty surges.

But there is no parallel political foundation or historical legacy for addressing the Canadian experience of the past three decades: an inequality  surge driven by rising incomes at the top with  no corresponding rise in poverty rates.  No government agency has responsibility for taking action when the Gini coefficient goes up.

The upshot, I conclude, has been a fading of both redistributive policy and of redistributive politics in Canada.  A revival of the egalitarian impulse in Canadian politics will require both a new political rhetoric and new political coalitions to move it forward.

Dr. John Myles, Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Senior Fellow,  School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto, is the 2013 recipient of the Canadian Sociological Association’s Outstanding Contribution Lecture Award.

Date: Thursday, May 29, 2014

Time: 12:30pm – 1:30pm

Location: Concordia Lutheran Seminary

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