Global economic uncertainty is shining a bright light on the rapidly growing gap between rich and poor in North America and around the world. In the United States, the consequences have been widespread and severe. Real unemployment is approaching 20 per cent. People are losing their homes to foreclosures. And, for the first time in generations, few young Americans believe their lives will be as prosperous and secure as their parents.
Here, well paying jobs, fair taxation and strong public services built the Canada we know and love. For 20 years across Canada, however, real wages have stagnated, the richest Canadians and corporations have avoided billions in taxes, and successive governments have weakened public services. This has created a gap between rich and poor not seen in generations, and the gap is widening.
The Conference Board of Canada has identified that Canada had the second largest rate of income inequality growth among peer nations from the mid-1990’s to the mid-2000’s. Clearly, the same conditions that have lead to Wall Street exist in Canada as well.
In British Columbia, a decade of tax cuts for the richest British Columbians and corporations combined with stagnant wages for average income earners have left British Columbia families struggling to make ends meet and nervous about their futures. As the cost of living has increased, household debt has piled up and savings eroded. This has got to stop.
The Occupy Wall Street movement expresses an underlying desire for fairness and equality in the economy and our society. The B.C. Federation of Labour stands in solidarity with that desire, as part of the 99 percent, and calls on the governments of British Columbia and Canada to act swiftly and decisively to narrow the gap. The BC Fed will support an ongoing peaceful occupation in Vancouver on these important issues.
Members of the B.C. Federation of Labour will gather Saturday October 15th at the Vancouver Art Gallery at 12:00 p.m. in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement's call for good jobs, fair taxes and strong public services.
For more information visit http://act.bcfed.ca/solidaritywithoccupywallstreet/