POLL: Over two-thirds of Canadians back a wealth tax

Rising inequality is often ignored by neoliberal politicians focusing on profit and growth while social concerns are often not on the political radar.

Support is steady across demographic, regional and even party lines

Image result for ricochet POLL: Over two-thirds of Canadians back a wealth tax

A new poll conducted by Abacus Data on behalf of advocacy group North 99, and provided exclusively to Ricochet Media, shows that the newfound appetite for a wealth tax in the United States has spread north of the border.

A wealth tax, championed by U.S. politicians like Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, would levy an additional tax on the assets of the super rich. Unlike policies such as a new top marginal tax rate that have also been floated by Ocasio-Cortez and others, a wealth tax would apply not only to income but to all assets.

67 per cent of all Canadians support or somewhat support a wealth tax

The poll of 2,000 Canadians was weighted to reflect census data and tested the proposal of a two per cent wealth tax on individuals with assets over $50 million, payable annually.

It found a staggering 67 per cent of all Canadians support or somewhat support the proposal. Only 14 per cent were opposed or somewhat opposed, while 17 per cent were unsure or felt they didn’t have enough information to respond.

“There is a real appetite, a real demand among voters across the political spectrum for bold, progressive policies”

What we see here,” explained Taylor Scollon, co-director of North 99, “is that policies that politicians are not necessarily talking about, that we don’t hear a lot about, to address rising inequality and lack of opportunity for workers, for the middle class, are quite popular. But they are just not present in the discourse right now.

These ideas are being talked about a lot more in the U.S., Elizabeth Warren has put out a similar proposal, but these are policies that Canadians support too.” MORE

Outrageous Fortune: Documenting Canada’s Wealth Gap

Ontario NDP wants to declare a climate emergency but Doug Ford won’t let them

Since coming to power, [the Ford government has] cancelled climate change mitigation programs including Ontario’s participation in a billion-dollar cap and trade market that funded green energy programs, as well as energy conservation programs, green vehicle rebates, electric vehicle charging stations, and a program to plant 50 million trees.


NDP leader Andrea Horwath and Ontario Premier Doug Ford seen in the provincial legislature on October 3, 2018. Photo by Carlos Osorio

The NDP wants Ontario to declare a climate change emergency but Premier Doug Ford’s response was another attack on the federal carbon tax as “one of the biggest climate crises right now.”

Ford made the remarks in the legislature Thursday after the New Democratic Party tabled a motion to declare a climate emergency in the province. If the Official Opposition motion was adopted, Ontario would be the first Canadian province or territory to declare a climate emergency, following a trend of such declarations by municipal councils in Ottawa, Vancouver, Halifax, Hamilton and Kingston.

“Declaring a climate emergency is an opportunity for Queen’s Park to change direction, and take on the biggest challenge humankind has ever faced,” NDP leader Andrea Horwath said in a statement. MORE

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Elizabeth May’s Greens Need to Fix Their Indigenous ‘Vision’

Party’s positions are thin, unrealistic and riddled with embarrassing errors.

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Green Party leader MP Elizabeth May joined Will George of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation and others protesting the Kinder Morgan Pipeline last year in Burnaby. But her party’s stance on Indigenous issues badly needs work. Photo: Michael Wheatley/Alamy Live News

The Green Party by-election victory in Nanaimo on May 6th could be called a breakthrough — it is only their second federal electoral victory, and coming days after the near election of a Green provincial government in Prince Edward Island, it shows that increasingly many Canadians are seeing the Greens as a valid alternative. Among those looking seriously at the Green Party for the first time are Indigenous people — who after a litany of disappointments by the Trudeau government, are looking for a new home for their votes.

Rumours are circulating that former Liberal justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould is considering a run with the Greens in the next election. Before being expelled from the Liberal caucus, Wilson-Raybould was at the heart of that party’s reconciliation agenda. The legitimacy she and other Indigenous candidates brought, together with Liberal promises to Indigenous people, and outreach efforts resulted in the largest Native vote in Canadian history.

Wilson-Raybould’s appearance at Green Party leader Elizabeth May’s wedding on April 22nd may be a sign that she is getting ready to do for May in 2019 what she did for Trudeau in 2015.

However, it will take much more than the mere presence of Wilson-Raybould to make the Green Party an appealing place for Indigenous voters, because while some Native people are considering voting Green, it’s clear from their platform that the Green Party has given next to no consideration to Native people or our issues.

Among those policies is a promise aboriginal to “set a date for the Repeal of the Indian Act, ideally in less than 10 years, to allow all nations and interested parties to prepare.”

No one likes the Indian Act, but asking First Nations governments to prepare policy and bureaucracy to do the job of every single part of it in less than 10 years is asking for the impossible. Such an imposition would, in an instant, require 600-plus bands with populations ranging from a few dozen to a few thousand to create inheritance policy, land codes, taxation regimes, membership codes, human rights regulation, conflict resolution policies, election codes, public housing authorities, education authorities, child welfare authorities, fish and game regulation, agricultural regulation, and on and on and on. MORE

 

‘How we treat women’

“Qajaq Robinson, a commissioner for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), says her team has looked more closely at the issue [of man camps] over the course of the inquiry’s mandate, noting that there’s a sense of “freedom from accountability” among transient workers. “How you treat the land,” she says, “reflects how you treat women.””

Worker camps make it possible to build infrastructure in remote locations in Canada. Is it worth the human cost?


Photograph by Amber Bracken

Fort St. John is situated in northern B.C.’s Peace River region, a landscape that is a beauty to behold. Statistics Canada lists the city’s population at about 20,000, but locals are quick to acknowledge that they live in a place containing two distinct communities: one that’s from here and one that isn’t—a “shadow population” that roughly doubles the resident number, depending on the season. For decades, the city has thrived off oil, gas, coal and hydroelectric development. These projects, which include the controversial and costly Site C dam, draw workers from across the country and around the world to the industrial camps that dot the region.

Jobs offered to the transient workforce pay well, but the high wages fuel demand that strains local services and raises the cost of living. Rents in Fort St. John are higher than any other part of the province except Vancouver. Locals loathe the long wait times at the hospital, a symptom of staff shortages and the influx of people. The city’s income gap between men and women is more than double the national average: men earn almost twice as much. Still, to many, Fort St. John is a success story. Industry fuels the local and broader economy, and the camps—clusters of mobile housing units that shelter mostly male employees—are temporary symbols of a Canadian dream in the making.

But there’s also destruction, both terrestrial and human. Images of the lacerated and crumbling earth around Site C have gone viral, and tied to the ruin, say First Nations women in the area, is a more immediate danger. For years, Fort St. John has been an epicentre of stories involving sexual assault and missing Indigenous women. In 2017, the city had a sexual assault rate of 100.01 incidents per 100,000 people, nearly double the national average of 56.56. The Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society says 15 First Nations women from the area are missing or have been murdered. MORE

 

 

‘We Don’t Know a Planet Like This’: CO2 Levels Hit 415 PPM for First Time in 3 Million+ Years

It’s time the Prince Edward County Council declared a climate emergency. Not to do so is inexcusable. It’s time to put pressure on our councillors. Write today!

“How is this not breaking news on all channels all over the world?”


It’s a “climate emergency.” Environmental campaigners stand on top of a DLR train at Canary Wharf Underground Station during the third day of a coordinated protest by the Extinction Rebellion group on April 17, 2019 in London, England. More than 100 arrests have been made, with demonstrations blocking a number of locations across the capital. (Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Atmospheric levels of carbon registered 415 parts per million over the weekend at one of the world’s key measuring stations, a concentration level researchers say has not existed in more than 3 million years – before the dawn of human history.

Taken at the Mauno Loa Observatory in Hawaii by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the measure continues the upward trend of atmospheric carbon concentration that lies at the heart of the global warming and climate crisis:

Meteorologist Eric Holthaus, a journalist who covers the climate crisis for Grist, contextualized the latest readings in a tweet that was shared widely on Sunday:

This is the first time in human history our planet’s atmosphere has had more than 415ppm CO2. Not just in recorded history, not just since the invention of agriculture 10,000 years ago. Since before modern humans existed millions of years ago. We don’t know a planet like this.

One person responded to the Holthaus tweet by asking, “How is this not breaking news on all channels all over the world?” MORE

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SUNRISE MOVEMENT CALLS FOR MASS CLIMATE DEMONSTRATION OUTSIDE DEMOCRATIC DEBATE IN DETROIT

“I wish as a public servant I could tell you everything is going to be alright, but I can’t tell you that today, because I’m not interested in lying to you…frankly there is no reason for us to be comfortable right now.” – Alexandria  Ocasio-Cortez

Sunrise Movement co-founder Varshini Prakash addresses The Road to the Green New Deal Tour final event at Howard University in Washington, Monday, May 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Sunrise Movement co-founder Varshini Prakash speaks during The Road to the Green New Deal Tour event at Howard University in Washington, D.C., on May 13, 2019. Photo: Cliff Owen/AP

ON MONDAY NIGHT, at the final stop on the Sunrise Movement’s “Road to a Green New Deal” tour across the United States, the group called for a mass youth-led mobilization to pressure Democratic candidates to make the 2020 election a referendum on climate change. On July 30, the scheduled date for the the second Democratic presidential debate, Sunrise hopes to bring tens of thousands of young people to Detroit to present all the Democratic contenders with three demands:

  • Sign the no fossil fuel money pledge.
  • Commit to making the Green New Deal a day one priority if elected president.
  • Pledge support for a presidential debate on climate change so voters can hear where candidates stand on the issues.

Sunrise co-founder Varshini Prakash called it the “largest action our movement has organized to date for the Green New Deal.” Monday night’s event came exactly six months since Sunrise activists staged a protest in the office of soon-to-be-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, joined by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who had yet to be sworn in to Congress.

Some 1,500 people turned up for the sold-out event in the Cramton Auditorium at Howard University to hear Ocasio-Cortez, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Ed Markey, policy writer Rhiana Gunn-Wright, and Intercept columnist Naomi Klein, among others. The event came just one week after a landmark UN report concluded that at least a million species are at risk of extinction due to human activity, and just days after carbon dioxide levels were recorded at the highest levels ever in human history.  MORE

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