By Errol Black and Shauna MacKinnon
In a recent report on income inequality in Manitoba (Income Inequality in Canada: How does Manitoba compare? Can we do better?) we noted that the new PQ government in Quebec had pledged to reduce income inequality by adding two new income tax brackets for people earning $130,000 plus and $250,000 plus per year. Globe and Mail reported yesterday that the PQ had established the new brackets and applied them retroactively. As well, the PQ indicated that it was considering higher tax rates for capital gains and dividends. According to the story the opposition parties “denounced the plan but admitted they would not oppose it in a confidence vote…” Their lack of enthusiasm for a vote presumably reflects the fact there is wide spread support for greater income equality across the country.
In our February 12, 2009 report “Manitobans are committed to poverty reduction. Is the Manitoba government?” we presented the results of polling by Environics Research for CCPA. These results showed that for Manitobans: 87% agreed that if other countries can reduce poverty so can Canada; 86% agree that if governments take concrete action, poverty in Canada can be greatly reduced; 87% said they would be proud if their Premier took the lead on poverty reduction; 86% say that Canada should try to distinguish itself in the world as a country where no one lives in poverty; and 80% called on provincial governments to bring in a concrete strategy to reduce poverty at least 25% over the next five years. In that piece we concluded that Manitobans want inspired leadership in addressing poverty and income inequality. We asked: Is the Manitoba government able to provide that leadership?
Here we are, more than three and a half years later and the question now is: Quebec has taken the lead; does Manitoba dare to follow?