Generally Eclectic

Equality/Inequality in Canada - Under Development

Assumptions

>
IssuesOptions
More Equality Less Equality
1. The Social Contract and Canada's Constitution: Democratic, organized societies operate on a quasi-contract between those that govern and those that govern. In Canada's case, this contract is articulated in Canada's constitution. Section 36 of Canada's Constitution states that "(1) Parliament and the legislatures, together with the government of Canada and the provincial governments, are committed to (a) promoting equal opportunities for the well-being of Canadians;(b) furthering economic development to reduce disparity in opportunities ..." The Constitution defines Canada's core values. While not addressing equality of income or wealth, it does address the question of equality of opportunities, with commitments to promote equal opportunities and to reduce disparities in opportunities. Opportunity is presumably a precursor of income and wealth. Consistent with Canada's Constitution, particularly where public policies provide equal opportunities for education. Potentially inconsistent with Canada's Constitution, to the extent that economic inequality among families deprives children of poorer families an adequate education at a reasonable cost. Currently, Aboriginal children living on reserve and perhaps elsewhere receive an inferior education to most Canadians. Many non-Aboriginal chilren do not have ready access to the jobs currently available. Many young people attending post-secondary education institutes face, on completion of their programs, significant debts that hamper their ability to move productively into the work force.
2. Ethics: Definitions of "ethics" include "moral principles that govern a person's or group's behaviour", "rules of behaviour based on ideas of what is morally good or bad", "moral principles that govern's a person's behaviour or conducting an activity". Inherent in the definition are notions of "good" and "bad", "better" or "worse". Sources of these notions in individuals include organized religions (Christianity, Islam, Bahai, Hinduism), spirituality (looking inward for direction) and evolutionary biology. In democratic societies, individual values are presumed to be reflected in societal values about what is "good" or "bad", "better" or "worse".
Acording to Census Statistics (2011), 69 percent of Canadians identified themselves as Christian. Only 24 percent identified themselves as having no religious affiliation.
As the vast majority of Canadians are Christian, Christian ethics should matter with Canada's democracy. While as a general rule Christianity does not tackle the issue of inequality directly, the teachings of Jesus emphasized the obligation of all humans to look after each other, and the obligations of the more able to look after the less able. While Christianity does not address unequal incomes, it hints at equality of consumption. Mechanisms to achieve this could include income taxes and charity.
Our evolution has given us a rich endowment of feelings. If one classified those feelings in terms of equality and inequality, the positive feelings (sharing, compassion, empathy, fulfilment,selflessness, trust, commitment to others, love, kindness, togetherness, etc.) would tend to be associated with equality, and the negative feelings (greed, desire, envy, jealousy, selfishness, disgust,cruelty,indignation, etc.) would tend to be associated with inequality. In an evolutionary sense, while primitive societies based on intimate social groups had leaders and followers, gross inequality that has arisen when societies moved beyond primitive social groupings is a relatively recent phenomenon, and potentially contrary to basic human nature.
3. Happiness/Life Satisfaction: Happiness, in modern psychology, is not about emotions such as momentary joy, elation, satisfaction and the like, but about "life satisfaction". It is normally measured by asking individuals how happy they are with their life at a point in time.
4. Economics
4.1. Meeting Basic Needs
4.2. Work Incentives/Labour Productivity
4.3. Long Term Growth
4.3.1. Incentives to Save
4.3.2. Effeciveness of Financial Intermediaries
4.3.3. Investment Quality
4.4. Stable Growth
4.5. The Cost of Mistrust
5. Politics
5.1. Systemic Inequality
5.2. Rule of Law, Stability, Social Cohesion
5.3. Capacity for Mobilization
6. Health