Two richest Canadians have wealth equal to 11 million poorest

David Thomson, Galen Weston

The Council of Canadians vision statement highlights that economic globalization and unregulated market capitalism have divided the world – and Canada – into rich and poor as at no time in living history.

The Canadian Press now reports, "The two richest Canadians have the same amount of wealth as the poorest 30 per cent of the country combined, according to a new report from a group of international aid organizations. The Oxfam report says the wealth of billionaire businessmen David Thomson and Galen Weston Sr. equals that of about 11 million Canadians."

David Thomson has an estimated net worth of $37 billion. His family's holding company is The Woodbridge Company, which own 59.6 per cent of the Thomson Reuters media empire and 100 per cent of The Globe and Mail. Galen Weston has an estimated net worth of US $8.9 billion and maintains a controlling interest in Loblaw Companies, the largest food retailer in this country.

The news article adds, "The group of organizations, under the banner group Oxfam International, published its report 'An Economy for the 99%' ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which begins [January 17]. The report also said that the world’s eight richest people have as much wealth as the poorest 50 per cent of the world’s population."

And the article highlights, "Stephen Harris, a professor of public policy at Carleton University and the University of Ottawa, says wealthy business owners have more power to lobby the government than the majority of everyday Canadians, which contributes to inequality."

We agree. Our vision statement notes, "The Council of Canadians fights for democracy. For several decades, the growing influence of big business over domestic governments and international institutions has led to a democratic deficit for people."

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow recently tweeted, "We should stop equating corporate-dominated trade agreements with 'openness to the world' and negotiate trade that serves the people."

In the case of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) championed by the Trudeau government, a Tufts University study found that CETA will transfer 1.74 per cent of national income from labour to capital (meaning any economic gains will flow overwhelmingly to owners of capital rather than to workers), that it will result in a net loss of 23,000 jobs in Canada in the first seven years of being in effect, and that due to rising inequality and unemployment the average income in Canada is projected to fall by $2,650 by 2023.

That's one of the reasons we promote fair trade over free trade and highlight the need for alternatives to corporate power.

It's also why we do not accept money from corporations or governments.