A look at redistribution of wealth from the workers to the non-workers in Canada

Canada election 2011: Conservatives in Blue, Socialists in Red, Communists in Orange
Election 2011: Conservatives in Blue, Socialists in Red, Communists in Orange

I found two examples of policies that promote the redistribution of wealth from producers to non-producers in Canada. I think it’s worth taking a look at their policies so that we understand more about our own redistribution policies.

The first example of redistribution has to do with unemployment insurance, where productive taxpayers who choose low-risk, high-pay jobs must subsidize other citizens who get high-risk, low-pay jobs. Their program is called “Employment Insurance”. Canadians who work have to pay into the system, and when any of them loses their jobs, then they get to take money out of it. Those who work more pay more, those who work less pay less. Those with safe jobs collect nothing, and those with risky jobs collect more.

Is this program fair? In this article from Brian Lilley’s Lilley Pad blog, Canadian columnist Lorne Gunter explains what’s wrong with this program.


Employment Insurance is a lot of things, but an insurance plan to encourage employment it is not.

For one thing, the premiums aren’t based on the risk of making a claim.

Young drivers pay higher auto insurance premiums because they are much more likely to get in an accident. Yet Canadians in high-unemployment industries and high-unemployment regions make no higher EI contributions than those who live where they are never likely to be without work.

Indeed, those most likely to make EI claims will make far lower lifetime contributions than those who are unlikely ever to claim. That makes EI a welfare program underwritten by a tax on employment, rather than an insurance plan.

In the 1990s, I interviewed a Statistics Canada researcher who had made the study of EI his life’s work. He told me that he had discovered one New Brunswick town of 3,000 people where every adult had made at least one EI claim. Most had claimed three or more times.

In some areas, EI is an accepted part of the culture. It’s that entitlement mentality the Tories’ changes are aimed at breaking.

In the CBC’s fawning 1994 biography of Pierre Trudeau, St. Pierre admitted that one of the goals of his government’s ’70s-era reforms to Unemployment Insurance (as it was more accurately known then) was to enable Canadians to stay in their home regions if they wanted to, even if they were never likely to find steady work there.

So the scheme is also an interregional transfer of wealth — from have to have-not provinces.

Of course, every year thousands of Canadians move from have-not regions to more prosperous areas in search of better jobs and higher pay. So it is not as though everyone who could collects EI to stay put.

But the question is why should hard-working Canadians be compelled to subsidize anyone who refuses to move or turns down locally available work?

It’s very similar to their health care programs, which transfers wealth from producers to health care users – and remember that not all health care is from stuff like car accidents. Abortions, IVF and sex changes are entirely voluntary – based on lifestyle choices.

But this is not the only program that transfers wealth from workers to non-workers. It turns out that there is an entire province of Canada that has a majority of secular socialist slackers who can’t pay their own way, but must instead depend on the rest of Canada to support them.

Eric Duhaime explains in this article on the Lilley Pad.


Although we live in the same house, we certainly don’t sleep in the same room anymore. Our romantic days are long gone. Quebec and the rest of Canada have grown apart. Young Quebecers have no appetite for constitutional quarrels, although they define themselves more and more as Quebecois and less and less as Canadians. They have even invented the word “decanadianization.”

Conversely, English-Canadians are becoming more and more fed up with paying for Quebec, which receives more than half the money given through the so-called equalization program, the equivalent of $8 billion a year.

The solution might not be to ask Quebec to become an independent nation but to become less dependent on its neighbours and more fiscally autonomous. To calm English Canada down, the equalization formula — which will be reviewed before 2014 anyway — could be modernized.

Canada has evolved over the years. The need for interprovincial welfare is not as necessary as it used to be. The principle of redistribution is part of our Constitution but could focus exclusively on funding very essential social programs, which wouldn’t include $7-a-day daycare or a fully subsidized year of parental leave after the birth of each child.

I think it would be an excellent idea to cut Quebec loose. Whatever goods and services they produce could still be bought by the rest of Canada – if there are any such things. Let them pay for their own exorbitant abortion and day care costs, for a start.

Why am I posting about Canada? I think it’s important for us to look at other countries so that we understand how public policies that are sold to us as “compassionate” actually punish hard work, thrift and risk-taking while at the same time rewarding ignorance, wastefulness and sloth. In fact, one could argue that Obamacare itself is nothing more than a way to transfer wealth from those who are take care of their health and work hard for their money, to those who are unemployed and want free contraceptives, abortions and sex changes. You can get all three of those things in the Canadian province of Ontario, and in the UK as well. But the UK goes even further and provides taxpayer-funded IVF and breast implants. This is what liberal compassion really means: pillaging those who sacrifice their leisure to work, in order to buy votes from unproductive, reckless and lazy special interest groups.

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