The Bigger Canada’s Energy Sector Gets the Poorer People Become

By Stephen Leahy

Thu, 2013-03-21 05:00 DeSmog Canada

Blame Canada is a four part series revealing how Canada has become a wealthy, fossil-fuelled energy superpower and an international climate pariah. For Part 1, click here. Part 2 here

Few are aware Canada’s GDP shot up from an average of $600 billion per year in the 1990s to more than $1.7 trillion in 2012. This near tripling of the GDP is largely due to fossil fuel investments and exports.

However not many Canadians are three times wealthier. For one thing GDP is only a measure economic activity. The other reason is that little of this new wealth stayed in Canada. And what did stay went to a small percentage of the population, worsening the gap between rich and poor.

One of the hallmarks of a “petro-state” is that while a country’s energy industry generates fantastic amounts of money, the bulk of its citizens remain poor. Nigeria is a good example. Canada’s poverty rates have skyrocketed in step with the growth of the energy sector. One Canadian child in seven now lives in poverty, according to the Conference Board of Canada, the country’s foremost independent research organization.

Income inequality increased faster than the US, with the rich getting richer and poor and middle class losing grounds over the past 15 to 20 years, the Conference Board also reported January 2013.

“Most of Canada’s increase in wealth went to the big shareholders in the resource industries,” says Daniel Drache, a political scientist at Toronto’s York University. “It mainly went to the elites.”

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One thought on “The Bigger Canada’s Energy Sector Gets the Poorer People Become

  1. What a wonky website! You leave your comment to the post at the top of it?!

    I guess when you’re argument depends for support on info from The Conference Board of Canada, it’s Canada’s “foremost independent research organization,” whereas when you (not Stephan) are making the point that Canada’s pathetic CEO is trying to sabotage the venerable Canada Post, you then refer to that rightwing think tank as a rightwing think tank. Oh well.

    Why am I here? I’m looking for facts and figures – as opposed to articles – about the tar sands. For example, Methane is indeed a potent greenhouse gas. Aren’t they scraping off peat bogs to build roads into the tar sands operations? And don’t those release methane and carbon dioxide?

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