Monday news round-up: eat the rich

It wasn’t your imagination — the rich really are getting richer, according to new data from Statistics Canada. Plus: Quebec Liberal leadership debates heat up and the PQ gets squirrelly on tuition fees. Here’s your Monday news round-up.

Ramen: it’s what’s for lunch for the 99 per cent. Photo via Flickr

So there were two Quebec Liberal debates over the weekend. The English debate, held Saturday at Oscar Peterson Concert Hall, was apparently heated, with, as the Gazette’s Philip Authier wrote, “tongues wagging” and fiery — or as fiery as Pierre Moreau, Raymond Bachand and Philippe Couillard get, anyway — talk of corruption. Couillard said the previous Liberal government should have set up the Charbonneau Commission sooner, a point that, in light of everything that’s come out of it, is tough to dispute. On Sunday, these guys kicked their heads back and talk about the party, the state of which is, shockingly enough, not very good. Membership is currently at 43,000, down from 200,000. So good luck, dudes: whoever wins this thing has a tough road ahead.

Kudos go to Pierre Duchesne, our esteemed higher education minister, for this sound bite: “Don’t worry about it. After the summit, decisions will be made, there will be work started and law projects tabled.” By summit, Duchesne is referring, of course, to the province’s post-secondary education shindig, which is only a month away. And by decisions, he means the Parti Québécois’ call to index tuition levels on the cost of living. Predictably, the student groups that helped put the party in power are nonplussed. Does that mean our scholarly friends and acquaintances will hit the streets again?

After last week’s decision by the Supreme Court of Canada to not grant Quebec common-law couples that break up the same rights to spousal support as divorced couples, the Globe and Mail took a look at how domestic life in Quebec measures up against other provinces and countries. “About a third of all couples in the province live common-law,” it reports — one of the highest ratios of people living in sin in the world.

Have you been feeling a little broker than usual these days? Well this is sure to make you feel even worse, then: the rich have most definitely gotten richer. Statistics Canada released numbers showing that the top 1 per cent of Canada’s 25.5 million taxpayers earned a median income of $283,400 — so, about 10 times more than the rest of us 99 per cent. Also, according to the Canadian Press, those top earners paid 21.2 per cent of all taxes in 2010, down from 2007’s 23.3 per cent. Now, pardon us while we make some dollar store ramen for lunch. 

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