len's masthead




londoner editor pic





A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to tune into the CBC radio program "The Sunday Edition" with Michael Enright, who is one of my favourite journalists, when he interviewed Ed Clark the former President of TD Bank.

These days the time-worn phrase "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer" is still a sad reality for many Canadians.

A recent study from Oxfam, the International Charity, that is working to end global poverty shows that the richest 1% are more likely to control more then one half of the world’s total wealth by the year 2016. Amazing sad statistic shows that one billion people in the world live on less then $1.25 a day.

Here in Canada, we have a disquieting trend that is taking root. "In 2012, Statistics Canada reported that the wealthiest 10% of Canadian families held almost half of the country’s net worth. A recent report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives showed that by noon on the second day of January - the second working day of the year - the average CEO had already earned as much as the average Canadian worker earns all year long.

Ed feels that; "the people who have benefited by the shift in wealth and incomes have to look hard at themselves and ask, " Am I doing enough?" What might surprise you, is that Ed Clark who retired last November was one of those top-earning CEO’s.

He practices what he preaches. Ed has been acknowledged for his voluntary and charitable donations to schools and foundations to try and better the lives of those in need.

For the most part the wealthiest Canadians did not inherit their wealth from their families but are self made multi-millionaires. They are for the most part hard working bright risk takers who have been lucky enough to be born in Canada. We Canadians are blessed with universal health care and free elementary/secondary school education.

Our colleges and universities are very accessible to all and are very reasonable compared to our cousins in the USA. Their costs are prohibitive and the chance of attaining a degree is often times so expensive that only the well off or gifted students are able to attend. If you are born poor in the ghettos of Detroit/Chicago or Ferguson and are Black from a single parent family you are more likely be imprisoned then go to college; not as Jessie Jackson promised: " to go from the outhouse to the White House."

The path to income equality rests with all of our children regardless of colour, ethnicity or income to be able to be educated. In Toronto’s Regent Park, the largest social housing project in Canada, the majority of the students who come from black, low income, single parent families there is the "Pathways Program". Students receive tutoring and mentoring in their four years of high school with a 90% graduation rate. After completing their secondary school programs there is $4,000 education grant for them payable to a post secondary college/university education including apprenticeships. Corporations, governments, along with caring individuals have generously funded the program to ensure it’s success.

We who are the most fortunate to have done well in Canada have an obligation to help our children to have the opportunity to be successful.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com