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Majority think income inequality undermines Canadian values: New Poll

Nine out of ten Canadians think reducing income inequality should be a government priority

OTTAWA - Canadians want action on income inequality and they are willing to do their part, suggests a new poll conducted by Environics Research for the Broadbent Institute. Over three-quarters of Canadians (77%) deem income inequality a serious problem and nine out of ten Canadians (89%) think reducing income inequality should be a government priority.

Most Canadians (71%) saying the widening gap between rich and poor undermines Canadian values.If income inequality is left unchecked, 79% of respondents said it will have a long-term, negative impact on Canada by reducing our standard of living.  Seventy-five percent said it would increase crime and 72% said it will reduce our quality of health care and public services.

The most encouraging finding from this poll is the willingness of Canadians to do their part to address income inequality. Eight out of ten Canadians (83%) say they support fair taxation and are in favour of raising taxes on the wealthiest. Interestingly, even high-income earners are willing to pay slightly more in taxes. Only our governments fail to share Canadians' support for reasonable taxation.

"Gross inequality isn't inevitable. It's a political choice. But only by insisting our governments pursue policies that are equitable for all Canadians can we ensure a fair, safe, healthy, and vibrant democracy for Canada," said Ed Broadbent.

Three quarters (73%) of Canadians, including a majority of Conservative voters, support gradually increasing corporate tax rates back to 2008 levels. These opinions are widely shared, cutting across regions, income levels, and political affiliations.

"Any government or political party that prioritizes the tackling of income inequality will not only reflect current public opinion, they will garner tremendous support because they will finally be addressing an issue that represents a fundamental Canadian value: equality," Broadbent added.

These findings lay the groundwork for the Broadbent Institute's "Equality Project" which will engage Canadians and decision-makers in a renewed agenda to reduce inequality in Canada.

"The option of raising taxes to protect the social programs we cherish and to address income inequality has been absent from public debate for too long. Our research shows Canadians are prepared to do their part and they expect the wealthy, corporate Canada, and their own governments to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem."