social mobility

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From 1993 to 2003, nine of every 10 Canadians who started out in the lowest income group moved up to higher income groups.

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Is Canada still a land of opportunity? If you base your opinion on what sometimes appears on editorial pages or social media threads, you might not be sure.

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Some columnists regularly help influence the general public’s view on important social issues. Indeed, they are opinion-shapers. So it’s unfortunate when they get things wrong—particularly when the intended audience is young and impressionable.

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There has been a spate of news stories in recent months dealing with the suggestion that the gap between the rich and the poor in Canada is at a 30-year high. Liberal leader Stéphane Dion even promised to make the unfair distribution of income in Canada one of the major issues in the next federal election.

Claims like these make good headlines, but the cliché about the rich getting richer and the data supporting the claim are both highly misleading.