English Canada has no recognized metric for the percentage of its people who live in poverty.
Doubt me? Go look for one. You’ll find something called the Low Income Cut-Off, which even Statistics Canada disavows as poverty data, and a bunch of think-tanks’ attempts at figuring it out. The Government of Canada just cannot be bothered to tell Statistics Canada to provide that information, presumably because acknowledging the problem is the first step to actually doing something, and doing something to resolve glaring problems is frankly not what Canada is in the business of doing.
Another problem lurks in the shadows of this total lack of information. Academics have a role in statecraft in that they advise the state as to growing social trends and how best to manage these trends. This tends to require hard data – after all, it’s hard to prescribe therapy for an unseen patient. In the absence of said, what comes out is what I like to call “feel-studies” – jargonized, hard-to-follow messes wrapped in so much postmodern smoke. There is absolutely a social good involved with studying how people are feeling; that good loses a lot of its luster when a person needs several years of schooling to possibly read and understand the results.
Canada’s blissful ignorance about poverty, a condition abetted by Parliament and confirmed by the Civil Service, produces cloudy research on an everyday topic. There are at least 150,000 homeless people in Canada; the poverty of First Nations and small towns and old industrial cities whose big employers have gone and rusted over is plenty apparent to those who live in its wake. Thirty-three thousand people are likely to be jobless in Oshawa after GM closes its assembly systems there. We step over and around poverty daily, but Canada can’t be bothered to look at it.
Instead, are expected to worship and provide offerings to the Job Fairy as Canada’s frail, poorly-diversified economy continues to creak its way over a cliff one poorly-planned for bubble at a time. As we all know, the pipeline from person to job is flawless and perfect and there is no reason why a carless person might have an issue getting to work in places where driving is the only real means to get anywhere. Contract work and the service industry obviously pay so much that the expenses associated with living in Canada are always covered and forward advancement into th-oh. Well, there were better-paying jobs. Now where did they get off to?
Ah, don’t worry about it. This post-Lacanian 3rd wave-feminist meta-Marxian evaluation of poor people says all that Canada needs to know about poverty. Hoboes and the underemployed just need to be dynamic team players and they too could ride the Job Fairy’s Magic Job Carpet to Jobland.