When Justin Trudeau unveiled his new cabinet, my first reaction was to read about some of the major appointments, say “ok, no real problems here” and move on with life. But in doing so, I nearly missed the fact that Canada now has something called a minister of middle class prosperity.
What in the hell is that, I wondered to myself. It sounds like marketing speak and pandering horseshit for sure, but what is it really?
I thought maybe spending 12 minutes listening to the person who now has the job explaining it to me would clear it all up. What a fool I was. Yes, even Mona Fortier doesn’t seem to know what Mona Fortier does now.
What exactly is your job, as you understand it?
During the campaign, we heard from Canadians that they expect us to work hard and deliver strong results for the middle class and make life more affordable.
And to deliver on that platform and take real steps to build the Canadian economy for everyone, I’ve been mandated as minister of middle class prosperity, and associate minister of finance, to work with my colleagues to make sure we have that lens enabling the fact that we want to put measures in to continue to grow our economy.
But let’s talk about definitions here. A lot of Canadians think of themselves as middle-class. How do you define that term?
Well, we know that we want a very strong economy for everyone. And having a strong middle class will entail the fact that we can continue to put measures and helping those that want to join the middle class to have access to those programs.
But what’s the definition? I mean, you hear differing definitions. Some people say it’s a median income — the median income is $70,000 a year for a household. How do you define middle class?
Well, I define the middle class where people feel that they can afford their way of life. They have quality of life. And they can … send their kids to play hockey or even have different activities.
It’s having the cost of living where you can do what you want with your family. So I think that it’s really important that we look at, how do we make our lives more affordable now?
And that’s, for me, something that we will be putting measures, and really putting efforts, with my colleagues, to have a strong economy.
So she’s, like, the minister of making sure that people who are doing ok keep doing ok?
Listening to the whole thing doesn’t make it any better. In fact there are points where she’s talking about this tax cut idea they’re kicking around where she sounds like a Conservative. She’s not entirely sure who exactly it’s going to help, she can’t answer questions about how the government is going to make up for the lost revenue or why they don’t take that particular policy off the table and invest money they already have into things like making certain aspects of healthcare easier for people to manage, but by gum we’ve got it just about all figured out and everything is going to be fixed now because Bob and Wilma can afford to put Junior in sports and have something left over to help the economy grow. At least I think that’s what she said.
But whatever she said, it’s goofy and likely to be largely useless. Until we get a minister of close loopholes that allow them to move money equivalent to the GDP of several small countries around so no one can find it and then tax the absolute shit out of extremely rich people and spend the resulting deluge responsibly on things that will make life better for everyone, nothing is going to significantly change.