In some remote communities, close to half of adults own property. At most, housing in their communities is often inadequate or non-existent and, particularly in rural areas, a house can be an investment for a lifetime. Statistics Canada has also found that rich rural Canadians are likely to be wealthier than poor rural Canadians. This is relevant, as the gap between rich and poor in Canada continues to grow.
Housing for rural Canadians may be more affordable, but this is hardly a reflection of the degree of poverty in rural areas, or regional living conditions. Yet, rural Canadians seldom gain equal access to the opportunities and resources available in cities and larger Canadian urban centres.
Often, rural Canadians miss out on opportunities that might benefit their communities, and their lives. Some solutions for this gap could include more taxes, or subsidies, to better leverage land for the benefit of rural communities. But, as rural Canadians know well, they are often disadvantaged by their home communities. The populist Conservative Party of Canada policy on farm subsidies, for example, will further harm rural Canadians.
Yet, the policies of the current federal government are also unequal in the relationship it has with rural Canada. One change that would help as some years have shown is to ensure that Canadian voters have greater control over how they shape our national policy and which party holds their votes.
For example, the Trudeau government’s carbon tax will disproportionately hurt rural and regional communities, the very places that some studies show are the primary drivers of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Similarly, many rural Canadians do not receive full representation in Canada’s Parliament. Every member of Parliament represents about 650,000 people. This is a paltry number given that about 6.6 million people reside in Canada’s 416 metropolitan districts.