On Tuesday, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives reminded us that it takes the country’s 100 highest-paid corporate CEOs less than an hour to make $58,800 – the average Canadian worker’s pay for an entire year. 

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Senior Economist David Macdonald (Photo: CCPA).

This morning, for those of us brave enough to look at the execrable National Post on our tablets and smartphones, we got to see what the one of the Big Brains of the Canadian Conservative movement thinks Canadians ought to be worrying about, deep thoughts that are certainly quite in tune with the concerns of the corporate big-bucks boys. (And, as the CCPA pointed out, they are almost all boys.)

As a thought experiment, let’s juxtapose these two stories. 

In the CCPA study, called Breakfast of Champions: CEO pay in 2021, the progressive think tank’s senior economist shows that with an average pay packet of $14.3 million in 2021, the Top 100 CEOs now make 243 times more than the average Canadian worker does in a year.

“If you measure this massive pay disparity in time, less than an hour after the first working day of the year begins, Canada’s highest-paid CEOs will have already made $58,800,” David Macdonald said. “That’s by 9:43 a.m. on Jan. 3, 2023, to be precise.”

And inflation, which is killing Canadian working families, is driving corporate pay packages and the corporate profits that are used to justify them, Mr. Macdonald noted. 

Former Conservative Party of Canada finance minister Joe Oliver (Photo: Twitter/Joe Oliver).

Meanwhile, over at the Post, former federal finance minister Joe Oliver had his eye on the ball that really matters to the Conservative Party of Canada, notwithstanding its not-very-persuasive insistence it’s the party of the working person. 

To wit: a sprawling woke “multifaceted project” bent on taking away your kitty cats and lowering everyone’s standard of living! 

OK, Mr. Oliver admitted this morning in the Financial Post, as the National Post pretentiously brands its business section, it’s not “a vast left-wing conspiracy,” quite, but it might as well be. 

“Proponents include Liberals, progressives, socialists, hard leftists and crypto-marxists who support climate alarmism, globalism, big government, stakeholder capitalism, critical race theory and wokeism,” he warned, edging closer to full-Q mode. “The transformation they seek is already well under way.”

Meanwhile, back at the CCPA, Mr. Macdonald describes something that’s actually happening, and that really is getting progressively worse. 

“We think of inflation as bad for everyone, but for CEOs it’s the gift that keeps on giving,” he said. “Historically high profits based on historically high inflation mean historically high bonuses for CEOs.”

Moreover, he noted, “when times are bad, like during the pandemic, CEO bonus formulas are altered to protect them; in good times, like 2021, the champagne never runs dry.” 

“In the context of rapid price inflation, we’re in one of two situations,” Mr. Macdonald’s report explains. “Companies are passing along higher prices to consumers, which would lead to questions about why CEOs enjoyed huge bonuses, or companies are using pricing power to drive inflation and CEO bonuses are a direct result of the inflation they create.” 

In other words, out-of-control corporate pay has outcomes that directly hurt Canadians who are struggling with inflation. 

Getting back to the Post, Mr. Oliver has worries that Canada’s corporate sector presumably shares as well. 

“Quasi-religious virtue-signalling dictates we reduce farmland, ban coal even in countries without affordable alternatives, rely predominantly on wind and solar in spite of their intermittency, stop eating meat, get rid of our pets, not fly (unless to international meetings on climate or social justice) and abstain from expressing ‘unacceptable’ opinions,” he rambled. “Yet our betters luxuriate in their own private jets, multiple homes and lavish consumables, all seemingly without a scintilla of embarrassment about their massive personal carbon footprint.”

Note that “our betters” in this phrase are not principally the Canadian corporate elites profiting from the current state of the world. You know, the ones who actually have corporate jets in which to fly hither and yon as they please.

Even worse, Mr. Oliver warned, there are obviously turncoats in the camp of the capitalists. You got it, the notorious WEF! (The World Economic Forum, that is, the Geneva-based business talking shop that has become the nexus of numerous conspiracy theories among the Q-adjacent.)

“Sustainable finance and stakeholder capitalism are two tools WEF activists want to use to transform society,” he grimly warned. “Under them, companies and investors embrace environmental, social and governance goals in addition to pursuing financial returns.” 

My God! What next? (Mr. Oliver understands: “That will inevitably undermine the free enterprise system.” Which, when you think about it, is an interesting observation about capitalism.)

Over at the CCPA, Mr. Macdonald suggests some remedies to the problem of corporate pay.

His report calls for limiting corporate deductibility of compensation over $1 million, closing the capital gains inclusion rate loophole that is used almost entirely by the rich, implementing higher top marginal tax brackets, and – quelle horreur! – introducing a wealth tax. 

Talk about crypto-marxism!

Next thing you know the CCPA is going to be coming after Kitty just because she enjoys dining on a songbird now and again! 

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44 Comments

  1. How long can business leaders continue to convince workers, whose real wages have dropped over the past decade and now are plummeting, that CEOs somehow deserve skyrocketing payouts? How long can certain governments peddle the idea that inflation is caused by those same workers, who have less to spend by the minute? These governments want gullible working folks to think it’s all their fault, not the fault of corporate profiteers, and that workers should be punished for inflation with austerity. Wouldn’t it be something if workers figured this out? Oh, wait. They have. Trouble ahead.

  2. There was a time — not too long ago — where someone believed that CONs were actually thoughtful and well-grounded people. If one were to look back in time to ye olde Federal Progressive Conservative party, one found a party that was completely different to the madhouse called the CPC. I recall having to explain (far too many times) the clear and obvious differences between the PCs and the RPC.

    Progressive Conservatives grounded on the belief that communties are more important than individuals, national programs were the foundation of national unity, and the bane that is uncurbed individualism will destroy everything. Of course, given what I learned of the RPC at the time, it aspired to be a carbon copy of the Newt Gringrich GOP. All the mayhem that exploded from that period, in many ways, put the Republican Party on the path to being wildly theocratic, reactionary, and hell bent on destroying everything. One needs only look at the civil war that has been unleashed in the Trump era GOP to learn more than enough about the state of sanity among CONs. The GOP has become the party of the insane and determined to destroy everything for the sake of the vainty of its most demented leaders.

    Are things so bad among Canada’s CONs? Actually, they are just as bad and getting worse. Embracing the hooliganism of the FreeDUMB Convoy, as well as every single conspiracy trope they could find on their Telegram apps, the CPC not only kicked to the curb a leader who was determined to embrace moderation and (Horrors!) Red Toryism, they latched themselves onto Skippy Pollivere, a con artist with a long history of shenanigans and fibs about pretty much everything. (Just ask Pollivere’s imaginary friend, “Mustafa”.) Now that the Alberta Premier is wildly considered as being likely a certifiable loon, but with a reliable base of support, it appears that Canadian CONs, like their US colleagues are about to engage in acts of insane self-immolation for the sake of their — you guessed it — vanity. This was what Erin O’Toole warned the CPC about before he was shoved out the door.

    So, while the CONs on both sides of the border beat themselves into a frenzy of rage farming, PMJT just quietly sits back and gets to act like the adult in the room. While Danielle Smith throws one tantrum after another, and Skippy Pollivere chirps on ad nauseam about “gatekeepers” and “powerful …” and the CONs favourite Twitter bots tell them how great they are, they will get blamed for being insane do-nothings, living off the public trough, care of the idiot voters in Alberta.

    Alberta will be even more hated, and that’s good news to me.

  3. The Financial Post used to be a good business paper, a worthy competitor to the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business, until it was taken over and subsumed into the National Post, a Frankenstein paper created mostly to advance a right wing agenda.

    The National Post’s high water mark might have been sometime around 2006 when it had some national influence and helped get Harper and crew elected in part due to its relentless criticism and scrutiny of the Federal Liberals. Mr. Oliver’s high water mark must have been when he replaced Flaherty as Finance Minister less than a decade later. It was hard to replace Flaherty who was one of the more astute ministers of Harper’s. I think Oliver’s only real accomplishment was in making his predecessor look even better in comparison.

    Yes Oliver is still around, like someone yelling at clouds and the National Post is about as relevant now too. I think both are way past their best before dates.

    Of course they both mostly ignore the problems related to our vast and growing inequality, instead trying to fan some sort of culture war by using the word woke pejoratively as much as possible. Perhaps it serves as a distraction from real problems they don’t really care to address.

    I do still read the Financial Post for its business coverage which can be ok, but when it veers into politics it is bad, often even worse than its National Post parent. It seems to be a laughable parody of what might be the views of someone who is well off, but quite out of touch with those who are not.

  4. Cats are inherently fascists. So maybe it’s a good idea to ban them. Dogs, on the other hand, are more like RW populists who will chase sticks or anything else you throw. Providing at least a smidgen of entertainment value.

    1. Ronmac: I agree, cats are inherently fascist, and amoral to boot. The trouble with throwing sticks at dogs and right-wing populists to get them to go away is that they immediately come back again, with the stick. This is OK with dogs, because, you know, they’re mostly likeable. RW populists, not so much. DJC

      1. Cats are libertarians. They want to be coddled and taken care of yet want to remain undomesticated and free to do what they want without consequence. Rules for thee, not for me !

      2. Personally, I don’t think cats are so bad. The world sure seems to be have been going to the dogs for a long time!

        For instance, when Leona Helmsley died in 2007, she left her pet Maltese dog, named Trouble, a trust fund valued at $12 million dollars. For those that don’t recall, her company owned the Empire State Building in New York. She also famously said “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.” For some reason when that comment came out, it did not help her tax evasion trial and she went to prison in 1992.

        Given this, I can’t help but wonder if Mr. Oliver has a beloved cat rather than a dog and is contemplating a bit of estate planning. Hopefully the cat isn’t named Trouble.

    1. P. Hertel I found it hilarious that you brought up Joe Oliver and the tailing ponds and are glad you did. While Oliver was spreading his lies the oilmen were telling me you would have to be a damn fool to drink it and the only way some of the tailing ponds were being cleaned up , to fool the people , was by dumping it into another pond. In other words nothing was really being accomplished it was just a gimmick to fool the stupid people and it worked. Their supporters had nothing but praise for what was being done which was actually nothing. Isn’t funny how these reformers just keep reappearing. The just can’t keep their noses out of it.

  5. From a bunker under Hamilton Mountain, the FP releases its “Trump” card: kittens! Cute little, harmless internet kittens! Certain to be steamrolled to a gory Marxist death! Unite Brothers, we must defend our freedoms against the onslaught of woke vegans and philosophy profs! To the barricades (void where prohibited in Alberta) and ramparts (Health & Safety prohibits more than 10 protesters on any rampart at a time). Courage my friends, tis not too (wait a minute, Tommy who?)….

  6. So now we have CEO’s making $7,000 an hour trying to convince workers that make $30 an hour that workers making minimum wage don’t deserve it. Isn’t that lovely.

    As well, it’s not as if a wealth tax is completely foreign. Property taxes are a wealth tax.

    1. Personally, I’d like to see both extreme wealth and extreme income taxed—high enough to chase the greediest billionaires right out of Canada. Let ‘em try their luck in the Excited States for a while. Let’s test the Laffer curve for a few years.

      1. Thx Mike. First sane comment I’ve seen on this subject.
        Anyone earning a million dollar salary is only getting it because of the social conditions and societal foundations he/she is living within. Nobody needs that kind of wealth. It should be taxed at 90 or 95%.

  7. It isn’t hard to understand that there is a huge deference between a conservative and a reformer, but many seniors don’t seem to be smart enough to understand that. It was a main concern of the former MLAs that I knew. They knew a lot of Albertans voted for the word Conservative and after these reformers began using it they knew they would get a lot of support and they did and still are. When you have idiots like David Staples using the Edmonton Journal as his mouth piece for these fake conservatives and claiming that Danielle Smith is a lot like Peter Lougheed you have a problem, because these ignorant seniors will believe him and they are. I wonder if the journal realizes how much business David Staples has cost them? People are saying they are no longer supporting any of the Alberta newspapers who have been promoting these fake conservatives. I know I did.

  8. Over the years my sister and I talked about visiting countries where our ancestors came from and that’s what we have been doing. Our recent trip to Norway was one I will never forget. The people were incredible and so thankful for what their oil wealth was doing for them. I couldn’t say the same for us. This is an article I came across today and suggest everyone google it. Apparently this guy was as impressed with the people of Norway as I was. He proves that green energy works while we continue to hear these reformers and their ignorant supporters claiming it can’t be done in Alberta.
    “ I went to Norway to see an electric vehicle paradise , buy I found something more surprising”.
    We have been all over Europe and everywhere we have been green energy is working for the people. Last spring I had coffee with a man from Sweden and he has sonar panels on his roof and he knows they work. A friend put them on his roof in 1975, in Devon, Alberta and he claims it is the smartest thing he ever did. Devon now has all their street lights and Rec – Centre powered by solar. They know it works.

    1. Thanks for pointing it out. Below is the link to the article and it has a nice little video with it. I built a passive solar super insulated house 35 years ago. Works like a charm and has paid for itself many times over.
      https://electrek.co/2023/01/03/norway-electric-car-utopia-sustainable-transportation/

      Incidentally, Norway with about 40% of Alberta’s oil and gas production, and most of that at the bottom of the North Sea started its Heritage fund several years after Alberta. They have over one trillion dollars US in it. Alberta’s Cons pissed ours away and lied about it all going to Ottawa.

  9. I had no problems getting pandemic vaccinated.My wife was a little hesitant. She got the first but refused to get a second. Jason Kenney than offered $100.00 to get the shot. This helped me convince her to get vaccinated.She never got the 100 clams. No one knew how to go about getting the bribe, to me it was a gaff.
    Now Danielle is rolling out her ” Helping Albertan’s Act ” with monthly $100.00 bribes to certain segments of society based on…based on what exactly? Need? It can’t be need as the upper cutoff is $180,000.00 and single people making the minumum get zero.Apparently if you fall within the ” chosen ” segment of society you will be able to ” apply” at a soon to be created web portal to receive your bribe.
    I just can’t get my head around it. How can they justify giving some Albertan’s some of Albertan’s money for nothing and other Albertan’s nothing.
    To me if you’re going to help people with a ridiculous give away you would lower the top cutoff from $180,000.00 to say $60,000.00 or even $80,000.00 and include everyone. But that’s just me. Really with a little thought they could find a lot of better ways to help the people that need it…without so called giveaways. How the hell can a “conservative” government come up with such a half baked scheme is beyond me.

    1. P.S.
      I just proof read my comment and thought of a better way to help Albertan’s. Take all that money and give it to food banks, school lunch programs ,women’s shelters,men’s shelters,humane society’s, immigrant aid society’s,children’s aid societys’, etc.etc.

  10. DJC, now that is one seriously adorable kitten, excellent choice and yet I can 100% see that same face with the songbird in it’s mouth….thanks for the Friday smile…2 thumbs up ..

  11. I can’t help but wonder if Joe Oliver was paid to write that drivel. If not, is this his personal beliefs coming out? If so, paid by whom?

    This is so over-the-top I have to wonder if it’s deliberate propaganda. Straw-man arguments and “viewing with alarm” are old tricks, but to find so much of both in one place is either paranoia or deliberate provocation. That, or Republican/ Trump psychosis.

    Who is Joe trying to provoke? Alberta separatists? Pierre Poilievre? And why? (“Hey, PP, still here! I need a job.” Or maybe, “Hey Danielle, I can help. Elder statesman, right?”) I dunno, maybe Joe really believes it all. If so, has he been taking lessons from Rudy Giuliani?

  12. They’re trying to get you to fight a culture war, so we won’t fight a class war. Having said that, Joe Oliver, what a pathetic failure of a career he’s having…. keep licking them boots pal

  13. Pretty humourous. Its obvious you didnt read it:
    “100 highest-paid corporate CEOs less than an hour to make $58,800”

    so if they work 2600 hours a year(a likelihood) they need to make $153M a year?

    Course, why read it. Its just propaganda. Nug-nug- wink-wink.

    They can bias the statistics, so why not something a little more eye popping.

    Just another paid propaganda arm of, likely, some union….

      1. To be fair, when you’ve been following a distant star for years, it becomes a parallax, he just can’t help himself. As in David’s choice of photo, some people see a cute little kitten, while I see a little kitten crouched down and about to pounce on her prey.

        Re: Joe— I was trying to find what his salary would have been while he was finance minister, back in the day, and obviously enough that his $500k (land investment plus house he built) was worth $4.5 million listing in May,2016.
        Just like my Pet Peeve Pierre P, rich guys telling me how they know how to fix things for us, something about setting a bar, then moving the goal posts aka:shrinkflation eg: the jar of I.coffee that was on “sale”, yay! got home and the new jar was 150 g.,while the old one was 200g; or the guy with a chauffeur saying he understands my plight of getting around. I digress…

        Anyway—Pressprogress. ca April 21/2015–“7 times Joe Oliver’s budget speech departs from reality”.
        Hmmm, did SH give Dani a copy, sounds very familiar…Mere coincidence., or I’m getting old and I’ve heard this same story….

        Side bar; why does 15 rounds not sound like a positive thing? the price per round, what was it Pogo said about handmaids???

    1. Well the calculation is their pay juxtaposed against the pay per hour of the average canadian worker, not per hour of their work, which is unquantifiable unless they submit their time cards. Math is hard huh.

  14. I believe the statement should read a day not an hour. There are 52 weeks in a year and a 40 hour work week equates to 2080 hours. If a CEO makes $15,000,000 a year then divide it by 2080. $15,000,000 / 2080 = $7212 an hour which when multiplied by an 8 hour day equates to $57,962.

    1. Go to the original paper linked in DJC’s column. The top CEO got $141 million in total compensation in 2021. That’s over $2.71 million a week, or $61,626 per hour if he works a 44-hour work week — 44 hrs/wk is the threshold in Alberta’s Employment Standards Code for overtime pay.

      The average pay for those top 100 was $14.3 million per annum. This amounts to $275,000 per week, or $6,250 an hour at 44 hrs/wk. Certainly not living in penury.

  15. Some may wish to point at big corporations giving executives outrageous salaries, but a little observed fact is the Conservatives / UCP has been doing that for years. Take for example a former deputy minister who retired from his $250,000 salary to become CEO of the Calgary Health Region at a new salary of $1.25M. Then again you have the AIMco executives that are being paid between $2 and 5M a year.

  16. Crypto-Marxism is the dumbest idea. “Hmmm, the proletariat as a community has never really understood terms like Reification, Commodity Fetishism, and Dialectical Materialism, and it prevents us from spreading our ideology. I know, let’s encrypt them, that’s definitely going to help!”

  17. Haha the term “crypto-Marxist” is still rattling around in my head amusing me. Maybe a “crypto-Marxist” would be trying to seize the means of encryption on behalf of the working class?

    Distribute the people’s bitcoin to one and all, comrades!

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