Study Questions: Chapter 3
1. Why are Canadian unemployment rates generally higher than unemployment rates in the United States?
The explanation that Brooks and Ménard say is usually offered by Canadians is that the lower ate has been “bought” with lower wages and greater income inequality. The authors have doubts about the lower wages argument. (pp. 79–80)
2. What is the dominant liberal ideology in Canada?
According to Brooks and Ménard, the essential elements of the dominant liberal ideology in Canada are individualism and a belief that opportunities to get ahead in life are open to those with the energy and talent needed to take advantage of them. (p. 82)
3. What has the distribution of income in Canada looked like since the late 1950s?
It has not changed much. In 2007, the richest one-fifth received about 47 per cent of all income while the poorest fifth received about 4 per cent. In 1957, the top quintile got 41.4 percent of all income and the poorest got 4.2 percent. (pp. 82–85)
4. What are the barriers to socio-economic mobility in Canada?
It appears that gender, ethnicity, race, and family background continue to exert a significant downward pull on mobility. Of these, family background—i.e., the education, occupation, and income of one’s parents—appears to be the most important. (pp. 86–88)
5. How is Canada’s corporate elite unrepresentative of Canada’s general population?
Sociologists John Porter and Wallace Clement have done the most thorough studies of the Canadian corporate elite. For example, the corporate elite continue to be dominated by men; most of the elite are males; and many have attended exclusive private schools. People from non-Anglo-Saxon backgrounds are grossly under-represented. And well over half of the economic elite belong to one or more of the most prominent private clubs in Canada. (pp. 88–89)
6. What role does the structure of the state play in addressing social inequalities?
It affects what sorts of inequalities governments deal with and it influences the opportunities and resources available to different interests. For example, Canadian governments have long targeted more money at regional economic inequalities than have US governments because of the particular division of powers under the Canadian constitution and the relatively greater leverage of the provincial governments than the state governments. The Charter, too, has had a substantial impact on the prominence of equality rights issues, the strategies that groups use to achieve their goals, and the treatment of certain groups. (pp. 89–92)
7. How are happiness and level of satisfaction with life among Canadians related to material well-being?
Brooks and Ménard say that there is a correlation between material well-being and the level of satisfaction with life expressed by a nation’s population. Canadians are far more likely to express a high degree of satisfaction with their lives than to say that they are very happy. Why this distinction exists is not clear. (p. 93)
8. What steps did Canada take en route to self-government?
The first step was in 1848 when the principle of responsible government was recognized in Nova Scotia and the United Province of Canada, followed by the other colonies soon afterward. The second step was Confederation in 1867. The third step was the acquisition of the power to enter into international treaties in 1931. The fourth step was in 1949 when the Supreme Court of Canada became Canada’s final court of appeal. The fifth step was in 1947 when the Canadian Citizenship Act was passed. The sixth step was in 1982 when the power to amend the constitution was taken away from the UK Parliament and given to Canada. (pp. 96–97)
9. In what way(s) does Canada demonstrate economic dependence?
Canada is heavily dependent on foreign capital, imports and export markets. What is unique about Canada is that we have really only one trading partner: the US. It accounts for the vast majority of our exports and imports. Culturally, we depend heavily on the US and this is reflected in our economic relations. What we watch, what we read, how we read, who we read, what and who we listen to, etc. are mostly all foreign. (pp. 97–99)
10. How is Canada influenced by American culture