Canada’s Minister of Middle Class Prosperity, Mona Fortier says that Canada has no official way of defining its middle class.
During the House of Commons question period on Monday, Fortier was asked several times about Canada’s middle class and struggled to answer.
When asked by Conservative MP Pat Kelly about the percentage of Canadians in the middle class, she could not properly answer the question.
Kelly asked, “With regard to the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity: broken down by riding, what is the number and percentage of individuals whom the minister considers to belong to the middle class?”
Fortier responded, “Mr. Speaker, the government’s focus on middle-class prosperity reflects its priority on policies that grow the economy and benefit a very broad group of Canadians.”
“The income required to attain a middle-class lifestyle can vary greatly based on Canadians’ specific situations: e.g., what their family situation is, whether they face child care expenses or whether they live in large cities where housing tends to be more expensive. Canada has no official statistical measure of what constitutes the middle class.”
MP Rachael Harder asked Fortier the same question and received the same response.
When asked by Manitoba MP Candice Bergan to give her own definition of the middle class, Fortier gave the same answer she gave to MP Pat Kelly and MP Rachael Harder.
She would go on to repeat the response again later in question period.
In a mandate letter, Fortier wrote that she would “Work with the Minister of Finance to ensure that the Department of Finance has the analytical and advisory capabilities that it needs to support and measure the impact of an economic agenda focused on growing the middle class and those people working hard to join it.”
Fortier was sworn in as the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance on Nov. 20, 2019. It is not clear how her ministry plans to gather information about the middle class or provide any benefit without any official way of measuring the group.