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Hey, Canada, rich lives matter too

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In recent years a disturbing trend has developed in Western countries. A hateful scapegoating of a certain group of people based purely on their level of income. I'm speaking of the wave of prosperiphobia that fuelled Occupy Wall Street, the campaign of Bernie Sanders, and now Canada's own federal budget.

The Liberals' have embraced the politics of exclusion with their plan to increase income tax for those making over $200,000 a year by four per cent. In one sense, the top marginal tax rate will still be at historically low levels. But in another sense, isn't this basically hate speech?

When people otherize the rich, they treat this marginalized minority as though they're all the same and ignore their individual humanities. But rich people are people too. People like TD Bank CEO Bharat Masrani, who got a 10 per cent pay raise in 2015 as several hundred of his staff were laid off. Or people like David Thomson, third Baron Thomson of Fleet, who -- no matter how many billions he inherited -- has to go to bed every night knowing that he'll never be first Baron Thomson of Fleet.

Raising taxes on the rich is crass populism, that ugly side of democracy in which politicians do what voters want them to do. This kind of divisive politics separates our country into the haves and have-nots, but you can't have haves without have-nots, and if the have-nots have what the haves have, the haves will take their havings and have them somewhere else.

Remember, nobody wins class warfare, unless you count all of those nobodies.

This video originally appeared in The Toronto Star.

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