Per capita, there are far fewer rich people in this province than in Ontario. Barely 3.9 per cent of taxpayers earn more than $100,000 a year in Quebec compared with 6.3 per cent in Ontario, according to 2008 revenue department statistics, which are the most recent available. The ranks of the truly moneyed are even thinner.(…) Many Quebecers have a deep distrust of wealth and wealthy people.(…) “We elevate people who like to keep things small. And we decry companies that are becoming big.”(…) He notes that it’s not that Quebecers don’t want to get rich – participation in lotteries netted the province’s gambling corporation $1.8 billion in sales for fiscal 2011, about the same as the previous year – it’s that they just don’t want to take big chances trying to get rich. In addition, they feel more strongly than most other Canadians that wealth should be shared.(…) When a chief executive tallies a fat bonus and gets rewarded with stock options while his employees see much smaller compensation gains, that is frequently big news in Quebec’s media outlets. (…) “So if you grow, it means automatically you will be seen as not sharing. Which is wrong.”(…) “The thinking that to become rich you have to be a homeowner is (definitely less prominent) in Quebec than in the rest of Canada.”(…) More and more Quebecers are choosing the security of a salary from an established employer over the more perilous but potentially more lucrative path of starting a business.(…) So where does this uneasy connection Quebecers have to wealth come from? Some say it is the legacy of a society that was ruled by the Roman Catholic Church until Jean Lesage’s Liberal government broke the grip with a series of secular reforms in the 1960s. The church taught that coveting capital was bad and many Quebecers, whether they personally believe that or not, may still feel that influence.(…) While many Canadians may rank sense of duty as their top value, Quebecers believe enjoying life is more important. If that means less work and less money, so be it. They are also more egalitarian than many other societies.(…) Ask an American how much his fancy house cost and he just might tell you. Ask a Quebecer and you’re likely to be greeted with stone silence.(…) Quebec has a significant “ideological blockage” in which its citizens are deeply suspicious of richness and rich people in general. He says one of the main reasons is a widespread conviction that when someone enriches himself, “someone else, somewhere else, gets screwed.”
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