Promise for the Middle Class

Jesus didn’t give a shit about power.

Or rather. Jesus didn’t give a shit about power in the way most of us would like to believe. He didn’t, and he doesn’t give a damn, I’d bet, about which political party or leader claims to have him on his side.

And do you know how I can tell?

Because none of the party leaders spend any time talking about the kind of people Jesus was. Marginalized. Racialized. Poverty-stricken. Oppressed.

Instead, with every breath, they intone their promises for the middle class.

But who are they, anyway?

Four years ago, Ericka wrote a little piece for Empire Remixed on the Middle Class, and it’s time we brought that out of the archives. Because Jesus wasn’t middle class, and chances are, neither are most of you:

If someone asked you where you’d place yourself on the income spectrum from low to middle to high, what would you say? The reality is that most of us – most of the readers of this blog, and most people in Canada would likely say, “middle.” Perhaps all of us would. In countries like ours, almost everyone – except for the poorest of the poor or the richest of the rich – places themselves in the middle.

We all identify as “the middle class.”

With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that most of the election promises are targeted towards “the middle class.” From income-splitting and tax credits for the arts or for volunteer firefighters, to incentives for Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) contributions, and increases in the amount individuals can save in their tax-free savings accounts, it’s all for “the middle class” – it’s all for us.

But is it really? Is it really for the middle class?

Or maybe the question is, are we really the middle class?

Because, let’s be honest, we can’t all be the middle class. Since we know with certainty that we don’t all have exactly the same income, we know that there’s a distribution. Somebody is – or, rather, some people are – poorer than me, and some people are richer than me.

But I’m in the middle.



The average annual income of individuals in Canada is about $31,000. The median annual income (i.e. the income exactly in the middle) is about $25,500.

Do you earn more than this?

Yes? Well then, hello big spender! You – yes you, big spender – are who many of the election promises announced thus far will benefit.

You who’s married to a partner who makes greater than $90,000 could save $1300 each year with income splitting.

You parents who can afford arts programs for a child can receive $500 back in tax credits.

You who can afford to have an investment banker can benefit from $1000 annually in matching funding for contributing to RESPs.

You who have an extra $5000 available each year can benefit from an increased threshold for the tax-free savings account.

And maybe this is you.

Maybe you can benefit from programs like these. But let’s be honest about one thing. If you can benefit from such programs then


Are not

The middle class.

Hey big spender. How are you going to vote?

Andrew Stephens-Rennie on FacebookAndrew Stephens-Rennie on Twitter
Andrew Stephens-Rennie
Andrew is a writer, dreamer and organizer with a keen interest in developing leaders in faith, compassion and justice.

He currently serves as the Director of Missional Renewal for the Anglican Diocese of Kootenay on the unceded territories of the Sinixt, Syilx, and Ktunaxa nations. He previously served as the Director of Ministry Innovation at Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, BC.

Andrew is cofounder and contributing editor at, and co-editor of "A Sort of Homecoming: Essays Honoring the Academic and Community Work of Brian Walsh" with Marcia Boniferro and Amanda Jagt.

2 Responses to “Promise for the Middle Class”

  1. Al Streett

    In fact, at the Republican debate Gov John Kasich spoke eloquently on this very subject.

    • Andrew Stephens-Rennie

      Thanks Al – From the vantage point of Canada, I’ve got to admit I haven’t paid much attention to the debates in the United States.


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