I met Peggy Nash, the NDP MP for
So, I’d like to hope that she’d have an innocent explanation, or be willing to apologize and correct the record, because the following statement she made to the National Post, in a story on Dion’s very well received anti-poverty plan:
The New Democratic Party's critic, Peggy Nash, also questioned the Liberal record on eradicating poverty when in office.Except it is really Peggy and the NDP that lack credibility on this issue, because she’s just plain wrong.
"Child poverty has increased in this country while we had Liberal majority governments and surplus budgets so I think Mr. Dion has a credibility gap on this," she said.
According to Statistics Canada, the child poverty rate in 1993, the year Jean Chretien took office, was 16.7 per cent. In 2005, the last year of Liberal minority government under Paul Martin, the rate was 11.7 per cent. That’s a decline of some five percentage points. If measured in real numbers, the number of children living in poverty, according to Statistics Canada, dropped from 1,157,000 in 1993 to 788,000 in 2003.
Those are the after tax low income cutoff (LICO) numbers. The before tax figures (which aren’t as good a measure, as there are tax measures designed to help here) show higher raw numbers, but still show a decline. From 1,541,000 or 22.3 per cent in 1993, this measure dropped to 1,132,000 or 16.8 per cent in 2005. A drop of some 5.5 percentage points over the Liberal term in government.
While child poverty is still unacceptably high, the statistics show child poverty actually declined over the Liberal term in government, both in real numbers and in per cent, and did not increase, as the NDP’s Peggy Nash falsely claimed.
If Peggy’s intention was not to intentionally mislead Canadians, and to ignore the facts and just fling more mud at the Liberals, then I hope she’ll apologize to Stephane Dion and correct the record here. It would be the right thing to do.
It may just be a knee-jerk NDP reaction, to reflexively attack anything and everything the Liberals do, facts be dammed, while ignoring the real, common enemy. I’d like to hope though that, on an issue as important as child poverty, we can have a real debate, not just glib partisan mudslinging like these comments from Peggy and the NDP.
The ball is in her court. Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers