Diane Finley's fun with statistics - Macleans.ca

Diane Finley’s fun with statistics

While fighting misrepresentation, the minister plays with the numbers


While the Human Resources Minister was defending herself against misrepresentation yesterday, she was also faced with questions about child poverty. In response to Liberal questions on the topic, she offered the following.

Mr. Speaker, it is a little bit late for the Liberals to be showing an interest in this. Child poverty, under their reign, was over 18%. It is now under 8%.

This is not entirely untrue. In 1996, when the Liberals were in government, the percentage of those under the age of 18 in a low income situation was indeed 18.4% (see here). Thing is, the Liberals were in power for another nine years and 1996 was the peak in this particular regard. By 2005, the rate was 11.7%. From 1993, when the Liberals won power, to 2005, the rate dropped 5.3 points.

Here are the low income rates for those under 18 between 1991 and 2010.

1991. 15.2
1992. 15.1
1993. 17.0
1994. 16.3
1995. 17.5
1996. 18.4
1997. 17.4
1998. 15.7
1999. 14.6
2000. 13.9
2001. 12.2
2002. 12.4
2003. 12.7
2004. 13.0
2005. 11.7
2006. 11.1
2007. 9.5
2008. 9.0
2009. 9.4
2010. 8.2


Diane Finley’s fun with statistics

  1. mark twain ~ facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable

  2. This is just like when the Tories take credit for the current downward trend of crime rates. Since taking office, suddenly the Tories are often found touting the fact that crime rates have been going down on their watch, but they conveniently forget to mention that the downward trend in crime rates began DECADES before they were in power.

    Hard to take the Tories too seriously when they do this.

  3. Don’t worry, the new E.I. rules Minister Finley is presiding over will turn that trend around.

  4. Next, the Cons will be taking credit for the fact that the iPad was released during their tenure. Oh, and the so-called Arab Spring happened while they’ve been in office. Not to mention the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.

  5. Didn’t those peak child poverty stats more or less correspond with the deficit fighting years also? Not to give the libs a free ride as the essentially down loaded some the costs to the provinces…kind of like the tories are doing now…there’s nothing new under then sun, including bogus selective political rhetoric.

    Just out of interest do you have the figures going back further AW? I’m curious to see how both Trudeau and Mulroney stacked up in fighting child poverty [or poverty in general] since both in my view had to deal with considerably more vicious economic recessions than this govt for sure and perhaps Chretien’s too. Even if the recessions of the 70/80/ early 90s were much more localized. Nice to know that we are making progress in some areas though, regardless of party.

  6. The figures don’t lie. It’s the liars that figure. — Mark Twain?

  7. Miss Finley is correct: Child poverty is approaching dangerously low numbers. Thank God she’s here to prevent any such situation by kicking more people off EI and via her ongoing attacks against decent working-class wages (encouraging low-wage foreign workers in BC mining operations and union busting).