Diane Finley's fun with statistics - Macleans.ca

Diane Finley’s fun with statistics

While fighting misrepresentation, the minister plays with the numbers

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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