In his Jan. 11 report to the community, a report published in this newspaper, MP Colin Mayes makes a case for how the Harper government has helped lower-income families in Canada.
I would suggest, at best, Mr. Mayes has taken considerable liberties with the reports and statistics he employs to support his argument. And, sadly, these liberties distract us from focusing on real solutions to poverty.
He is correct is saying a previous Progressive Conservative government, that of Brian Mulroney, endorsed in 1989 a New Democratic motion to end child poverty by the year 2000.
The motion, introduced by former NDP leader Ed Broadbent, was adopted unanimously by all parties.
What Mr. Mayes fails to mention is that his boss, Stephen Harper, later called that motion, and apparently Commons’ support for it, “the high water mark of political stupidity in this country.”
It therefore seems absurd that Mr. Mayes would rely on such posturing to build his argument the Harper government is doing wonderful things for Canada’s impoverished.
In fact, a Campaign 2000 annual report released last November suggests Harper government action has actually led to an increase in child poverty in Canada.
“More children and their families live in poverty as of 2012 than they did when the House of Commons unanimously resolved to end child poverty more than 25 years ago,” the report says.
According to the report, based on Stats Canada tax-filer data, child and family poverty has increased to 1,331,530 children in 2012 from 1,066,150 children in 1989.
The report also suggests government action to eliminate key Statistics Canada measures in 2013 has made 2014, “the most difficult year since 1989 to report on child and family poverty.”
That government action has also made it far easier for the Harper government to couch its predatory economic and social programming in misrepresentations and make it almost believable.
However, a quick read of the UNICEF report will show how much the Harper government has twisted the report’s findings to suit its own selfish needs.
As UNICEF Canada’s executive director, David Morley, put it: “The face of poverty in Canada is a child’s face. This is unacceptable. It is clearly time for Canada to make children a priority when planning budgets and spending our nation’s resources, even in tough economic times.”
There are far too many adults and children who are truly suffering. Mr. Mayes’ misrepresentation is damaging not only to them, but to all of us who want to end poverty, end hunger, end homelessness and end the soul-wrenching devastation that those experiences bring to our social unity.
North Okanagan – Shuswap