Recently, BC’er exposed fabrications on the part of the NDP when it comes to Liberal record on poverty. They actually claimed poverty went up while the Liberals had surplus budgets which is a complete lie.
Now we have the Conservatives jumping on board parroting a similarly deceptive line :
Child poverty actually rose under the Liberal watch
They fail to update their website basically for 3 weeks (h/t Kady O'Malley) and this is what they come up with?
They provide a link to the supposed evidence at least, but what do we find at that link? Click to the next page and you see:
It is a positive sign that the rate of child poverty dropped for the fourth consecutive year
The same link at Campaign 2000 also provides a graph of child poverty rates from 1989-2000:
As we can see poverty was declining under the Liberal watch from 1996 on. So while the Conservative line was not an outright lie like what came from the NDP, it’s clearly meant to imply that child poverty was worse when the Liberals left office then when they came in.
But ok, let’s pretend the Conservatives really meant to say that poverty just went up until 1996 (3 years into a 13 year mandate before declining every year thereafter). Now why might child poverty have gone up in the first few years? Could it be because the Conservatives left behind such a mess economically that Canada was being referred to as a borderline third-world country and there were even calls for the IMF to be brought in? Could it be because some damn hard choices had to be made to clean up the mess Conservatives left behind? The link at the Conservative site also mentions that some poverty programs were cut during the deficit slashing days, but weren’t Stephen Harper and the reform party calling on the Liberals to go further at the time? That the cuts should be much deeper?
Let’s not get all revisionist here, the Harper Conservatives have never cared about the poor. Once we got back to surpluses again you can see child poverty did go down each year as Campaign 2000 notes and many social program cuts were restored (something a Conservative government would never have done). Child poverty continued to decline each year after 2000 and was 11.7% when the Liberals left office.
Clearly, the people who do research for the Conservatives and NDP need to give their heads a shake.
But I don’t want to sound like I’m white-washing the Liberal record, even Stéphane Dion says the Liberals did not do as well as he would have liked (the link at the Conservative site also gives us the shocking news that Ken Dryden said the exact same thing as Dion). But Dion has laid out a plan to achieve ambitious targets and he’s indicated that what gets revealed on the campaign trail will be the most detailed poverty plan Canada has ever seen and will be fully costed. He deserves credit for taking this issue by the horns and calling on all the poverty groups to hold his feet to the fire on it.
You might ask why is the only ONLY response from the NDP and Conservatives to mislead Canadians and set up a straw man to attack (the “Liberal record”) instead of discussing the plan itself? I think Canadians know Stéphane Dion was not PM in the last Liberal government and therefore couldn’t call all the shots, just like no one in the NDP holds Howard Hampton responsible for the decisions made by Bob Rae while Hampton was at the cabinet table. Even then, neither the Conservatives nor the NDP can even honestly attack the Liberal record because they just don’t want to admit that poverty went down on the whole over the course of the Liberal term in office.
You might also wonder why many poverty groups are praising Stephane Dion for his poverty plan, yet the other parties only attack him in a completely misleading manner for it?
Could it be that the Conservatives and NDP are afraid that Dion’s found the right approach on this issue and that his plan will resonate with Canadians? That they know that if given the chance, Dion would get the job done?
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