Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Star daringly holds Provincial Liberals accountable for ... Federal Conservatives

You might have noticed that there's been some classic, classic stuff at the Star lately. On the first day of the New Year we were treated to this (via SDA which has some worthwhile links). Yesterday this.

I love the first line:
If our political leaders muster the will to act, 2008 could very well mark the year in the history books when the appalling but silent enemy of poverty in Canada was finally engaged.
What?! The Toronto Star wishes to engage the enemy of poverty?! Have they gone mad?! Their ailing readership finally driven them to this suggestion of impending editorial suicide? ... No, no, no. Not to worry. Turns out it's just the sort of sloppiness that's bound to occur when you're too busy fellating the federal and provincial Liberals.

... Other scintillatingly brutal sentences include:
To his credit, Premier Dalton McGuinty has made a credible, albeit modest, start to raise the incomes of the poor.
(Surely we could have fit some mention of credit cards, credit hikes, and the federal government's lack of credibility in there too?)

But with a federal election almost a certainty this year, it will be difficult for Harper to keep ignoring a problem, which Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion has termed "an immense human tragedy."
Dude! Look out!

Jeez! What was that?

I can't be certain, but I think it was an immense human tragedy. It had the same hooked beak, but I didn't get a look at the markings on the wings.

And this is just outstanding:
Nowhere is the need for swift, concerted action more urgent or pressing than in Toronto. A groundbreaking United Way report last month found that nearly 30 per cent of Toronto families with children – almost 93,000 families – now live in poverty, up from 16 per cent in 1990. That rate is far higher than in the rest of the Greater Toronto Area, the province and the country. For single-parent families, the poverty rate in Toronto comes close to an astonishing 50 per cent.
Oh for God's sake! 93,000 families?! I couldn't be less convinced of this figure--given my understanding of what poverty is--if they had said a million-gazillion families.


ADDENDUM (January 3rd)

Canadian Blue Lemons links to this treatment of the deficiencies of the LIM and LICO methods of poverty measurement (Low-Income Measurement (LIM) being the method used by the United Way in the above-mentioned "groundbreaking report"). Essential reading if you're fuzzy on the means by which poverty is determined in this country.


ADDENDUM II (January 8th)

Chris Selley digs nice and deep and turns up this fantastic nugget, from a story by Peter Shawn Taylor, regarding UNICEF's claim that child poverty is up 3.3% since 1989 (my emphasis):
[A] line graph purports to show child poverty in Canada rising from 14.4 per cent in 1989 to 17.7 per cent in 2007. None of these numbers are right. The figure for 1989 was changed after Maclean's pointed out an error. And StatsCan has not yet published 2007 figures, so where did that come from? Lisa Wolff, UNICEF Canada's director of advocacy, explains that she inserted a 2005 figure for 2007 in order to make the graph appear up-to-date. But this too is wrong — 17.7 per cent is actually the 2003 number. Presented with the evidence, Wolff claims she'd rather not be "quibbling over numbers." The chart in question is designed to tell a story, she says. "The line is not a precise calibration. It is supposed to be a picture of intransigence . . . [in] child poverty rates. The story is valid."