Monday, September 24, 2012

Canada Is Missing The Poverty Line

Canada is holding out its hands asking for change, our country is in poverty and it needs our help.

Where other countries are working to reduce their poverty like responsible world citizens, Canada is doing nothing. And worse yet it can't even hope to lift itself out of poverty because Canada doesn't even know what poverty is. Unlike other developed countries including the United States and many European nations, Canada doesn't have an official poverty line.

Unable to quantify progress, our country is like a beggar on a street corner, only collecting enough money from taxpayers to scrape by and not enough to get the proper help it needs.

Without an official poverty line every government program designed to eliminate poverty is temporary and ultimately a wasted effort. It's as if instead of using the money it earns from passersby to get clean and get its act together, Canada is blowing it on an addiction that leads nowhere but down.

Some of the bleeding hearts sympathetic to this Canada might point out that StatsCanada's Low Income Cut-Offs (LICOs) serve as a functional poverty line, however besides the fact StatsCanada explicitly states LICOs are not and should not be used as a poverty line, there are other dramatically different poverty measures which confuse what progress has been made and what progress should be made.

LICOs for instance are a relative measure of poverty and depend on the average cost of necessities depending on region, number of family members, access to social services and the like. Compared to absolute measures of poverty, where only the most basic necessities are considered, LICOs are often much higher.

But whether relative measures of poverty are better than absolute ones isn't the point, the fact is Canada's Parliament, including all of the major parties are not even seeing the need to establish an objective standard of poverty where we can actually measure the efficiency, if any, of government programs that are intended to help those most needy in our society.

If Canada is to help get itself out of poverty it needs to know if what it is doing is working or not. Without an official poverty line Canada will never know, and will be stuck in the alleys throwing away the little money it does collect on short-term fixes.

It's time Canada gets to work getting itself out of poverty, it's time we stop just giving it money, and we give it standards.

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