Poilievre: Harper, not Trudeau Sr., actually reduced poverty
It has been almost five decades since Pierre Trudeau pronounced his goal of a “Just Society,” which included economic equality and reduced poverty.
Years later, a young economist in Alberta would enter politics intent on unravelling the Trudeau legacy. Stephen Harper, the longest-serving Conservative prime minister since John A. Macdonald, retired from politics last week.
So which man, Trudeau or Harper, created a more “Just Society” for the less fortunate?
Let us examine the facts:
A tabulation from Statistics Canada shows that in 1984 when Trudeau retired after a decade-and-a-half in power, 8.5 per cent of Canadians were below the basic needs poverty line. After almost a decade of Harper, that number had dropped to a record low of 4.2 per cent, a one-third decline from the rate he inherited from the previous government.
If you do not like those numbers, try Statistics Canada’s low-income cut-off line (LICO), which measures poverty and inequality based on the share of income that households must devote to food, clothing and shelter. When Trudeau left office, the percentage of people living below that line had increased to 13.7 per cent. In Harper’s last full year in office, it dropped to a record low of 8.8 per cent.