Buried behind all the news of surging Tories in today’s Toronto Star is a fascinating piece by Dennis Raphael, associate professor at the School of Health Policy and Management at York University. Raphael argues a direct link between low child poverty rates and what he calls “left cabinet share” in governments. The statistics he uses to make his point are pretty revealing:
The best predictor of child poverty rates is also the best predictor of official commitment to providing its citizens with a modicum of security and well-being: The influence of “left” parties in government as measured by “left cabinet share.”
To illustrate: Sweden had a 32 per cent left cabinet share and a child poverty rate of 2.4 per cent. Belgium had a 13 per cent left cabinet share and a 6 per cent child poverty rate. Canada had 0 per cent left cabinet share and a 14 per cent rate. And the U.S. also had the lowest left cabinet share at 0 per cent and a 25 per cent child poverty rate.
Raphael goes on to argue that left cabinet share influences trends toward full employment, equitable wealth distribution, and strong social programs, all of which are, presumably, factors determining a lower child poverty rate.
What does all that mean for “right” cabinet share? Well, I guess Canada is about to find out.