Canada’s Federal Budget and Mathematical Literacy

First posted Friday, April 8, 2022 / Yom shishi, 7 Nisan, 5782

By David Orenstein, Danforth CTI, Retired

Ever since I retired from teaching high school mathematics, almost ten years ago, I’ve often wondered whether I and my colleagues had improved Canadian society. Or asked another way, is there a reasonably high level of mathematical literacy among our fellow Canadians?

Based on today’s issue of The Globe and Mail, which reports on yesterday’s federal budget, I can happily report that the answer is “Yes!”.

For example, Matt Lundy and Jason Kirby, in their Folio centre spread on “Federal Budget 2022”, make extensive use of graphs in explaining it to the average reader. There are nine of them, all making strategic use of colour in their exposition. There are four bar graphs and five broken line graphs, with several subtypes.

Each graph is accompanied by a couple of paragraphs of commentary, whether on “Budget Balance”, “Climate Change”, or Dental Care”, etc. All but two of the graphs are time series graphs. The remaining pair are both bar graphs: one comparing Canada’s “Housing Supply” with four other developed countries, and the other, percent rate of dental visits varying with income quintile.

In Robert Fife and Bill Curry’s frontpage summary of the budget, there is considerable reporting of very large amounts and of various rates. But that’s another story!



Mat Lundy and Jason Kirby, The Globe and Mail, Friday, April 8, p. A10-A11, “Federal budget 2022 highlights: What you need to know about housing, defence and climate spending”:

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