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Wildrose touts new child tax credit program: Alberta parents would save $200 per child

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Henton, Darcy
Publication Date: 
30 Mar 2012



Alberta parents will save $200 per child annually under a new child tax credit program that will cost taxpayers $130 million, if the Wildrose forms the government on April 23.

Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith announced the $2,000 deduction during a visit to a daycare centre in Sherwood Park, a suburban community on Edmonton's eastern boundary.

Smith, who coloured a flower while joining preschool children around a table, said she modelled the program after the federal tax credit program which she said has been "incredibly popular."

"The $2,000 per child credit is a meaningful tax relief measure that will put money back into the pockets of Alberta families," she said. "That's hundreds of extra dollars for families to put toward child care, towards Pee Wee hockey or dance lessons or a university fund - whatever is the priority for an individual family."

She said it was part one of a three-part Wildrose family pack. Parts two and three will be announced later in the campaign, she said.

A family of four, with two children under age 18, would save $400 a year.

But rival parties said the program won't significantly aid the people who need it.

"It's irrelevant for the people who have money and it's meaningless for people who don't," said PC campaign strategist Stephen Carter, Redford's former chief of staff.

"It's too small to make an impact on low-income families, and if you're able to afford it, it doesn't make any sense at all. That's why we're pro-posing something that makes more sense for lower-income families."

The Progressive Conservatives say the cost is more likely to be $176 million, based on Statistics Canada numbers for children in Alberta. They say there were 884,645 children aged 0-18 in Alberta as of July 1 last year.

NDP Leader Brian Mason called the Wildrose plan "in-adequate."

"A $200-per-child tax credit is minimal," he said. "They're trying to create the impression that they want to help families with kids afford the daily cost of life, but that is not going to go very far at all."

The NDP leader said his party would cap the daily cost of child care at $25 and $9 for after-school care, and would spend $50 million on expanding child care programs.

The plan would also see instructional fees for students in kindergarten to Grade 12 will be prohibited and voluntary full-day kindergarten introduced.

Liberal Leader Raj Sherman dismissed the Wildrose proposal for a $2,000 child tax credit as a vote getting gimmick that won't add up to much given the rest of the Wildrose platform.

"I like the notion of making life easier for working families," said Sherman, but "small measures" like the $200 tax credit won't do much to counter other measures the Wildrose will bring like privatizing more health care that will hurt families.

Sherman was also fearful the Wildrose would cut services to pay for the program.

"The Wildrose is not being honest with Albertans," said Sherman. "Where will they get the money to pay for this if they are not going to increase taxation?"

-reprinted from the Calgary Herald


Entered Date: 
4 Apr 2012
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