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Looking past the cheers for the Tories [CA]

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Author: 
Whitcombe, Todd
Publication Date: 
17 Jul 2006
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During the last federal election, there was much made of the Conservative party's plan to give each and every Canadian $1,200 for child care. Or something like that, wasn't it? There was a lot of confusion over the message, but that is what the people that I talked to thought was going to happen.

But no, it wasn't $1,200 to each Canadian. It was per child under the age of five. That was the real promise. The ideological principle is that people know how to best spend their money when it comes to child care.

Of course, reality has now set in. The promise is not what it seems.

And you and I are stuck footing the bill for a program that will only benefit those that are very well off.

Why do I say this? Analysis of this government's announced child care allowance program has shown that the benefit is not really $1,200. Not even close, unless you are single-earner family earning more than $200,000.

Indeed, because it is a taxable benefit, it will increase the taxable income of anyone receiving it. It will replace the Canada Child Tax Benefit's young child supplement. And it will shift eligibility for a number of programs, including GST rebates. The net result is that for a single parent earning $30,000 per year, the $1,200 benefit will really be $301. That is a whopping $25.08 per month to help with child-care costs that typically run in the range of $600 to $700 per month.

Don't get me wrong; $25.08 per month is better than nothing. But a program that sees more spaces created in child-care facilities and subsidies to those that truly need the services -- such as a single parent trying to raise children on $30,000 -- is what we actually need.

- reprinted from the Prince George Citizen

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Entered Date: 
19 Jul 2006
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