Toronto – November 6, 2014 – Tom Mulcair and the NDP were the first party out of the blocks in announcing a major campaign commitment well ahead of the next federal election.
Mulcair announced that an NDP government would implement a National Child Care program modeled after the successful Quebec program, creating one million $15-a-day child care spaces. Women suffer the most from the lack affordable, quality child care, which stand as a barrier to getting back into the workplace. Research also shows that government-funded child care pays for itself by increasing participation in the workforce, resulting in more tax revenues for government. With the federal government projecting budget surpluses, now would be the time to launch the first new truly national social program seen in a very long time.
Harper responded with his same old bag of tricks, including his plan for Income Splitting disguised with the gentle title “The Family Tax Cut”. No matter what he calls it, Harper’s income splitting plan has been universally panned — including by some of Harper’s most ideological friends like the C.D. Howe Institute whose report showed that 85% of households received no benefit under the plan. Even the late Jim Flaherty, Harper’s own former finance minister, criticized it for benefiting only wealthy Canadians. Harper’s Minister of State for Social Development, Candace Bergen, has also admitted income splitting would not benefit single parents or low income Canadian families.
On top of Harper’s plan to give the richest Canadian a tax cut they don’t need, the con boss has increased the child care benefit per child up to age six, from $100 to $160 a month while at the same time eliminating the Child Tax Credit. Meanwhile, the average cost for daycare across the country is around $1,000 a month. And while Harper’s child care benefit scheme will spend $26 billion of taxpayer’s money over the next six years, it does not include a plan to create even one new accessible, affordable child care space.
With the election still six to twelve months away, these two competing visions are just the start of the campaign. But for an opening salvo, we have the Harper option of further tax breaks for the wealthy, versus an NDP plan to provide affordable universal child care to families so they can increase their participation in the work force in a meaningful way while creating more tax revenues for government.