The Citizen reached out to the candidates running in the 2019 federal election and we asked them for brief comments on four topics of interest to constituents here in the Cowichan-Malahat-Langford region. Those topics include: environment and climate change, economic development, kids and families and health care. This is part three of a four-part series outlining their responses. Today’s topic is Kids and Families.
Blair Herbert – Liberal Party of Canada
As a father of four, Liberal candidate Blair Herbert understands the stresses facing families. “Providing a safe home, preparing nutritious meals, carving out quality time for activities and saving money all compete with limited time and money.” Young families look to their government for support and Herbert is proud of how the Liberals have responded.
In 2016, the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) was created, giving nine out of 10 families more money and lifting 300,000 children out of poverty. On average, families received $2,300 more in benefits during the first benefit year, tax-free, as compared to the previous Harper government. Further, the Liberals have boosted the CCB so that it keeps pace with the cost of living, by making annual increases starting July 2018.
The Liberals raised income taxes on the wealthiest one per cent in order to benefit nine million middle-class Canadians. The impact? Single Canadians now save an average of $330 each year, with an average savings of $540 for couples. According to the OECD, Canadian families now have one of the lowest effective tax rates in the OECD, and the lowest in the G7, largely thanks to these initiatives.
Home ownership has also been a priority. Liberals have helped 100,000 Canadians afford their first home by their saving hundreds each month on their mortgage through the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive; they have also increased the Home Buyers Plan, making it more flexible to help Canadians afford their first home. As of March, one million Canadians have been helped to find homes through new builds, renovations, and rental subsidies, as part of $7 billion in housing investments.
“Investing in our children is investing in our future. The Liberals have made substantial investments in children and families and will continue to do so. As your MP, I will be a strong voice in continuing this work.”
Alana DeLong — Conservative Party of Canada
The next election is about the kind of country Canada will be for you and your family. Will it be a country where you can’t get ahead because life is too expensive or will it be affordable? Where no matter who you are or where you live, you can achieve your dreams and build the life you want?
Parents know kids come with costs. Arts and sports activities can be costly, but are so enriching, educational, and enjoyable. A 2018 Ipsos poll found the average Canadian family spends $1,160 per year on their children’s school-year activities. In the survey, 55 per cent of Canadians say these activities put a strain on family finances and nearly a third say they would go into debt to finance those activities.
The Children’s Arts and Learning Tax Credit and the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit will put more money in parents’ pockets while helping their kids do well in school, learn a new skill, and reach their greatest potential. The Children’s Arts and Learning Tax Credit will allow parents to claim up to $500 per child for arts-related expenses or other extracurricular educational activities. With the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit, parents can claim up to $1,000 per child, per year for expenses related to fitness or sports activities.
The Conservatives will:
• Make maternity benefits tax-free.
• Make transit passes more affordable by implementing the Green Tax Credit for Public Transit.
• Boost the Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) allowable contributions.
• Remove the GST off home heating bills and home energy costs.
• Help homeowners pay for energy-saving renovations through the Green Homes Tax Credit.
• Provide a Universal Tax Cut to all hard working taxpayers.
A Conservative government will work with provinces and municipalities to knock down regulatory barriers that discourage new home construction so more homes can come on the market to lower prices.
Alistair MacGregor – New Democrat Party
Over the past four years as your Member of Parliament, I have been fighting to make life better for our families and children.
I know the stress of the climate crisis, stagnating wages, sky-rocketing housing costs, unaffordable child care, crushing student debt, and ballooning prescription drug prices are keeping people up at night.
Our country’s children and grandchildren are our future, and we must ensure we are doing what’s necessary to leave them the best future possible. This includes, first and foremost, addressing the climate crisis. The NDP’s Power to Change outlines a real plan to stop devastating climate change and transition to the clean-energy future.
The priorities of successive Liberal and Conservative governments have stripped away the services and supports that people count on, leaving everyday Canadians to pay the price. One in five children are left living in poverty and half of all Canadians live within $200 of insolvency every month. In a country as wealthy as ours, there’s simply no reason for this.
New Democrats have a real plan to grow our economy and make investments families’ need now. We can make life more affordable by investing in head-to-toe health care, and $10 billion annually in quality prescription drug coverage for everyone. We’ll tackle the housing crisis and create 500,000 units of quality, affordable housing, and making sure families have access to quality, affordable child care when they need it.
We keep hearing about the economy doing well for the rich, but we’re not seeing the benefits for our families. We have a plan to make our tax system fairer and ensure that the wealthiest individuals are paying their fair share.
On Oct. 21 please vote to send me back to Ottawa so I can continue working to ensure we address the climate crisis and invest in health care, housing and services our families and children need to thrive and build a successful future.
Lydia Hwitsum – Green Party of Canada
Having a family and staying connected to community form a strong sense of belonging, a sense that there is a place in the world where you are cared for and loved. We need to meet families where they are and look to find the best ways to support their strengths and development. This happens in a number of different ways and requires a responsive framework where families are supported and can be part of a society that values investments in children and families.
Indigenous children and families have been particularly negatively impacted by a system insensitive to Indigenous culture and teachings. The Green Party sets out an approach that supports, advocates, and invests in children and families and addresses the need for social justice, to form a strong framework for supporting children and families as part of society. These investments contribute to the development of a just society where we can see equitable access to services that make a real difference in supporting children as part of families. In addition, well-designed early learning and child-care are fundamental to meeting broader equity and social justice goals, for fighting poverty, as a foundation for children’s life-long learning, and as part of the backbone of a thriving society. Quality child care yields high social and economic returns in the short and long term.
Strengthening children’s health, development and well-being in the early years provide a strong foundation for learning and living in later years. As your Member of Parliament, I would advocate for equitable access to services and dedicated additional resources to make a universal, affordable, early learning and child-care system a reality.