Cancel day care, honey, we’ve been robbed
Hey Justin, thanks for nothing.
The Canadian Values Party has a plan and one that doesn’t mess with the Canadian’s finances like your does. We plan to be honest and up front, not just boast the highlights and hide the truth.
Employment Minister Pierre Poilievre in Fredericton, N.B., on Thursday, July 23, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/James West
With the clarity of hindsight, the baby-faced Pierre Poilievre — unmarried and childless, as he is — was likely the wrong pitchman during the election to sell the Conservatives’ Universal Child Care Benefit.
But, as polarizing and non-relatable as he was in that role, at least Poilievre wasn’t going to snatch the money back.
The Justin Trudeau tribe, however, is doing just that.
Despite it being a major plank in the Liberals’ “sunny ways” platform of being transparent and up front, the Liberals conveniently left out the bit that their new child-care benefit would be clawed back because it is not indexed to inflation.
Ergo, the Liberals giveth and the Liberals taketh away.
Apologies all around.
Better if we all return our attention to China where they are going so gaga over Justin Trudeau that they are actually licking his photograph on their cellphone screens, the new in-thing apparently among Chinese millennials.
Thankfully Trudeau is not an Australian cane toad, or the hysteria over his presence in the People’s Republic of China would be mixed with hallucinations and freak-outs.
While Trudeau was off charming the commies, however, the federal parliamentary budget officer (PBO) just tabled a report showing Canadians were conned into thinking the Liberals’ child benefit was better than the one promised during the election campaign by the dreaded Stephen Harperites.
The Tories were quite upfront about their plan. It was “universal,” meaning every family with children of certain age would be getting supportive cheques in the mail.
Poilievre, to his credit, went on an extended campaign to reach some 200,000 Canadian families — the majority of them low income — to educate them to the money’s availability and assist them in their applications.
The Liberals, meanwhile, were keeping details hidden, and for justifiable reasons in the dirty world of politics.
They were selling a false bill of goods.
It is the job of the PBO, presently headed by Jean-Denis Frechette, to provide independent analysis to Parliament on the state of the nation’s finances and expose instances where government estimates appear wonky.
Being a pain in the ass to the government of the day is written between the lines of his job description.
And he has nailed the Liberals on this one.
The changes to the child benefit ushered in by the Liberals removes inflation indexing from the equation, meaning that the passage of time will reduce the buying power — the so-called “real value” — of the monthly payment.
Besides this erosion of value, the number of families who qualify for the benefit will slowly erode as well, as their income levels rise high enough to disqualify them.
What Canadian families are losing is not chump change.
If the new benefit were indexed to inflation, the PBO says the net cost over the next five years would be $42.4 billion.
With the Liberals’ sleight of hand,however, the net cost instead will be $17.2 billion.
That’s $25.2 billion that Canadian families believed they would be getting but will never see.
In any other jurisdiction, it would be called robbery.