Income Splitting: A Pacifier, Not A Program

March 28, 2011

1-minute read

Income splitting?

Really? That’s the Conservatives’ big plan for helping to ease the financial burden of couples with children?

I'm not surprised. After all, this is the government for whom $100/month (taxable!) for each child under six is their version of a universal child care plan. Now, I won’t claim that money didn’t provide my household with a few extra dollars for diapers. But as for mitigating the ongoing costs of daycare—let’s be honest—it doesn’t even come close.

Over the past two and a half decades, Canadian politicians, on the whole, have fallen woefully short in addressing the Canadian crisis in child care, and the numbers reinforce that: 77% of Canadians consider the lack of access to affordable child care to be a serious problem.

If Stephen Harper really wanted to help parents trying to make ends meet, he would do something to end the patchwork quilt of just-in-time measures so many parents have to navigate trying to find quality care for their kids. He would recognize the cost of child care as being near-prohibitive for some parents, and an enormous expense for many others.  He would understand that the very best way to help ease the financial burden of most parents is not by introducing income splitting—which pulls even more of the rug out from under the tax base making it even more regressive—but by building a high quality, affordable, accessible child care program for all parents and kids who need it.

But instead, we have Human Resources Minister Diane Finley who maintains that a national child-care program “forces parents to hand over child-rearing duties to others.” What an insult to all the remarkable caregivers who are helping me and my partner raise our kids. What an insult to me and my partner.

Where child care is concerned, once again we’re seeing the Conservative penchant for pacifiers—income splitting here, an inadequate taxable allowance there--not programs. It’s a poor substitute for real progress. Kids and their parents deserve more.

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