Justin Trudeau is putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to the Conservative government’s newly enhanced universal child care benefit.
The Liberal leader maintains it is wrong to give the benefits to wealthy families who don’t need financial help. And, to underscore his point, he plans to give his own family’s benefit payment to charity.
With three young children (one under the age of six), Trudeau is entitled to collect annual UCCB payments of about $3,400. But, in an interview Tuesday, he announced he’ll give the money to La Maison Bleue, a charitable group in his Montreal riding.
“When it comes to child benefits, fair doesn’t mean giving everyone the same thing,” he said recently. “It means giving people what they need.”
So, should the Liberals win this fall’s election, Trudeau is vowing to scrap income splitting for couples with children—a measure worth more than $2 billion, and one many experts have said will benefit primarily the top 15% of income earners.
He’s promising to plow the resulting saved money into a new, tax-free child benefit. It would replace the UCCB and two other existing child benefits with what Liberals say would be more generous payments for most parents than what they currently receive from the Conservative government.
Trudeau says he actually agrees with the Conservatives when they say that boosting child benefits will help stimulate the sluggish economy, but he says he disagrees with their insistence that all families should get the same amount.
Under the Liberal proposal, benefits would be gradually reduced for families with incomes of more than $150,000, and they’d cut off entirely for those with incomes over $200,000. “We’re choosing to do more for the people who need it by doing less for the people who don’t,” says Trudeau.
Trudeau also had tough words for NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, who has promised to keep the current UCCB as well as introduce a program to create one million $15-a-day child spaces, which would be available to parents regardless of income.
“In both of the NDP positionings, they are continuing to give benefits and advantages to wealthy Canadians,” says Trudeau, who has stated that he’s equally mystified that the NDP has slammed his proposal to hike income taxes for the wealthiest Canadians.