“Earlier today I became aware of an article published in the Mississauga News and Brampton Guardian referencing an interview I had taken part in earlier this week. In this article I was misquoted, which I brought to the attention of the author of the article. The author, upon reviewing his notes, concurred with my assessment and issued an updated article correcting the quote. “
“I would like to thank the Brampton Guardian and the Mississauga News for quickly acting on the misrepresentation and issuing a corrected article. I hope that all publications which have been based on the initial incorrect article will follow suit.”
Below please find attached the updated article with the corrected quote.
Ottawa unveils income-splitting plan, boosts monthly child benefit
By Joseph Chin
MISSISSAUGA – The federal government is pressing ahead with income splitting despite criticism from various quarters, notably Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa, who fired off a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper expressing his concerns when the plan was announced in October.
The plan, called the Family Tax Cut, will allow spouses in two-parent families with children under 18 to divvy up their incomes up to $50,000 in order to reduce their overall tax bill.
But critics are suggesting the policy is flawed since it won’t benefit the majority of Canadians. Despite the criticism, however, the federal government is expected to implement the measure early in the new year.
Wednesday, Minister of State for Social Development Candice Bergen was in Mississauga – Sousa’s backyard – to sell the plan directly to Canadians. She dismisses charges by opposition parties the plan does nothing for most parents, especially those with similar incomes.
“Literally every family in Canada will get tax benefit,” she said. “It will impact close to half the families – 1.7 million families. Two-thirds of those families are moderate- to low-income.”
The government estimates 1.7 million families could save an average of $1,300 a year.
In addition, Bergen noted the government is also increasing the monthly benefit paid for children under age six from $100 to $160, and introducing a new $60 monthly benefit for children between the ages of 6 and 17.
Bergen has told the House of Commons that a single parent with two children, earning $30,000, will receive more than $1,500 per year under the plan. A single parent making $50,000, with two kids, will see almost $1,000 in relief and benefits.
“Here is the difference between Conservatives and Liberals,” Bergen said. “Liberals think that if we put more money in parents’ pockets, they will spend it on beer and popcorn. We disagree. We believe that helping families make their lives more affordable is good for the economy, is good for the country, and is good for Canadian families.”
Mississauga-Erindale MP Bob Dechert accompanied Bergen on her visit to Peel. He notes the median family income in his riding is $93,000, and those families will benefit from income-splitting.
“The response has been extremely positive. I haven’t heard anything negative,” he said.
Many new Canadians, Dechert said, prefer to receive the Universal Child Care Benefit – the actual cash – to use for childcare services because they want to send their children in their formative years to daycare provided by somebody from their community, somebody who can speak the language and knows the culture.
“They’ve often told me that mainstream daycare centres that might be sponsored by the government, like a public school, don’t provide that kind of cultural learning,” he said.
Employment Minister Jason Kenney suggests that helping stay-at-home parents would encourage stable families.
“All of the social research indicates that folks who come from stable families tend to be better in terms of their economic prospects and that income splitting supports the families who are investing in their kids,” Kenney told a gathering of conservative thinkers earlier this year.
The Conservatives first pledged to bring in income-splitting during the 2011 election campaign. At the time, Harper pledged to introduce the measure, similar to one for seniors introduced in 2007, as long as there was a balanced budget, which is now expected in 2015.
“Next year’s budget will be balanced, and we’re following through with our promise,” said Bergen.
Under income-splitting, couples with children under the age of 18 would receive a tax credit of up to $2,000 as of the 2014 taxation year. But, according to think-tank C.D. Howe Institute, the plan will provide minimal benefit to the vast majority of families while giving the biggest benefits to the country’s most affluent single-income families.
The program is expected to cost the feds an estimated $2.4 billion in foregone revenue this year, and an average of $2 billion over the next five years. Also, the scheme could end up costing provinces at least $1.7 billion a year.
“If the federal government wants to reduce taxes in its own budget, it should ensure that there is not a fiscal cost as a byproduct to provinces,” said Susie Heath, a spokesperson for Sousa.