Environics survey shows 76% support for national program like the one the Harper Conservatives are now in the process of scrapping
Toronto (21 June 2006) - A new poll indicates that Canadians are rejecting Tory Prime Minister Stephen Harper's plan to distribute a $1,200 annual child allowance to parents with children under six years of age.
Instead, an Environics poll of more than 2,000 Canadians has found that 76% support a national affordable child care strategy such as the former Liberal government's 2004federal-provincial agreement that Harper's Conservative minority government is preparing to cancel.
"Support for a national child care strategy was high across the country in both rural and urban communities, in all provinces and across all demographics," says Monica Lysack, Executive Director of the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada (CCAAC).
"They see that this plan isn't going to help them find affordable, quality care for their children. Canadians just aren't buying into the government's strategy."
The poll, commissioned by the CCAAC, shows that only 35% of Canadians support the government's child allowance plan.Child care will determine how many Canadians vote
What's most crucial for the Tories is that many Canadians say that their opposition to the child allowance is strong enough that it is likely to influence their vote in the next federal election. This is even true for one third of Conservative voters.
"This will be a central issue in the next election," predicts Lysack. "Stephen Harper should be very concerned."
Laurel Rothman, the national director of Campaign 2000, a campaign to end child poverty, says the poll indicates that Canadians perceive the Tory allowance as "an effort to buy them off as cheaply as possible, without actually solving the problem."
"After taxes and the loss of other benefits like the young child supplement, the net benefit will actually be much lower than $1,200 for many Canadians."
In fact, families in the lower middle-income range will take home the least - as little as $301.
"Compare $301 to the cost of full-time, regulated child care, which can be as much as $12,000 a year, and tell me, who is this going to help?" asks Rothman.
Families in the highest income bracket will receive the most from Harper's plan, with net benefits of $971. Campaign 2000 supports an equitable child benefit for families and funding for a universal child care system.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is an active supporter of the CCAAC and its Code Blue for Child Care  campaign. NUPGE