Canada’s unanimity on child subsidies is dangerous to conservatism
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer announced this week that he would not tax maternity and parental leave benefits, which come from the government’s employment insurance scheme.
The policy is in line with the stance of the Conservative Party since the Harper era, which is that it is the role of government to subsidize people’s children.
Of course, the Conservative Party is not alone in this. The Trudeau Liberals have their Canada Child Benefit, which gives a handout in the number of hundreds of dollars a month for nearly every child in Canada. What is striking about the Conservative Party’s stance is that it is antithetical to a conservative notion of the role of government.
Conservatives believe that government should generally leave people alone and that people should be responsible for themselves. They believe that every person should be entitled to the fruits of his/her labor, only to have a portion taken away for a very justifiable service. Each person is also responsible to provide for themselves and their own family.
This policy, of course, violates both of these principles by taking money away from hard working people in order to provide for other people who have no reason for not providing for themselves.
Perhaps one could argue that Canadian conservatism includes a role for the government in taking steps to reduce poverty. Indeed, there have been attempts by the Trudeau government to spin the Canada Child Benefit as an anti-poverty measure, but this policy is nothing more than a vote-buying child subsidy. How do we know? The benefit doesn’t immediately end (or even taper severely) after one makes more than whatever poverty line the government wants to establish.
How can something be an anti-poverty measure if you’re giving money to people well out of poverty? The Canada Child Benefit spreads money primarily to people with the means to raise their own children. I can attest to this personally: I am a public sector lawyer expecting my first baby in January 2020.
I do not make extraordinary money as a brand new public sector lawyer; I am solidly in the middle class. Except I can guarantee you that I make enough such that having the government take money away from honest people to subsidize my baby is crazy.
If Andrew Scheer has his way, you’ll be subsidizing this lawyer’s baby to the tune of an extra $4000.
You cannot even console yourself that the money is going to be spent on necessities like diapers. People do not buy the necessities of life with marginal bonus income. They buy necessities with the first portion of their income, and then the leftovers get spent on luxury goods.
Everything from this subsidy is marginal and goes on top of what a middle class parent already had. That means that this money isn’t going to diapers. It’s going to mom’s new iPhone upgrade, or a down payment on a car that they would have otherwise waited to buy. These are not expenditures that justify siphoning away an honest person’s income.
If you want a poverty reduction strategy, I’m willing to talk policy. Let’s talk UBI, or negative income tax. Perhaps we can have a Canada Child Benefit that severely tapers once a household makes $45,000.
But as it is, this is not a poverty reduction strategy. Instead, we have a policy that will pay thousands of dollars to people who can afford to raise their children themselves. Clearly, I’m the winner in today’s Andrew Scheer sweepstakes. The losers are taxpayers and conservative values in Canada.
There isn’t a clear solution to this crisis in Canadian conservatism. Andrew Scheer is part of the problem. He tends to be the leader of opportunistic liberty, meaning he supports personal and economic freedom whenever the polls show it could give him an edge.
This is quite ironic given that he ran his leadership campaign on being a “true conservative,” and mocked candidate Michael Chong as being “Liberal-lite.” In reality, Chong’s radical package of tax reform, which involved slashing income taxes and moving towards consumption taxes, was revolutionary in its conservatism.
But we know how that story played out. Chong was obliterated with less than 10% of the vote even after many candidates were kicked off the ballot. This suggests that the problem is not only with Scheer, but rather is endemic to the Conservative Party itself. As mentioned above, this stance is not new to the Conservative Party, which has been happily subsidizing babies since 2006.
I see the problem as one of belief. It appears that the Conservative party does not believe in the values at its core. This unbelief is resulting in a slow death of Canadian conservatism as it continues to concede on policies that have no business being proposed by conservatives.
The CPC needs MPs and leaders who are unafraid of taking a proud stance in
The former intermin Conservative Party leader Rona Ambrose has officially announced that she will not be running in the Conservative leadership contest.
Ambrose, who was encouraged to run by Brad Wall and Jason Kenney, is a highly respected figure within the party with particularly deep roots in Western Canada.
In a statement published to Facebook, Ambrose stated that it was “humbling to be considered” for CPC leadership. “I love our party, I love the people in it and I love our country. I have really struggled with the decision to return to political life,” she added.
“I loved my 13 years in public service as an MP, minister and especially as leader of this great party. But right now, I am focused on making a difference through the private sector. Creating policy and advocating for our energy sector to create jobs … the truth is, I love being back in Alberta.”
This will come as a blow to many Conservative supporters across Western Canada who viewed Ambrose as the best chance of defeating Justin Trudeau. She also would have been a deeply competitive candidate in the leadership election.
As a result, Marilyn Gladu remains the only women who is competing in the leadership contest. This announcement will be celebrated by the veteran Tory candidates like Peter MacKay and Erin O’Toole, who risked having their vote share divided.
Newly elected Conservative Member of Parliment Derek Sloan is running to become leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.
Sloan was elected in the recent 2019 election for the constituency of Hastings-Lennox and Adlington in Ontario. Being a new MP, it is unclear how Sloan intends to make much of an impact in the leadership contest that has seasoned veterans, such as Peter MacKay and Erin O’Toole.
Sloan declared his leadership intentions on Twitter, telling his 931 followers “I’m in. It’s time to stop being afraid to be Conservative. Stay tuned.”
In a news release sent out on Wednesday, Sloan stated that he was “actively involved in the Conservative Party both as a student at Queen’s University and in the local riding.”
Before entering politics, Sloan worked as a lawyer and business-owner. In 2019, Sloan, in his mid thirties, defeated the incumbent Liberal candidate by more than 2,000 votes.
Sloan will be fighting an uphill battle. The leadership hopeful will have to pay a non-refundable $200,000 entry fee, and also has to collect 3,000 signatures by March 25.
Rick Peterson, who is a venture capitalist from Alberta, will announce his leadership bid for the leadership of the Conservative Party in the next few days.
Peterson told The Post Millennial, that his supporters were “now collecting signatures and he has filed papers with the Party.” Peterson went on to say that he “will be the voice of Western Canada and the resource sector.”
Peterson appears to only have thrown his hat in the ring after Rona Ambrose reportedly stepped aside from the contest. Peterson hopes to “fill the void that appears to be left with no signs that Ambrose is running.”
Despite being encouraged to enter the leadership race by Jason Kenney, and Brad Wall, Ambrose reportedly does not want to leave her non-political life, although rumours of her bid are still swirling.
Peterson considers the carbon tax to be a job destroyer and would most likely kill it if he ever became leader. As well as this, Peterson is widely considered a fiscal conservative. Peterson ran in the Conservative leadership contest in 2017, finishing 12th.
Jean Charest has announced that he will not be running in the Conservative leadership contest after weeks of speculation.
His announcement, however, has caused a great deal of confusion in the media, as the Quebec-based news publication La Presse first confirmed that Charest was running and then quickly delated it after more reports emerged minutes later contradicting this report.
Soon after this, the French-speaking arm of the CBC confirmed that Charest would not be running in a tweet, which the English anchor Rosemary Barton soon confirmed to the CBC’s English audience.
Much pressure has been placed on Charest by respected figures within the Conservative Party. Stephan Harper, for instance, reportedly resigned from the Tory’s fund board so that he could openly campaign against the former Quebec Liberal.
As well as this, MacKay and Charest were not intending to run against each other due to their long relationship in Conservative politics. MacKay, however, has consistently placed ahead of Charest in the polls, making any leadership attempt seemingly futile for the Quebecker.
What is notable about Charest’s decision, however, is that this may beckon in Vincenzo Guzzo’s leadership contest who previously stated to The Post Millennial that if Charest “doesn’t run I’ll run.”
Charest is currently under investigation for corruption during his time as premier. The investigation has been ongoing for six years, and so far, has not led to charges against anyone involved.
Jean Charest said in a statement that “After careful consideration, I will not be running for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. I am grateful to all those who called me, sent supportive messages and mobilized for my potential candidacy.”
“On environmental issues, the CPC must offer Canadians a credible and ambitious plan in regard to the management of our natural resources and the fight against climate change. One does not exclude the other!”