I'm always more than a little leery any time I hear the government in power promote that it's revamping a program, replacing a program, or upping the benefits it supplies in a focused effort to help better the situation many of Canada's poorest families find themselves in.
Canada's poorest families are able to do nothing to contribute to party war chests and, depending on which study you trust most, are among the least likely to change their voting patterns based on current issues, if they vote at all.
The rich, the powerful and the behind-the-scenes funders of political lobby groups have come to have far too much power in this country in regards to influencing government policies and programs.
We are definitely a rich person's comfortable country these days.
That being said, people across this great nation of ours, regardless of their societal stature or political affiliation, should be outraged by payouts contained in the new Canada Child Benefit program.
I mean, most of us can probably agree on the point that money coming into a household from a child benefit program should be used by parents for the children in their household.
And, hopefully, the majority of us could also probably agree that with so many children in today's society living below the poverty line, the main focus of such a benefit program should be in helping children in that situation a lot more than kids in upper middle-class, well-to-do or affluent families.
And that means in the program's practical application, not in just giving it lip service to gain kudos with voter confidence.
With everything that's gone on in this country during the past year, I had really, really hoped the Liberals got this one right, and the new Canada Child Benefit program would put modest smiles on the faces of many a parent across Canada, regardless of their financial status.
But it was not to be and people should be outraged by the final result.
The Fraser Institute was quick to jump all over our federal government when it recently released the numbers and its take on the new child benefit program.
The institute was quick to point out that, on average, families with between $100,000 and $120,000 of annual household income received roughly the same increase in cash benefits from the new Canada Child Benefit program than families with less than $20,000 of income.
Wow! Just wow.
That's one heck of a gap between living conditions for families from those two financial brackets to be getting roughly the same amount of increase from the new child benefit program.
Surely, in this enlightened age, kids from many of our country's poorest families should be getting a bigger slice of the nation's financial benefit’s pie than those in families living at the brink of affluence.
The Fraser Institute essay pointed out that in 2015 the federal government replaced two existing child benefit programs with the Canada Child Benefit, which provides tax-free benefits to eligible families with children under the age of 18.
Under the new program, the benefits increased.
A two-parent household (with two children) earning between $100,000 and $120,000 now receives $1,296, on average, more in child benefits per year.
Meanwhile, a two-parent household (with two children) earning less than $20,000 per year now receives (on average) an additional $1,491 — a difference of only $195.
Surely more should have been done to help the situation with children from some of this country's poorest families, rather than improving the situation among upper middle-class families.
The Fraser essay showed in no uncertain terms that regardless of the Liberals glowing, self-congratulating claims of their focus on helping some of the poorest children among us, their increased spending under the new child benefit program does not go out of its way to target lower-income Canadian families, but, instead, spreads the cash benefits widely across the income spectrum, especially among middle-income families.
This is a three-pitch strikeout for the Liberals and one that places many a kid on the bench.
Our ruling government has to do better for them going forward.
Food for thought.