Using tax system for social benefits a 'sticking point' for dental benefit: experts
OTTAWA — Economic and public policy experts warn the federal dental benefit may not reach the families most in need because the government has chosen to distribute it through the tax system. Ottawa plans to send cheques to qualifying low- and medium-income households to help pay for children's dental needs through the same platform used for Canada Child Benefit payments. That is run through the Canada Revenue Agency, which University of Calgary economist Gillian Petit says is a problem because many low-income families are less likely to file tax returns.
OTTAWA — Affordability was the name of the political game on Tuesday as the House of Commons resumed for a fall sitting, but most eyes were on Pierre Poilievre as he made his debut in the Opposition leader's chair 10 days after winning the Conservative leadership contest. © Provided by The Canadian Press
Any sparks that may fly between Poilievre and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will have to wait for Thursday, when Trudeau returns to the House following the United Nations General Assembly.
On Tuesday, the Liberals wasted no time introducing legislation to offer some brief respite to lower-income Canadians struggling to pay their bills amid soaring costs.
COMMENTARY: The ‘freedom convoy’ will keep driving our politics
Ipsos Public Affairs CEO Darrell Bricker examines polling conducted for Global News about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre.The most recent polling Ipsos conducted for Global News shows why.
"In the last week, the prime minister made it very clear that the first order of business for this parliamentary session would be to make life more affordable for Canadians who need it most," said associate finance minister Randy Boissonnault.
"And today, we are delivering on that commitment."
Boissonnault introduced legislation to temporarily double GST rebate cheques. For a family of four, that could mean an extra $467 this fall.
Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos put forth a bill to establish an interim $650 dental benefit for some children under 12 for this year and next, and provide a one-time $500 top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit for low-income renters.
In question period, Boissonnault said Canadians will "see two competing visions: one, where our government focuses on the needs of Canadians, and Conservatives telling the country that it is on its own."
FIRST READING: The attacks against Poilievre have begun! Here's a sample
First Reading is a daily newsletter keeping you posted on the travails of Canadian politicos, all curated by the National Post’s own Tristin Hopper. To get an early version sent direct to your inbox every Monday to Thursday at 6:30 p.m. ET (and 9 a.m. on Saturdays), sign up here. TOP STORY Even before Pierre Poilievre took his seat in the House of Commons as Conservative leader, he’s been receiving an utter avalanche of partisan attacks and written criticism. If you’re a Poilievre dissident, this is because he’s a uniquely divisive figure operating well outside the bounds of normal discourse.
Poilievre said all the Liberal benefit hikes will simply be "vaporized" by inflation. He has also said flooding the economy with extra money will drive up inflation.
When Liberal Families Minister Karina Gould said the government is also making life more affordable by cutting daycare costs in half for many people by the end of this year, Poilievre said because of the Liberals "people cannot even afford to have a family in the first place."
He wants the government instead to cancel planned increases to mandatory payroll deductions for the Canada Pension Plan and employment insurance premiums. He also wants them to kill the national price on carbon.
CPP contributions began increasing in 2019 so the federal government can increase CPP payments. In 2022, the maximum increase was $333, and it's expected to go up another $200 in 2023.
EI contributions tend to fluctuate, with the increase for a moderate income earner in 2022 hitting about $10 a month.
Poilievre blasts Trudeau over 'tax hikes' in first question period clash as leader
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faced Pierre Poilievre in his new role as Conservative leader for the first time on Thursday as the two argued over Poilievre’s favourite issue, the rising cost of living. “It’s good to see the Prime Minister visiting Canada to fill up his private jet,” opened Poilievre, in French. Trudeau was in London earlier this week for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral and then in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. His plane flew back to Ottawa on Thursday morning in time to attend the daily question period in the House of Commons, his first since the start of the fall session, but he will leave again this weekend for Japan.
The Conservatives are making clear they won't support the bills to increase the GST or expand housing benefits. But both bills are expected to pass with support of the NDP, which has been lobbying for all three policies for months and put the housing benefit and dental care on its list of demands to sign on to the Liberal-NDP confidence and supply agreement.
"It did take a lot of work to get to this point, even to get this far," NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said at a news conference Tuesday morning. "It took a lot of us fighting and forcing the government to act."
Singh remains heavily critical of the Liberal government, believing it waited too long to act on inflation. But the NDP made clear their main target in the coming months isn't Justin Trudeau but Pierre Poilievre.
A new NDP attack ad released on the internet goes directly at Poilievre. It portrays him as a leader who wants to protect the interests of wealthy corporate CEOs. It accuses him of voting against minimum wage hikes twice, and being supported by people who profited off the housing crisis.
The latest in the Quebec election: Re-elected Legault promises to be uniting premier
MONTREAL — Here are the latest details from Quebec's provincial election (all times eastern): 11:40 p.m. Coalition Avenir Québec Leader François Legault says his party has received a clear message from voters: keep going. Legault promised continuity rather than change during the campaign, and The Canadian Press is projecting that his party will form a second majority government. In his victory speech, Legault says that while elections can be divisive, he wants to be the premier for all Quebecers, regardless of age, religion or origin. He says some priorities for his second mandate include investing in education and reforming the health-care system. --- 11:10 p.m.
"He's not in it for you," the ad repeats.
Government House leader Mark Holland said he was hopeful for political calm and co-operation to get work done for Canadians who really need help, but also took shots at Poilievre for putting forward an unserious cryptocurrency solution to the affordability problem.
"This is not a time for parlour tricks," Holland said at a news conference Tuesday morning.
"This is not a time for shell games. This is a time for real solutions."
The Liberals are keen to make Canadians aware that in March, while campaigning for leader, Poilievre promised he would normalize and promote cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. He insisted at the time that investing in currencies that aren't influenced by central banks would allow people to "opt out of inflation."
Bitcoin, which had already fallen in value by almost one-third in the four months before Poilievre said that, has fallen by more than half in the six months since.
Holland said the Conservatives have now delayed their own private member's bill to develop a plan to grow cryptocurrencies. That bill, put forward by Alberta MP Michelle Rempel Garner in February, was supposed to come up for its second hour of debate on Tuesday afternoon.
Instead, the Conservatives put a different bill on the agenda to allow parents or grandparents of Canadian citizens to get a five-year visa to come to Canada.
In a statement, Rempel Garner's assistant said scheduling conflicts meant MPs agreed to move around debate time for three private members' bills. The House was to have returned Monday but that was pushed back a day because of the funeral for Queen Elizabeth.
The bill is now scheduled to be debated in three weeks.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 20, 2022.
Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
Queue for queen's coffin reopened, wait hits 24 hours .
LONDON (AP) — A surging tide of people — ranging from London retirees to former England soccer captain David Beckham — have lined up to file past Queen Elizabeth II's coffin as it lies in state at Parliament, so many that authorities on Friday had to call a temporary halt to more people joining the miles-long queue. By late afternoon, a live tracker of the queue to get into historic Westminster Hall said it had reopened, but the British government warned that the waiting time to cover the 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the start of the line in Southwark Park to Parliament had climbed to more than 24 hours. The government also warned that “overnight temperatures will be cold.