Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Opposition Targets Government's Economic Sales Pitch on Childcare Benefit

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Opposition Targets Government's Economic Sales Pitch on Childcare Benefit

Article excerpt

Opposition targets UCCB's economic spin off

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OTTAWA - Opposition parties hammered the federal government on Monday after it boasted about the economic benefits of childcare cheques set to be mailed out to Canadian families next week.

NDP finance critic Nathan Cullen says the Conservatives appear to be owning up to the fact the Canadian economy is slumping.

"You almost want to celebrate the fact they're acknowledging the Canadian economy needs a boost. But this isn't what this tax measure was designed for and it is not what it does,'" Cullen said in a phone interview.

At a weekend event at an Ottawa-based retail chain, Employment Minister Pierre Poilievre billed the enhanced childcare benefit as a "$3 billion injection into the bank accounts and mailboxes of Canadians" at an appropriate time.

"What we're telling Canadians is that there's a world of risk and economic difficulty outside of our borders," he said. "We, or course, have a strong economic action plan to overcome those difficulties."

There is growing doubt at home about Canada's economic stability.

Just last week, Statistics Canada reported the economy shed 6,400 jobs last month.

Four major banks have also stated they believe the country was in recession during the first half of the year. While official growth figures for all six months are not yet available, Statistics Canada has reported that the economy contracted during the first four months of the year.

The government has continued to reject the need for a new stimulus package to address the slowdown.

"We've already taken action through low taxes, a balanced budget and direct financial payments to moms and dads to strengthen our economy," said Poilievre.

Cullen said the Canadian economy has been weak for a long time and the government's current strategy is broken.

"They've had almost 10 years to roll out their plan and it has been hurting more than helping," Cullen said. …

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