Liberals and Conservatives launched appeals to voters with children on Monday with tax credits and funding promises aimed at keeping kids occupied outside of school hours.
The Grits and Tories started the second week of the election campaign wooing parents as a new poll from Nanos Research shows the two parties locked in a dead heat, the NDP holding steady and a “possible slide” in support for the Greens.
According to the company’s latest poll, the Liberals and Conservatives are both at 34-per-cent support. The NDP are next at 16 per cent, the Greens at 8 per cent, the Bloc Québécois at 4 per cent and the People’s Party of Canada at 2 per cent.
The poll was sponsored by The Globe and Mail and CTV, with a total of 1,200 Canadians surveyed from Sept. 13-15. It has a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Respondents were asked: “If a federal election were held today, could you please rank your top two current local voting preferences?” A report on the results, questions and methodology for this and all surveys can be found at http://tgam.ca/election-polls
Speaking at an elementary school in Waterloo, Ont., Justin Trudeau unveiled a slate of policy changes targeted at creating more child-care spaces across Canada.
Mr. Trudeau said a re-elected Liberal government would create as many as 250,000 additional before- and after-school spaces, lower child-care fees by 10 per cent across Canada and set aside 10 per cent of new spaces for the children of parents who work overtime, late shifts or multiple jobs.
The party said it would fund the plan by spending “at least” $535-million more each year – almost doubling federal support to the provinces and territories, starting in 2020.
Many families with children in elementary school find it “difficult and expensive” to access before- and after-school care, Mr. Trudeau said. He said finding child care outside of regular work hours is a “real problem" that too often lands on the shoulders of mothers.
Four provinces to the west, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer announced two 15-per-cent refundable tax credits that he said would help families enroll their children in sports, arts and learning programs. The tax credits were first introduced by former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper and axed by Mr. Trudeau after he formed government.
With an Okanagan Valley sports field as the backdrop, Mr. Scheer said without these tax credits extracurricular activities are “beyond the financial means of many Canadian families.”
He said the tax credit would apply to a maximum of $1,000 for the sports and fitness-related tax credit and $500 for the arts tax credit. Only children who are 16 and younger would be eligible.
For children with disabilities, parents would be able to claim an extra $500 per tax credit and it would apply to children up to 18.
Also on Monday, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May was in Toronto, where she unveiled her party’s platform. It promises to provide job transition programs for workers in the oil, gas and coal sectors as part of the party’s plan to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions to 60 per cent below 2005 levels by the year 2030.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh continued his swing through Quebec, where he announced the party had recruited a former leader of the Greens in Quebec, Éric Ferland, to run under its banner. Mr. Ferland is running in the riding of Longueuil-Saint-Hubert and will replace former NDP MP Pierre Nantel as the party’s candidate.
With reports from Janice Dickson and Michelle Zilio.
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