Reality Check

Attacking the NDP: killers of child care and raisers of taxes

Mon, 25 Apr 2011 17:17:53 -0500

The Liberals released a new ad Monday that says NDP Leader Jack Layton and Conservative Leader Stephen Harper are "two sides of the same coin." (Not surprisingly, the loonie was the coin of choice depicted in the advertisement.)


According to the Liberal ad, an "unprincipled deal" between Harper and Layton in 2005 put a stop to the Liberal plan for national child care, stronger gun control and better environmental protection (aka, living up to the Kyoto accord).


At a campaign event Monday morning, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff was asked about the ad and he said it simply points out "the recent political history of our country, which is that Stephen Harper and Jack Layton got together to kill child care in Canada in 2005-2006."


The way the Liberals are making it sound, Harper and Layton met in some dark alley and hatched a plot to specifically prevent parents from accessing child care for their children.


However, that's not quite how things unfolded in 2005. Rewind to November of that year when the NDP and Conservatives both voted in favour of a motion of non-confidence in Paul Martin's Liberal minority government. That's the "unprincipled" deal to which the Liberals are referring in their new ad.


An election was triggered and it brought Stephen Harper to power in early 2006.


His minority Conservative government scrapped the funding agreements that the Liberals had been negotiating with the provinces for child-care spaces and introduced the Universal Child Care Benefit instead.


The thing to remember here is that Harper didn't need the NDP to kill those agreements, he just did it. 


His first budget was the one that introduced the Universal Child Care Benefit and that budget easily passed with no opposition from the then-chastened Liberals or the NDP.


They had both vowed to vote against it but when the budget came up for a final vote the opposition parties were missing-in-action and it passed unanimously with no recorded vote.


Conspiracy theory


The Tories pretty much "killed" the Liberal plan all on their own when they came to power, yet according to the Liberals, the NDP conspired with them to do it because they voted to bring the Liberal government down. 


The NDP campaign sent a note around to reporters in response to the new ad that suggested the Liberals have no one to blame but themselves.


The "scandal-ridden Liberals" were defeated by a majority of Canadians because of "their record of empty promises," the NDP said. That election was the first to be held in the wake of the Liberal sponsorship scandal.


According to the NDP's logic, if the Liberals hadn't been so bad at governing they never would have lost the confidence of the House of Commons, they never would have lost the subsequent election and they would have their mulit-billion dollar national child-care program up and functioning. So, it's their own fault.


The NDP is a new target for the Liberals and Conservatives in the final week of the campaign, since their poll numbers began to rise.


The new Liberal ad also makes a claim that Layton would "jack up your taxes" to pay for $70 billion in spending and cites the NDP platform as the source.


But it is not a fact that the NDP would raise personal taxes, it's an assumption by an opponent.


The Liberals argue that the NDP platform's numbers don't add up and that there's no way they would be able to pay for their promises without raising taxes.


Sound familiar? It should.


That's the same line the Conservatives have been using against the Liberals.


The Liberals deny they would raise personal taxes, they say they only plan on raising corporate taxes back to 2010 levels to pay for their promises, which, incidently, include a new federal-provincial fund for child care.


Child-centred Greens


Ignatieff said Monday that in this campaign, his is the party that is talking about getting child-care spaces built quickly.


But talking about child care was also on the Green party's agenda on Monday, too.


It issued a press release outlining a plan to "restore and revamp" the 2005 agreements, while introducing a tax credit for employers to encourage more child care spots in the workplace.


"Green Leader Elizabeth May is very proud of the fact that all Green Party policies are formulated through the lens of 'Does it address the needs of children?'" the release said.


But the Greens might want to re-think making such a widesweeping statement that all of their policies are designed with children in mind.


Each and every single one takes the needs of kids into account? What about their policy of legalizing marijuana?

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