Child-care benefit reaction from Calgary parents

Federal ministers have been busy touring the country, touting the new increase to the universal child-care benefit, so we hit Marlborough Mall to find out what local parents think.

Some are happy with the extra cash, while others see unnecessary largesse ahead of election

Pierre Poilievre, Minister of Employment and Social Development, has been touring the country touting the government's new child-care payments. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Federal ministers have been busy touring the country, touting the new increase to the universal child-care benefit they say will add an extra $720 to family coffers each year for every child under 18, and remove about $3 billion from government ledgers.

A breakdown by Evan Dyer of CBC News pegs the actual number after taxes and the elimination of an existing tax credit closer to $158 per year for every child under 18, while reducing the hit on government finances by approximately $1.5 billion.

CBC Calgary's Graeme Purdy headed to Marlborough Mall to ask what parents thought of the lump-sum payments hitting mailboxes this week, what they're going to do with the money, and if the timing so close to an election has raised any eyebrows.

Jason Comeau says he's "loving it."

"I honestly was kind of in the dark, I didn't know much about it and then a decent-sized cheque came. We're going to be using it for clothes, any type of bills for the kid. New shoes, we just went and picked them up some new shoes."

Kimmy, who declined to give her last name, is also excited and is putting the money towards her daughter's education.

Jennifer, who also only offered her first name, thinks the money is about the election, but with three children she's not getting worked up about it.

"I can't complain, it does help us out," she says.

Calgary parents react to child-care cheques arriving in mailboxes this week.

Tammy Runyans, who will put the money towards savings, doesn't beat around the bush. "It's totally trying to buy votes," she says.

"I think it's wasted on a lot of people that don't need it and it's probably more beneficial to give to people who have lower incomes or put towards day-care spots."

One woman who declined to give her name was unimpressed with what she sees as an unnecessary program that will affect her at tax time. 

"I'm not pleased with it. If I had my way, I would not accept it at all," she says, adding she's putting the money towards school fees and supplies.

"I don't need childcare. We've arranged it so my mother-in-law babysits. I don't need it, so we don't really need this money, but it's going towards our children's education."

In terms of the timing?

"I hate that. What about us halfway through when there's no election?" she asks.

"Now, I don't even listen, I don't pay any attention to what they're saying now because, to me, they're just telling me what I want to hear."