New Brunswick

Child Care benefit: Critics question timing of cheque roll out

Federal Employment Minister Pierre Poilievre was in Fredericton on Thursday to continue promoting the Conservative government's new Universal Child Care Benefit Plan.

More than 3 million Canadian families will receive the retroactive cheques

Federal Employment Minister Pierre Poilievre was in Fredericton on Thursday to continue promoting the Conservative government's new Universal Child Care Benefit Plan. (CBC News)

Federal Employment Minister Pierre Poilievre was in Fredericton on Thursday to continue promoting the Conservative government's new Universal Child Care Benefit Plan. 

The minister announced the $3-billion child care benefit handout on Monday. 

More than three million Canadian families will receive the retroactive cheques. For each child under 6 years old, parents will now receive over 1900 dollars annually and 720 dollars for children between 6 to 17 years old.

'Benefit is so much'

Thursday's government announcement was held at the Wal Mart in Fredericton where Poilievre defended the new plan and its benefits to parents.

"There is literally no circumstance where somebody will be worse off. Because the overall benefit is so much," he said. 

What the federal cabinet minister didn't mention is that the money handed out to parents is taxable and that an existing credit worth over 300 dollars per child annually has been eliminated.

In total, the government will claw back $340 million dollars in taxes of the lump-sum payments

The first cheques were mailed out to families who registered, on Monday. 

'Paying back fully'

"We felt in the past, most of the benefits that we've gotten from this tax, we've ended up paying back fully so for us, it's definitely making us research a little bit more and look at our vote," said parent Amy Watt.  

There is speculation that the timing of the cheques rolling out is questionable, happening just months before the federal election in October.  

"What's obnoxious about it is the timing, and the political utility of giving people money right before the election so for me what the question is, is it enough money to buy your vote?," said St. Thomas University journalism professor Michael Camp.

Poilievre didn't speak about the timing of the cheques at Thursday's announcement. 

Earlier this week he was criticized by opposition parties for wearing a Conservative Party short-sleeved shirt to a similar government announcement in Halifax on Monday. 

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