What the Election Results Mean for Families

What the Election Results Mean for Families

The federal election campaign included a heck of a lot of debate over policies that affect families, with the Conservatives standing fast on their controversial income-splitting policy on the one side of the political spectrum, and the NDP promising a universal childcare plan on the other. This article on CBC.ca provides a good comparison of the promises for families, broken down into categories including family benefit payments, childcare, tuition and more.

As a reminder, here’s an overview of Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau’s campaign promises for families:

  • Scrap the Tories’ taxable Universal Childcare Benefit Plan in favour of the Liberal party’s Canada Childcare Benefit Plan, which gives larger, tax-free benefits but on a sliding scale that cuts off once household income reaches $200,000 per year.
  • Make parental leave more flexible over an 18-month period.
  • Eliminate income splitting
  • Increase student grants by 50 percent for low-income students, with no payments starting until a graduate is earning at least $25,000 per year.
  • Restrict marketing of unhealthy foods and drinks to children.
  • Create a $1.5 billion job strategy for youth.

Here’s what some TNF readers and contributors had to say about the results:

“I’m hoping that this will mean that my family, which struggles to make ends meet some months despite both of us working our asses off, will catch a break. The recent tax breaks and income splitting from the Conservatives did nothing for us, I’m interested to see where this government might make meaningful changes for families of all income levels.”Lola Augustine Brown, Cumberland-Colchester

“As a left leaning Albertan, it was hard to watch the election. As soon as the polls starting coming in, Alberta was a sea of blue and outside of a few urban ridings. To say I was disappointed is an understatement, but I was not surprised. Many in the very blue rural areas of Alberta lived through the early eighties and remember what the National Energy Program did to our province. They blame Trudeau Sr. and the Liberals for this, and will never forgive or forget. It’s not in their blood to vote Liberal and likely won’t be for a few more generations.

To be honest, Albertans are a bit election weary at this point. We’ve been in such a state of flux for so long that I think people just want to know that they’ll have good jobs to go to, roofs over their heads, won’t get taxed to heavily for choosing to live and work in Alberta, and that our governments are working for us, not for themselves. That is the message that I think was sent yesterday, that democracy demands that we the people are the driving force of this country and we love Canada too much to let anyone, from any political party, ruin what we love. Justin Trudeau is not here to fill the shoes of his father. He is here to gain the trust and respect from all of Canada on his own two feet and be the leader that we need to continue to make Canada great.

And while my heart may be Orange, my head told me to vote Red. I appreciate the focus on gender parity in cabinet that the Liberals have committed to. I also want election reform and will be holding the Liberals accountable for this as well. Our world has changed and we need proportional representation in Canada to reflect this. I want the long-form census back to give us real data on how families in Canada are doing. And I do appreciate that the Liberals didn’t just promise tax cuts or no new taxes and were realistic with their (deficit-running) fiscal plan . And open and honest government—the fact that this is actually something to strive for tells us all we need to know about how far we let the Cons take us off the path! —Natasha Chiam, Edmonton Centre

“The Liberals have been openly supportive of transgender rights, even releasing a campaign video featuring a trans woman and promising equality. A Liberal majority means a more inclusive Canada for my child, including, I hope, a new trans rights bill with less opposition. I will certainly be speaking with my Liberal MP about how she plans to support a bill like that. This is how change gets made.” —Amanda Jette Knox, Kanata-Carleton

“What a traumatic ten years it has been for Canadians—a decade of hyper-partisan behaviour and unprecedented attacks on our democratic institutions. The newly-elected Liberal government has an opportunity to demonstrate that politics can be done differently: collaboratively, respectfully, and with the best interests of all Canadians at heart. We will have to continue to make disability support and respite care for families an issue—along with so many other items that are on my “better Canada” to do list: improved access to child and youth mental health services, pharmacare (so that getting a catastrophic illness doesn’t have to mean bankruptcy and/or undue financial stress), democratic reform (so that people don’t completely lose hope in our parliamentary democracy), the protection of our civil rights and freedoms, access to affordable, quality childcare), etc. I really hope that the Liberal Party will take inspiration from some of the most family-friendly elements of the NDP platform. Increased investment in child and youth mental health services, universal childcare, and a national pharmacare program are three examples of policies that would make a real difference for Canadian families. To this I would add income inequality, the need for high-quality jobs, an issue I wrote at length about a recent article titled Precarious Employment is a Parenting Issue, for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives‘ publication The Monitor. —Ann Douglas, Peterborough-Kawartha

I hope that, now the election is over, we pay more attention to municipal and provincial politics as they have a far greater impact on families than the feds. The federal government tends to consume all the air in the room, dominating policy and media discussions when it’s largely a tax and transfer agency. I’d much rather that time and attention be dedicated to municipal and provincial governments who are so deeply engaged in forming policies, legislation and regulation that affect families through the front line delivery of health, mental health, education, transportation, emergency services, utilities, credentialing and professional regulation, etc. —Michael Forbes, Toronto-Danforth

 “The Canada Childcare Benefit Plan sounds like it will certainly help single-parent and middle or low-income families—a.k.a. the families who need it most—but I was so disappointed by the Liberal’s lack of a national childcare system. Despite that, the Liberal plan for families is wonderfully fair and progressive. I’m hoping it all comes to fruition and that it’s a sign of more good things to come. It’s hard to be cynical right now—we’ve been promised ‘Sunny Ways’ and things are looking brighter.” —Michelle Reddick, Parkdale-High Park

“I’m happy that the country has a clear vision of the type of leadership they want. It is in the hands of our parliament elect now to follow through with a government consistent with the one presented during the campaign. We are a country under Mr. Trudeau and it’s zero hour. I remain hopeful that as our new leader enters his position and begins to move forward, he appreciates that a family’s needs are defined by much more than their household income.” —Mathew LaJoie, University-Rosedale

“This is just a small slice of my expectations for the new government, but I’m really hoping to have the full value of their citizenship restored to my husband, daughter and stepson. A minor thing in the big picture, I know, but personal for our family.” —Jackie Gillard, Ajax

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Brandie Weikle

About Brandie Weikle

Brandie is a long-time parenting editor, writer and spokesperson. Most recently editor-in-chief of Canadian Family magazine, Brandie has also been the parenting and relationships editor for the Toronto Star, founding editor of two Toronto Star websites, and an editor for Today's Parent. Brandie is a single mother of two in Toronto and a frequent television and radio guest on parenting topics. A former digital director at House & Home Media, she also consults on digital audience engagement. Contact her here. View all posts by

'What the Election Results Mean for Families' have 1 comment

  1. October 30, 2015 @ 4:07 am Ken Smith

    It is disappointing to see again this idea that income splitting was about benefiting the wealthy or the few. It actually is about equity. I would have thought that as Canadians we would support fairness. Why should two families making the same household income pay different amounts of taxes? A family with two parents earning 60/20k pays 1100 more in taxes than the family earning 40/40k! Both have household income of 80k not rich, and both get benefits clawed back based on family income but one family pays 1100 more in taxes??

    Let’s address this discrimination and stop talk about it only benefiting a few. It is this few who have been treated unfairly and discriminated against! They just want to pay the same tax as other families with the same household income! I also think single parents should get to split income with their eldest child too!

    Why is it ok for liberals to give a break to two parent families both earning 85k each for 170k in total but we dare not help this family earning just 80k between them to pay the same tax as other families earning 80k?


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