The Conservative Budget, SAHD’s and the media

I’m reading our local newspaper this morning, digging to find reaction to the federal Conservative government’s new budget and the first non-politician quote I come across is from a stay-at-home dad.

Reymond Page, a stay-at-home dad in Winnipeg, says he would have preferred to see the money spent on health care, education and infrastructure improvements, something he sees directly impacting his family.

“Is this a short-term thing that’s supposed to fire up voters because the Conservatives are throwing money at us? Could that money be used to better effect?” said Page.

It’s really nice to see a media story where a stay at home dad isn’t the focus of the story, or portrayed like an anomaly, but instead is just another regular, everyday participant in our society.

As for the budget itself…man, this kills me because I loath the Conservatives. Actually, I loath the Alliance/Reform wing of the Conservatives. The old Progressive Conservatives were not so bad, and it seems there is much more Progressive Conservative than Reform Conservative in this budget.

True, there is no income splitting, which would have been even better for families where both parents work outside the home. This budget is going straight at the heartland of Conservative support – the single income family with a stay at home parent. Only in the Conservative mind, you have to think they see that parent as a Mom and not a Dad.

Overall, parents in Canada should be fairly happy – I know, I know, yes you can smell the slightest hint of praise for the Conservatives. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said in his budget speech, “a single-earner family with two children and a $37,000 income will see its income tax bill cut by $620 or nearly a quarter.” That should pretty well get us parents back to even with regards to making the Child Tax benefit taxable income.

Most of that is due to a new tax credit of $310 per child under 18. There is also an increase in the basic personal tax credit for low-income spouses so that it equals that of the working parent, and an increase of $100 to $500 per year in federal government contributions to a child’s Registered Education Savings Plan.

There are still a few things missing from this budget for families, first and foremost a dire lack of quality, affordable daycare for many working parents. And in many parts of the country, housing costs are so high that it makes the dream of owning your own home just that – a dream. Address those two major concerns and you’ll make a lot of families in this country extremely happy.

3 responses to “The Conservative Budget, SAHD’s and the media

  1. i’m with you on all counts dadventure!

    i did a radio interiew for the radio station at Carleton U here in Ottawa about my views on the budget, as an @home parent, who happened to be a dad… i had previously done a piece with the J-school student in question about the whole issue of BEING an @home dad, but it was nice that this time she just wanted me to comment, as a parent, who also happened to be a dad.

    as for my comments, like you, i said that although my partner and i have decided that we would prefer that i stay home with our first son at least until he’s 2 (coming TOO soon!), i think it is essential that there be greater availability of affordable, quality, publicly-supported daycare, so that other parents, who may not have the luxury of having one parent stay home, or who may both want to continue to pursue fulfilling employment (not my problem :-), can do so once they have kids.

    i agree too with your assessment of the family circumstances that the Tories clearly have in mind when they are talking about “choice in child care” — i.e. a mum who stays at home, NOT a dad… and further, i would say a reasonably affluent family, who can afford to have only 1 income, while still maintaining a comfortable lifestyle, and one in which traditional sex roles are taken completely for granted, and are probably part of an overall social and fiscal conservative world-view.

    i think that this is especially borne out when you look at the people who have been the brains trust behind measures like the $100 per month child care credit — sic tax gift to upper middle-class single-earner families… see http://www.caledoninst.org/Publications/Detail/?ID=564), — most notably Kids First Parents Association of Canada (http://www.kidsfirstcanada.org/). It is my impression that they are mainly western, conservative, traditional women political operatives, seeking to undermine the basis of publicly-funded childcare by complaining that they have been discriminated against. A representative of this group was also on CBC radio last week responding to the budget and claiming that there still was not enough being done for families.

    …incidentally, a lot of the same types were involved in the conference in Ottawa the other month calling for widespread income-splitting. unfortunately, i tend to judge these thinigs by the company they keep, and although my family would likely benefit from income-splitting, ithink that more important than special budget goodies to families is strong ongoing support for universal social programs, and NOT ideologically-driven tax cuts or credits cynicaly designed to curry favour with particular groups that the Tories want to wo for the upcoming election.

    an interesting critique of the child care measures in the 2007 budget also comes from the Caledon Institute:
    http://www.caledoninst.org/Publications/Detail/?ID=622

    cheers,
    michael in Ottawa

    p.s. where are you located? …i’m 38 year-old Ottawa @HomeDad to 22 month-old boy.

  2. Hey Michael,

    Thanks a lot for the post and the fantastic links for more info. Sorry the post didn’t get up on the site right away, but to prevent spam I have a filter that sends me any comments that have more than 1 link in them to approve before they go up on the site.

    I love CKCU at Carleton, btw. In a previous life I managed a community radio station and worked closely with CKCU folks on numerous projects.

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