Jean Chretien

Liberal Party

Pierre Trudeau

Canadian Alliance

Liberals Engineer Your Family

Date: NOV17-00
Source: National Post
Keywords: over-taxation, socialism
Comment: It is extreme arrogance for Liberals to pretend they can do education, health care, child care, transportation, and natural resource management better than individuals and private businesses. It is disgraceful that we as a nation count freedom to be expendable, and therefore keep electing them to power.
Posted: NOV17-00
Liberal Party Index

Liberal policies are not for grown-ups

Elizabeth Nickson
National Post


Meet Julie and Peter Sweetnam, a handsome and devoted couple in their early 30s. They are an archetypical Canadian "working family." They have three children under 10, Andrea, Jackson and Joseph. Peter is a carpenter, Julie trained as a florist. Julie worked with Canada World Youth before she met her husband. The couple travelled before they settled down, and they have a strong sense of how they want to live. They moved out of their "pretty little house," into a trailer so Julie can stay home, bring up her children herself, and so they can afford the independent school they've chosen.

At this school, the class sizes are never larger than 13 and parental participation is not only encouraged but required. Julie was involved with La Leche League and found that by the time her third child was born, she had built around herself a "bunch of friends that filled the freezer two times and came by every day to help." With these friends, she founded a pre-school. She finds that while she did (and does still, like many stay-at-home moms) feel isolated, stressed and depressed, those feelings led her to build community around herself, with the above happy results.

At the school, Julie does work exchange to pay for some of the tuition and she runs a series of workshops for the kids, in baking, environmental exploration, puppet making. There is no computer in the house and the TV is a 10-inch box that is turned on Friday nights only. They have rabbits and a hamster, and stacks of games and books. They spend most evenings sitting around the dinner table talking and laughing. Or they read. There are school or sports activities several times a week and they attend en famille. In the summers they go swimming every night.

I am constantly surprised how quickly our cultural beliefs are translated into government regulation and taxation policies. The Liberals, hewing to a kind of encouragement of right thinking, are bent on using tax cuts as carrot and stick. You can have a tax cut if you behave the right way, make the right decisions at the right time. Crafty social engineering is their aim, building community top-down is their goal. They are not particularly interested in families. The word "families" appears eight times in the Liberal platform.

In the Alliance platform, "families" appears 26 times. And reiterated more times than I can count (well OK, seven) is the statement that all families will be treated equally. Which means that government, which can't respond fast enough to social and cultural change, stops getting in the way.

Consider, for a moment therefore, that the Alliance better understands the experience of Julie and Peter. Its tax plan takes 1.7-million of the poorest of Canadians off the tax roll, and if Julie and Peter make, say, less than $50,000, they would pay no taxes at all, because all stay-at-home partners take a $10,000 deduction, the working partner takes $10,000, and each child, with child benefit, $3,000. Any additional child care is universally deductible, whether it is incurred outside the home or in it. Which further encourages family members, like grandparents, to take care of their grandchildren. And that means Peter and Julie are free to use their own money in the responsible manner they have already demonstrated.

We are rich enough as a culture to allow this couple, replete with virtue, enough of their money so they can live in a house and make their own decisions about their future, with regard to their children's education and their own retirement. To not permit it is condescending in the extreme, to indicate with every patronizing word and regulation, that the government doesn't think we're smart enough to take care of ourselves. It is simply not true.

We are grown up now. We are educated. Many of us are well-travelled. We can make informed choices, with our own money. We can fund our own schools, and take care of our own families, if you give us back our money.

Free us.

[emphasis added]

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