Fol­low the money

Tory, sub­ur­ban rid­ings gain the most from en­riched child ben­e­fits: CP anal­y­sis

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA -

Most of what is billed as the largest, one-time ben­e­fit pay­ment in fed­eral history is likely to hit sub­ur­ban vot­ers liv­ing in fed­eral rid­ings where the Con­ser­va­tives can be con­sid­ered the party to beat, an anal­y­sis by The Cana­dian Press shows.

Num­ber-crunch­ing based on the last cen­sus shows that many of the rid­ings in line to get the big­gest cheques from the newly in­creased Uni­ver­sal Child Care Ben­e­fit are in sub­ur­ban Al­berta and the all-im­por­tant rid­ings that sur­round Toronto — and they usu­ally have a history of tilt­ing Tory.

Only two of the top 20 des­ti­na­tions for the en­riched UCCB pay­ments land­ing on July 20 are lo­ca­tions where the op­po­si­tion NDP would be con­sid­ered the favourite; and one more in the top 20 would be con­sid­ered a Lib­eral seat.

That leaves 17 seats that could be con­sid­ered Con­ser­va­tive-lean­ing, home to the vot­ers who could re­ceive the big­gest fi­nan­cial wind­fall when al­most $3 bil­lion in child care ben­e­fit pay­ments are mailed on Mon­day — three months be­fore elec­tion day in Oc­to­ber.

The ma­jor­ity of spend­ing con­tin­ues to go to Con­ser­va­tive rid­ings — 15 of the top 20 — even af­ter ad­just­ing the pay­ments to take into ac­count the es­ti­mated per­cent­age of fam­i­lies who haven’t signed up for the en­hanced ben­e­fit.

Op­po­si­tion par­ties have crit­i­cized the gov­ern­ment for giv­ing out the in­creased ben­e­fit pay­ment, back­dated to the start of the year, as an elec­tion ploy to buy votes.

But all three main par­ties have re­leased plat­form planks de­signed to woo fam­i­lies who tend to con­cen­trate in the key sub­ur­ban rid­ings that could swing the fed­eral elec­tion.

“The de­mo­graphic that (par­ties) are all fight­ing for are the par­ents, the kids, the fam­i­lies that are just start­ing out. So this is why this puts (child care) up on the agenda,” said Kathy Brock, an ex­pert on party pol­i­tics from Queen’s Univer­sity in Kingston, Ont.

The gov­ern­ment doesn’t de­cide where in the coun­try the money will go; it does get to de­cide who should re­ceive the money.

Em­ploy­ment Min­is­ter Pierre Poilievre, who over­sees the ex­panded child ben­e­fit, of­fered a sim­ple ex­pla­na­tion.

“Fam­i­lies have sup­ported the Con­ser­va­tive party be­cause the Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment has sup­ported fam­i­lies,” Poilievre said.

“It’s no co­in­ci­dence that many fam­i­lies live in rid­ings that have elected Con­ser­va­tive MPs.”

Poilievre

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