Follow the money
Tory, suburban ridings gain the most from enriched child benefits: CP analysis
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.”