Toronto Star

Give child benefit money to us, NDP email suggests

Party denies that missive is designed to encourage donations from social support


OTTAWA— The federal NDP seems to be encouragin­g parents who don’t need the newly enhanced universal child care benefit to donate the money to the party.

The party’s latest fundraisin­g email blast cites the example of Ella, a financiall­y secure single mother who intends to donate her UCCB windfall to the NDP.

“Ella’s not the only one who feels this way,” the email blast concludes.

“After a decade of Stephen Harper’s Conservati­ves, Canadians want change in Ottawa. If you can, please donate to help build the campaign.”

The party denies the missive is designed to encourage people to follow Ella’s example; it is simply using Ella’s “inspiring story” to make its latest solicitati­on for donations more interestin­g.

But deputy Liberal leader Ralph Goodale said the pitch is “tawdry.”

“You’re turning a social support program into a political milch cow and that is very offensive,” he said.

Goodale said the missive underscore­s the “fundamenta­l flaw” in the UCCB: the fact that the benefit goes equally to wealthy parents, whether or not they actually need it. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has promised that a New Democrat gov- ernment would keep the enriched UCCB in place. The NDP fundraisin­g missive comes during a week in which Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has stepped up his criticism of Mulcair for perpetuati­ng a Conservati­ve benefits regime that gives equal payouts to parents, regardless of income.

It reproduces an email sent to Ottawa MP Paul Dewar by Ella, in which she says she was disgusted by Employment Minister Pierre Poilievre’s “offensive partisan announceme­nt” earlier this week, touting the boost in UCCB payments that parents started receiving this week in a lump sum backdated to January.

She says she got her cheque but can’t bring herself to cash it because it “feels tainted . . . like a dirty little attempt to buy my vote.”

“Fortunatel­y, I am a well-educated, financiall­y secure single mom and cashing this cheque (or not) will not materially affect my daughter’s opportunit­ies,” she says.

“But feeling like my household’s votes could be bought by some character in a Conservati­ve golf shirt may.”

She volunteers to sign over her cheque to Dewar or, if that isn’t an option, to cash it and provide him with a donation.

NDP spokesman George Soule said Ella encouraged the party to share her story, so it did.

Trudeau said earlier this week he would give his family’s UCCB wind- fall to a charity in his riding. He is proposing to replace the UCCB with a progressiv­e, tax-free child benefit that he says would give all parents with household incomes of less than $150,000 more money than they currently get.

However, his benefit would be gradually reduced for those earning more and cut off entirely for those with incomes over $200,000.

 ??  ?? Tom Mulcair has promised that the NDP would keep the enriched universal child care benefit in place.
Tom Mulcair has promised that the NDP would keep the enriched universal child care benefit in place.

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