Tories try social engineering


Harper’s latest campaign promise: $1,200 baby bonuses. And with that, he’s once again managed to steer the campaign agenda, as Martin scrambles to match his offer.

But what are the Tories really saying with this promise to distribute tax income to parents? Is it merely a play for votes of parents of young children? Or is it a broader effort at social engineering?

It’s one thing to say that parents are struggling to make ends meet and pay childcare, so they need financial assistance. But it’s quite another to cross the line and claim that we can distribute money to people in order to encourage them to have more kids. Harper’s plan does very little to address child poverty or to help low-income families make ends meet, since childcare clearly costs more than $1,200 a year. What it does instead is provides a cash bribe for families to have additional children.

That’s the sort of social engineering policy that really needs to stay out of politics. Sure, it’s nothing new – family allowances have existed for quite some time – but I didn’t support them then and I won’t support them now.

As vote grabs go, this one is quite similar to the promise of a cut in the GST – all style, little substance. But I will give Harper credit for one thing: he is finally learning how to advance policy initatives that grab headlines.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 John Palubiski 12.06.05 at 3:38 PM

This type of initiative has been tried in the past and has never worked.

But like you stated; it does grab the headlines.


2 DaninVan 12.07.05 at 3:20 AM

Don’t write it off yet. The point of direct distribution of funds is that it virtually eliminates the layering and proliferation of the bureaucratic monster that is inevitable if you let the Liberals or NDP have a go at it. By putting the funding directly in the user ‘s hands it allows the parents to decide on how to apply it; sort of like the school voucher concept. Talk about empowerment!!!


3 segacs 12.07.05 at 5:20 AM

Dan, with all due respect, you are falling into the same trap as many parents in assuming that everyone in Canada is a parent. All this is doing is taxing the non-parents and redistributing the money to the parents. It’s taxing one lifestyle choice in favour of another, in other words. And it’s taxing families with one or two kids in favour of those with four or five. Social engineering.


4 DaninVan 12.07.05 at 6:12 AM

Oh, you mean like K-12 education? I’m not “falling into” any kind of trap, I’m simply saying that given my choice of the current crop of thieving bastards stealing ANOTHER $22B of our tax dollars and building more do-nothing bureaucracy, ala the Gun Registry, better to just give a fraction of that directly to parents across the country to buy the services they need, directly from entrepreneurs willing to supply it.
It’s not really complicated; you as a taxpayer are going to be paying less, and society, as opposed to faceless civil servants, will be getting the services that the Liberals promised but never delivered. They had 12 years to do something about this issue but pissed the opportunity away…like everything else they’ve meddled with.


5 John Palubiski 12.07.05 at 3:45 PM

DinV, Québec under Robert Bourassa tried something similar back in the early 90’s.

Don’t quote me here, but I believe Harper’s initiative is based upon similar mechanisms of distribution.

Your observations, though, about what would happen were the Libs or NDP to have a go at it are SPOT ON.

I suppose the probleme comes down to this; paying people to have more children doesn’t often work

Sari says: “It’s taxing one lifestyle choice in favour of another, in other words. And it’s taxing families with one or two kids in favour of those with four or five. Social engineering.”

Lifestyle “choices” have consequences…financial and otherwise.

I’ve no children, but I’ve 18 nieces and nephews born to my older siblings.

My financial contribution to the raising of these kids, apart from Xmas presents, is practically nil.

Yet I and everyone else in Canada benefits from these 18 individuals. Their labour power generates both disposable income and tax revenues, revenues that serve (I hope!) the common good.

So why not re-distribute some public funds from single people in order to support childrearing. When those children become adults and enter the job market the revenues they produce will benefit those very same singles who’ve never had to face a penny in childcare expenditures.

We should cut those with the courage, will and discipline to have and raise children a little bit of monetary slack.

What are the options if we don’t?

Massive and unrestrained immigration to make up for the human “deficit”?


6 DaninVan 12.07.05 at 5:02 PM

When the singles are old and infirm, I hope they’re not so demented that they’re unable to figure out that the Nurses and other Healthcare workers caring for them are those same kids, all grown up, who they whinged about supporting when they were rugrats.

{grammarsucks, so sue me…:)


7 DaninVan 12.07.05 at 5:45 PM
8 John Palubiski 12.07.05 at 6:07 PM

Souonds like an interesting link, DinV. Probleme is I’m on dial-up!

Getting back ot lifestyle choice and all; what we chose to do often has a direct impact on others in society.

If I choose to have…say…. four children that choice will have a net positive effect on society.

Were I to choose ( assuming I was still young enough) not to have any children at all, that choice would have a net negative impact in the long run.

The couple who decide to remain childless save themselves the net outlay of funds necessary for childrearing, but yet will still benefit from the labout power of, say, the neighbour’s children once they become adults.

They enjoy, without having paid for the right to do so, the wealth, the labour power and even the companionship of individuals that they neither directly nor indirectly had any role or financial stake in raising.

Could we consider childrearing as an “economic activity” or long-term “investment”?

I think we can, and since all derive benefits from this activity, whether they engage in it or not, then all should contribute financially in whatever way they can.


9 josh 12.07.05 at 6:57 PM

People of the west with your 2+2 families: wake up!

You cannot sustain economic stability with two kids and a dog. Europe with it’s more liberal lifestyle and plunging birthrates has already realized that it is desperate for new mouths (i.e. consumuers) and that is why the floodgates are wide open to Arabs/Muslims and there’s no sign of that stopping.

It’s taxing one lifestyle choice…

Sari, that made me laugh hard. Now that I think about it, it makes a lot of sense. While single people might not be a drain on the economy, they do not add the same growth as a family. Their ‘lifestyle’ is pretty static, while a family goes through several stages of different needs which provide jobs to a wider variety of industries. Large families sustain the economy, it pays to pay them.


10 DaninVan 12.08.05 at 7:28 AM

“economic stability with two kids and a dog.”
I’ll have you know, Josh, that my dog is a consumer (not to mention a depositor…)and is doing everything in his power to support the beef industry.


11 John Palubiski 12.08.05 at 2:58 PM

Does you dog deposit small change, DinV, or large bills? 😉


12 DaninVan 12.08.05 at 5:39 PM

He’s a private kind of guy, JohnP, he goes into the woods to hide his roll.
(ewww, that was bad…)


13 John Palubiski 12.08.05 at 6:18 PM

Sounds like a well mannered pooch!


14 DaninVan 12.08.05 at 7:12 PM

The best!


15 DaninVan 12.08.05 at 11:19 PM

I usually associate doggy-doo with Liberal pronouncements…


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