Hon. Art Eggleton: I have a supplementary on the Canada child benefit. The move by the government to move up the indexing is a good idea. It’s certainly going to help a lot of children.
The government says the program would get 300,000 children out of poverty, but there are over 1 million children in poverty in this country. What is it going to do about the majority of children who are still in poverty?
Senator Harder: Again, I thank the honourable senator for his question. Let me make two comments: With respect to advancing the indexing, he’s absolutely correct that that advanced indexing will have a significant effect in benefiting Canadian families, particularly, as I said earlier, those at lower income levels.
For example, by starting two years ahead of schedule for this indexing and strengthening the CCB, for a single parent of two children making $35,000 a year, it will mean an extra $6,500 per year, tax free. That’s a significant measure.
The honourable senator is correct that this is not the end of what we must do to deal with the most disadvantaged in this society, nor is this the only program that addresses the needs of the poor. I would commend the work that the honourable senator is doing with respect to the minimum wage and a guaranteed annual income. These are all matters that the government is looking at in the broad commitment to ensure that middle-class relief is a high priority, that dealing with poverty across the country remains a priority, and it will take every opportunity it can, as budgets allow, to address those concerns.