Child Poverty

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. He is the minister who for nine years has been one of cabinet’s biggest cheerleaders for massive tax cuts, who brags to the Alliance that the Liberals spend $100 billion on tax cuts, in his words “the largest tax reduction package in history”, and who cut capital gains taxes in his budget while single mothers in poverty got their child tax benefits clawed back.

Yesterday he said that we must “galvanize the national will around ending child poverty”. How did he say that with a straight face?

Hon. John Manley (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member is thinking of another budget. We were not able to cut capital gains taxes in the 2003 budget.

We were able to break through the welfare wall with the largest increases in the national child tax benefit in history. We were able to create a $900 million fund for early childhood development, which has enabled the Minister of Human Resources Development to obtain agreements with the provinces to support regulated child care across Canada. This was an important budget for advancing the lives of Canadians.

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I have to say that is absolute rubbish. As a direct result of his policies, there are 1.3 million children living in poverty today.

Some 4,885 days ago, that minister voted in favour of eliminating poverty when he supported Ed Broadbent’s motion, but for 3,443 of those days, while kids lived and died in poverty, he was in cabinet bragging and smirking about his tax cuts. On the 3,444th day, he said it is time to end poverty. Here is the test. Will he delay his capital gains tax?