Thursday, June 24, 2004

Paul "Yeah Right" Martin

Mr. Martin has a new nickname! At least in this corner. Every time my wife sees him say anything on TV, whether it be in an ad, a soundbite on the news, or an extended sit-down like last night's with Mansbridge on CBC, she reflexively says, "Yeah right."

Said sit-down did nothing to change that reflex; it was reinforced even further. He managed to muddle through the first question about health care on the strength(?) of his usual rhetoric. The only eyebrow-raiser was when he declared to this enormous questioner that her wait of 6 hours to see a specialist after going to the ER was unacceptable, without knowing (A) what kind of specialist it was, (B) how urgent her problem was, or (C) what hospital she was in. Which reminds me, I had lunch with a friend in management at the Chinook Health Region the other day, and joked that he may be out of a job next week, since it sounds like Paul Martin, if elected, wants to roll up his sleeves and do it for him. Friend (laughing): "He can have it."

Anyway, the second questioner was probably the best of the night. A 30-something woman pointed out that parents with income under $40,000 already have considerable access to free or subsidized daycare, and wanted to know what he planned to do to make it easier for one parent to stay home with their kids. His answer, I think, was that the Liberals increased the Child Tax Benefit. Woman follows up with great, but again, that mainly helps families with incomes under $40,000.

Mr. Martin said he agreed with the woman that children were best-off being cared for by their own parents. I suppose my question would be, is there a single policy that has been, or will be, enacted by the Liberals that would indicate that?

I live in Lethbridge, Alberta, where fortunately the cost of living is extremely low relative to much of Canada. I make more than $40,000/year, but not miles more, and for my wife to be a "full-time mom" to our two sons and forego a paycheque, we have to downgrade our standard of living considerably. It is a choice we make, but with reservations, because this lower standard of living affects our sons as well (e.g. more hand-me-downs, no vacations, fewer special programs, etc.).

Paul Martin says he believes this choice is best for our sons. The evidence for this is:
- The government charges my family more income tax if I earn it all than if both my wife and I earn it
- Some of this tax goes to subsidize parents who make the opposite choice and send their children to daycare

As Mrs. Aldini would say, "Yeah right."

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