Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stopped through the Lower Mainland Friday, discussing child care and reconciliation, as part of two-day West Coast tour.
Trudeau began the day in Cloverdale, where he visited Don Christian Recreation Centre to talk about the federal child benefit program.
“It’s great to see how many kids are being helped by the Canada Child Benefit,” he said. “The old system of child benefits was complicated. We simplified things, combining benefits into a simple, lump sum. One that’s paid out every month, tax free for families in need.”
Trudeau went on to say that nine out of ten Canadian families receive more money every month to help with the “high cost of raising kids” since the introduction of the benefit program.
Meanwhile, the opposition New Democrats are critizing the benefits program, saying some women who are fleeing domestic abuse are being told they need to get a form signed by their abuser in order to collect the Liberal government’s vaunted child benefit.
The NDP says constituents have been coming to their offices with letters from the Canada Revenue Agency, which oversees benefit payments, asking them to verify that they are eligible for the monthly allowance.
One New Democrat from B.C., however, says none of those avenues were open to one of his constituents.
“When there’s an abusive relationship, which led to this split, this puts the woman in a position of having to go to her abusive partner and get him to formally sign off on piece of paper,” said Wayne Stetski, who represents the riding of Kootenay-Columbia.
“That’s potentially dangerous physically for that woman. But it’s just absolutely wrong on principle.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talked about the child benefit during a stop Friday in Vancouver where he was pressed about the extent to which it helps middle-class Canadians, particularly where housing prices and other costs were rising.
The benefit is not indexed to inflation, which means it does not increase with the cost of living. Indexation, as it’s known, is set to happen after 2019, the year the next federal election is scheduled to take place.
Trudeau said the government is trying to give families the tools they need to succeed, but acknowledged that the Liberals know there is more that can be done.
Trudeau talks diversity, Canadian values on anniversary of Komagata Maru apology
Following a stop in Cloverdale Trudeau visited a Sikh temple in Abbotsford to mark the one-year anniversary of his apology for the Komagata Maru incident of 1914.
This year is the 103rd anniversary of when the Canadian government barred the Komagata Maru’s seafaring passengers – which consisted of 340 Sikhs, 24 Muslims and 12 Hindus – from entering Canada.
“As the oldest gurudwara in North America, the importance of this sacred place is not lost on me” Trudeau said outside the Gur Sikh Temple, which served as a centre for human rights advocacy against racist legislation in the early 20th Century.
“It’s a story that your community sadly knows all too well. The one all Canadians need to remember to keep in mind as we strive to build a better future that recognizes our mistakes.”
HAPPENING NOW: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaking in Abbotsford. SEE MORE: http://www.abbynews.com/news/justin-trudeau-coming-to-abbotsford/Posted by AbbyNews on Friday, May 19, 2017
On Thursday, Trudeau toured tech studios in Vancouver and Burnaby, before attending a roundtable with business leaders from health care, clean technology, digital animal and visual effects.
Thursday night, Trudeau attended a Liberal party dunsraiser in downtown Vancouver, where he applauded local members for signing up 7,000 newcomers since last summer.
Trudeau called on his supporters to keep working hard as he warned about the momentum that upcoming leadership races could give the party’s rivals.
“We’ve got competition. The Conservatives are electing a new leader next weekend. The NDP will do the same later this year. And history has shown that these things matter,” he said, speaking to a room of a couple hundred people.
Outside the venue, protesters carried signs calling for an end to Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, whose terminus is in Burnaby, and to the Site C hydroelectric megaproject in the province’s north.
With files from The Canadian Press, Black Press