Sask. NDP press for children to receive $500 affordability cheques

Sask. NDP press for children to receive $500 affordability cheques

Finance Minister Donna Harpauer told reporters the NDP should have asked sooner, saying the move would delay the rollout.

Official Opposition Leader Carla Beck, right, and SaskPower Critic Aleana Young ask Scott Moe's Sask. Party government to join every other province in establishing an independent consumer advocate for utilities.
Official Opposition Leader Carla Beck, right, and SaskPower Critic Aleana Young ask Scott Moe’s Sask. Party government to join every other province in establishing an independent consumer advocate for utilities. Photo by TROY FLEECE /Regina Leader-Post

Saskatchewan NDP Leader Carla Beck again pressed the government on Wednesday to also provide $500 cheques to children after Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said the move would delay the rollout.

Advertisement 2

Beck told the legislature “it makes no sense” to exclude children from the government’s affordability cheques, noting one in four children live in poverty and many of their families are using the food bank.

Regina Leader Post Headline News

Sign up to receive daily headline news from Regina Leader-Post, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.

By clicking on the sign up button you consent to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc. You may unsubscribe any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails. Postmedia Network Inc. | 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4 | 416-383-2300

The $500 tax credit cheques, which will cost the government $450 million, are expected to land in people’s mailboxes later this month.

Harpauer told reporters on Tuesday that while the government had discussions about providing the affordability cheques to kids, she said the measure would likely delay the rollout for “a month or more.”

She said it would be more complicated to include children because they wouldn’t be on the province’s tax database system.

She argued the NDP should have asked for the measure sooner.

Advertisement 3

“I think that it’s a little late for them to come out and ask for a change when they know that the cheques are coming out very shortly,” she said. “They had some time to come up with an alternative and they did not.”

Finance Minister Donna Harpauer speaks to media in July.
Finance Minister Donna Harpauer speaks to media in July. Photo by TROY FLEECE /Regina Leader-Post

Recommended from Editorial

  1. Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Donna Harpauer

    Sask. reverses gym PST expansion to go along with $500 cheques

  2. REGINA, SASK :  August 23, 2022 --  Official Opposition Finance Critic Trent Wotherspoon responds to Finance Minister Donna Harpaue's first quarter financial update on Tuesday, August 23, 2022 in Regina.
TROY FLEECE / Regina Leader-Post

    Struggling Sask. families should get larger rebate, ‘zero’ for wealthy: Economist

The NDP, however, said they did ask the province to include children back in August.

Opposition finance critic Trent Wotherspoon told reporters back then that excluding children is not fair. He has also asked the government not proceed with power and gas bill hikes, suspend the provincial fuel tax and reverse 32 other fee hikes.

Wotherspoon told reporters on Tuesday the measure to include children in the cheques program would cost about $150 million.

Article content

He said the government would have enough cash to make this happen. The province plans to use its $1.86 billion in windfall revenues to pay down $1 billion on the debt and $450 million on the cheques.

He argued that a single mom with three children would see less relief in the form of cheques while a couple with no children would see more.

“We need to make sure we are delivering these in a fair way,” he said. “(How it’s being delivered now) just isn’t fair and just isn’t right.”

Harpauer, however, argued that low-income moms and dads are eligible for other benefits, noting the federal government’s climate rebates are also available. She said Saskatchewan has the highest tax exemption for children in the country.

She said the province will consider additional affordability measures should resource royalty revenue be higher than what has been projected.

As for energy and electricity bills, Don Morgan, the minister responsible for Crown corporations, said Saskatchewan has among the cheapest rates in the country.

jsimes@postmedia.com 

The news seems to be flying at us faster all the time. From COVID-19 updates to politics and crime and everything in between, it can be hard to keep up. With that in mind, the Regina Leader-Post has created an Afternoon Headlines newsletter that can be delivered daily to your inbox to help make sure you are up to date with the most vital news of the day. Click here to subscribe.

Read More

Write a comment

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required