Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his question. There are many points that we could share today on what we need to do for children in benefits. I would like to restate that EI claimants who get the family income supplement will be exempt from the new intensity rule that will reduce benefit levels
of repeat claims. That is very important for all Canadians to know. People need to know this step reflects the interests of children in low income families.
I also think people should know that part II will allow them to develop the skills they need to build stronger careers. Again, in part II we have targeted our assistance. We also recognize that parents find it very difficult to pursue full time studies.
It is important to make another point about the child tax benefit. The child tax benefit right now recognizes the contributions of all families by providing a basic credit of $1,020 per child per year, plus an additional $75 for the third child and subsequent children. It recognizes the cost of young children by providing a supplement of $213 for each child under the age of seven. It targets the greatest benefits to families in need by reducing the total benefit by 5 per cent on family income over $25,921. I believe the current child tax benefit recognizes the contribution of all parents and at the same time directs more resources to those most in need. That is good family policy.
The Liberal government is working with the provinces to improve this by developing, as I said before, an integrated child benefit. I believe this would be a better use of scarce and limited public resources than the Reform proposal. It would provide greater public benefit to the entire community, while Reform's proposal would channel more resources to one type of family regardless of financial need.
Families do want choices, but they want real choices. Reform talks about choices, but the impact of its policies would only provide real choices for the group of families who can afford to have one parent stay at home, and most families do not have that choice.
Reform based this motion on its proposals in its fresh start program on the notion that a one income earner family of $60,000 is the same as a two earner family with an income of $30,000 each. That is not reality. It is not the case.
If a parent earning $30,000 in the Reform plan decides to stay home, the family might get a tax credit of somewhere between $2,000 and $4,000, depending on the age of the children. That would give the household a family income of $32,000 or $34,000. The family, obviously, would not have the same choices as a household earning $60,000.