Mr. Speaker, I am so proud to stand in the House and support the private member's bill put forward by Canada's Conservative leader and the leader of the official opposition that supports new parents. Bill C-394, the supporting new parents act, is a policy that works in the best interest of families, in the best of interest of children, and in the best interests of Canadians.
Canadians have seen many changes in the employment insurance program, specifically to maternity and parental benefits. This specific change provides support to families by providing tax relief on their employment insurance benefits. Currently, employment insurance is taxable under each and every program. This new refundable tax credit would benefit Canadian families at a time when it would be truly needed by the families.
Let us have some fun with this, and I will let everyone take part in this. As a parent, I understand how much it costs to purchase diapers. I went on to my little app, and currently at Walmart, a case of Huggies Little Snugglers diapers for newborns costs $29.97 and provides 88 diapers. According to the New Kids-Center, a site where one can find out how to parent, a newborn uses, on average, 10 to 12 diapers per day, per month. Sometimes I fell asleep, so I am sure I used less. Still, at 35¢ a unit, the cost is $4.20 a day. The total cost per month for diapers alone for a newborn is $130. Although the number of diapers used per month may go down as the child grows up, the cost per unit goes up. Regardless, we are looking at an average cost of about $130 a month just for diapers. This is just some basic parenting 101.
The supporting new parents act is a plan proposed by a parent in the House who knows a lot about diapers and children. When we have a leader of the opposition, our Conservative leader, bring forward legislation like this, he does it because he understands family. He understands what it is like to raise children and the cost of that He and Jill have had many children, as he discussed, so he understands what it is like.
If we were to add his family to my family we could field an entire baseball team, with one substitute. I do not think there are a lot of people in the House who could do that. This is coming from two parents who have spent a lot of money on diapers, so I understand this. There is a personal feel to it.
Currently parents of newborns receive anywhere between 33% and 55% of their income, whether they are taking extended benefits that now go to the 18-month period. As the chair of the status of women committee, we talk a lot about women and equality. As was brought forward in committee, one of the biggest things parents who are stay home with their child look at is loss of income. Who is going to choose to stay at home with the child? They may be looking at the opportunity to stay beyond the six-month parental leave, to be taken by the mother or the father. A lot of times that decision comes down to who is making the most money. Therefore, that person will continue to earn their benefits and the other person will stay home. The bill would help make the decision easier though.
At the end of the day, the bill would put more money back in the pockets of parents. The benefit to an average Canadian whose salary is $50,000 would be $4,000. We have heard from witnesses across Canada that choices on EI are based on the impact of the family's income. Therefore, an important bill like this provides that ability for parents to actually choose. There is going to be a choice. When parents know they can make x number of dollars and keep that in their pockets, it will be their choice.
Many times we have discussed why fathers do not take parental leave. One reason is because sometimes the breadwinner is the father. This would give them an option. In some families, the breadwinner may be the mother. This also would provide them additional income. It is that simple.
The Conservative Party of Canada believes in the family unit, and this is all about that. We believe in supporting families and developing reasonable, responsible programs and legislation. We believe that the way to help families is to lower taxes and have good policies. Strong families raise strong individuals, which in turn create strong communities and a stronger country.
Bill C-394, the supporting new parents act, is a policy that would work for families. It would work to help offset some of the costs of parenting. With five children of my own, I know the cost of raising children truly never goes away. I have a 22-year-old son who is still learning how to budget, so I give Garrett a budget. We are working on that. Working with our children and trying to ensure they have the best opportunities does not stop at a particular age.
Canadian families have so much to think about, including what school their child is going to. Do they take sports or piano lessons, or perhaps both? We do not get a tax credit on that, but it is an option. There are friends and curfews. However, the beginning of a child's life is a very special experience. Providing any opportunity for a parent to stay home with a child and help raise that child is a key to building a stronger child-mother, child-father bond, and I think that is really important.
This bill would put families first by providing a tax credit for income earned under EI maternity and EI parental benefits. According to reports, the average family right now, under the current government, is paying $800 a year more in taxes, and we know that is going to continue to grow. Yesterday in the House, we were discussing budget 2018 and the government's historic investments. These historic investments, of course, are the ones the Liberals are going to see on the backs of these children we are currently going to try to diaper, so let us give them a break now.
Let me provide a little insight. When I was talking about diapers, I was talking about the average cost. We can look at other things parents have to pay for. There are baby wipes, $7.99; a box of Q-tips, $3.99; two jars of baby food, three dollars; baby formula, anywhere from $9.98 to $52; baby cream and soaps, an average of five dollars to $10. We can add on the car seat, the crib, blankets, strollers, bottles, and swings. When we add all of those things, parenting does cost money. Being a parent is not cheap, and we know that at one time, one or two parents reduce their income to become parents and raise their children.
Bill C-394, the supporting new parents act, is a policy that would work in the best interest of families, children, and Canadians. The bill would assist new families by removing the federal tax on EI maternity and parental benefits for parents who choose to take time off to raise families, a newborn, or an adopted child. As a party, we believe that the family is essential for the well-being of individuals and society as a whole.
Raising children in Canada can be challenging. Canada's Conservatives recognize the sacrifice of Canadian parents who have to make these choices when having children, including taking leave from work and losing almost half of a regular income. This compassionate policy would help families when they need it most. It would give them more freedom and flexibility to raise their families. For any young family, this important proposed tax relief could make a huge difference in the cost of raising newborn children.
Canadian parents should be able to focus on providing for a new child. They deserve our support. This is especially important when the cost of living continues to rise for parents under this government.
This is the first major economic policy put forward by our leader. We look forward to proposing many other initiatives as we carry forward. As a Conservative team, we are working together to develop social and economic policies that make sense for all Canadians.
I hope I have not scared off anyone who is currently considering having a child when I say how expensive it is. Having a child is one of the greatest joys. It sometimes causes the greatest amount of tears, a lot of late nights, disagreements, and perhaps some time outs. Any time we can give a break to parents so they can raise their families, that is what the government should be doing. Our children are worth it, and supporting today's families is worth it.
I urge this government and members of the opposition party to support this bill.