Mr. Speaker, all children are precious. It is very important that we give them not only a healthy and safe environment to grow up in, but also the tools to help them be successful in our society. Over the years, Cape Breton has seen challenging economic times, which has created one of the highest child poverty rates in the country.
With the various programs and investments by our government, we are turning the Cape Breton economy around. With the Canada child benefit, payments in my riding alone average $720 per family each month. This is helping 12,000 children. What I am hearing from parents at home is that this money not only helps with necessities, but it also helps to put kids in after-school activities such as soccer, hockey, and dance.
Our government has additionally invested $35 million in early learning and child care in our province over the next three years. Are we there yet? No. That is why I am looking forward to our government's poverty reduction strategy, which will be released in the upcoming weeks. I commend all who had input into this strategy, and I hope all members will support it when it comes before the House.