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Canada’s conservative leader infuriates parents by dropping promised private school tax credit

Lianne Laurence Lianne Laurence Follow Lianne

OTTAWA, August 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — News that Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer has withdrawn a promised $4,000 per child tax credit for parents who send their children to private or independent schools has pro-family groups upset.

“Another betrayal from @AndrewScheer... the $4,000 private school tax credit he promised to parents, has been withdrawn. That policy appealed to many families, to help them escape the radical #SexEd and liberal ideology in publicly-funded schools,” tweeted Jack Fonseca, director of political operations for Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s national pro-life, pro-family lobbying group.

“We can add another item to the list of ‘promises broken’ made by Conservative party leaders on parental rights in education,” wrote Tanya Granic Allen, president of parental rights’ group Parents As First Educators (PAFE), in an email to supporters urging them to contact Scheer to protest.

“By backtracking on this tax credit, Scheer is making it more challenging for some parents to make the best educational options for their children, with the additional financial burden,” Granic Allen said.

Scheer made the promise in a Facebook video during his 2017 campaign for Conservative Party leadership.

“As prime minister, I would make up to $4,000 per child eligible for tax credits for the tuition that parents pay to put their children in an independent school,” Scheer stated.

“I would also make up to $1,000 eligible for a tax credit for parents who homeschool their children,” he added.

But iPolitics reported last week that Scheer’s promised $4,000 tax credit for independent school tuition will not be part of the Conservative platform as the party gears up for the October 21 federal election.

Scheer’s spokesman, Daniel Schow, told iPolitics that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government is to blame for this decision.

“As a result of Trudeau’s budget mess, Mr. Scheer will not move ahead with the tax credit for independent schools at this time,” Schow wrote. 

The Trudeau Liberals projected a $19.7 billion deficit for 2019-2020 in their March 2019 budget, and have tabled budgets in the three previous years that led to annual deficits of nearly $20 billion, iPolitics pointed out.

While Scheer “always believe that parents, not government, are best suited to make decisions on their kids’ future,” Trudeau’s “reckless spending and endless deficits” during the past four years have put essential public services and government programs at risk, Schow stated.

It is not clear whether Scheer has also nixed his promised $1,000 per child tax credit for parents who choose to homeschool. Schow’s comments mentioned only the private school tuition tax credit. 

Nor did Liberals who blasted Scheer over the private school tuition tax credit mention homeschooling.

LifeSiteNews contacted Schow multiple times to ask if the Conservatives have also chopped the homeschooling tax credit but received no reply to that question.

As for Scheer’s private school tuition tax credit, according to iPolitics it recently came under fire from Liberals, notably strategist Rob Silver, who blasted the policy on Twitter August 8 as “a subsidy for wealthy parents who don’t need it and hurts public education.”

Similarly, Tyler Watts, political commentator and “creative assistant” for Ontario Liberal MPP Mitzie Hunter, tweeted criticism of Scheer’s policy August 2, alleging the plan would “cost Canadians about $1.7 billion/ year.”

And an August 6 op-ed by Jim Stanford in the Toronto Star warned that if implemented, Scheer’s “pledge might cost Ottawa between $1.5 billion and $2 billion a year,” and, more significantly, would “plant a ticking time bomb at the core of Canada’s school system” by facilitating a shift toward independent schools.

Fonseca, who contends on Twitter that “Scheer dutifully dropped the tax credit after Liberals howled against it,” disagrees. 

“Leftists claimed this private school tax credit would only help ‘wealthy parents.’ That’s a lie. It’d help low-to-middle income families who can't otherwise afford private school. They’d use the credit to escape radical #SexEd and liberal ideology overrunning public schools,” he tweeted.

Moreover, “if it’s really about the deficit, why not defund the conservative-hating CBC which sucks up $1.5 billion in taxpayer money annually?” Fonseca pointed out to LifeSiteNews.

“Why cancel a key policy promise that was central to putting him in the position of Leader of the Opposition, instead of the other wasteful liberal pet projects?” he noted.

At the same time, “I want to be clear that we’re not ‘attacking’ Scheer. We’re trying to help him. We’re being the best friends he’s got because we’re the only ones giving him truthful counsel that would keep his natural base engaged and motivated,” Fonseca told LifeSiteNews.

He believes the Conservative leader is “getting terrible advice from his advisers,” who are “telling him that to win one must take a Liberal-lite policy approach and that the pro-life, pro-family base have nowhere else to go.”

But that strategy is leading the Conservatives into “ruin” and “has blown the nine-point lead” they had, Fonseca contended.

Moreover, “while it is true that social conservatives won’t vote for Trudeau, whom many view as the enemy of the cross and abortionist-in-chief, that still doesn’t guarantee they’ll vote Conservative either,” he said.

“They have other options if they’re fed up with Scheer’s cold shoulder, including just staying in bed on e-day. Unfortunately, we’re hearing that a lot,” added Fonseca.

“It’s Scheer’s prerogative to turn this situation around, and get social conservatives excited about his leadership. He can start by reinstating the tax deduction for families who private school and homeschool.”

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