By John-Henry Westen

  OTTAWA, March 30, 2007 ( – Both the Institute for Marriage and the Family Canada (IMFC), and REAL Women Canada have praised the recently released federal Conservative budget. 

  IMFC specifically praised the “end of the marriage penalty”. They explained, “For many years, family groups have worked to eliminate the disparity of the tax deductible amount that spouses could claim on their income tax filing.  The government is now increasing the spousal and other amounts to the same level as the basic personal amount.”

  REAL Women concurred, “Increasing the spousal amount to equal the basic personal exemption has long been advocated by REAL Women of Canada, so this is an important advancement,” said the group.

  REAL Women also pointed out that “Canadian families will benefit from the new $2,000 child tax credit.”  IMFC explained that the measure will “provide up to $310 of tax relief for each child under 18 to more than 3 million Canadian families.”

  Praise for these measures also came from former economist and now Catholic priest and National Post columnist Father Raymond J. De Souza.  In addition to those already mentioned, Fr. De Souza praised Finance Minister Jim Flaherty for the introduction of the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP), which allows parents or anyone else to contribute to a registered plan, sheltering contributions from tax. De Souza calls the measure, “a creative bit of social policy, one which is compassionate, respects the responsibilities of parents and siblings and maximizes the options available to the disabled adults who will draw upon it.”

  De Souza suggests that the RDSP may even be a life saver.  “Today the diagnosis in utero of a disability is, in the majority of cases, a death sentence,” he says.  “Might a couple knowing that their child in utero has Down’s syndrome, or another such disability, make a different decision because of Mr. Flaherty’s RDSP? In most cases, that would not be a factor. But in some cases it might.”

  IMFC picked up on one statement from the Flaherty’s budget speech: In speaking about the need for a stronger Canada, he stated, “We need to make it more affordable for people to have children and to raise them.”

“Canada is facing a demographic winter with a current fertility rate of 1.5 children,” said IMFC. “The replacement fertility rate is 2.1.  Research shows that Canadians want to have more children than they are currently having.  So whatever our governments, at all levels, can do to allow families to have the number of children they want is crucial to a stable population.”


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