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Prime Minister Stephen Harper greets the crowd while waiting for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to arrive on June 30, 2011 in Ottawa. intoit /

The Conservative government will honor its 2011 income splitting promise after all, announcing today a number of measures aimed at benefiting families across the country that includes a significant expansion to the existing Universal Child Care Benefit.

“Strong families make a strong country,” said Prime Minister Steven Harper in a campaign-style announcement from Vaughan, Ontario where he interviewed two families, both consisting of a mom-and-dad and kids, prior to making the announcements.

“Our goal as a government has always been to make sure that Canada is the best country in the world in which to raise a family. That’s why we work hard to support families in so many ways,” he said.

Harper announced that the universal child care credit will be boosted from $100 to $160 a month per child under the age of six, and a newly introduced $60 for children aged 6-17. While the credit is effective January 1, 2015, parents will not start receiving them until July, when they will receive all backdated credits since January.

The government will also increase the annual childcare-expense deduction limits by $1,000 — also beginning January 1 — to assist working parents with the cost of childcare.

The government unveiled income splitting for families, also beginning January 1. For the purpose of calculating federal taxes, couples with children under 18 years of age will now be allowed to transfer up to $50,000 from the higher earning spouse to the lower earning spouse, saving up to a maximum of $2,000.

These measures are added to the doubling of the existing child’s fitness tax-credit to $150 — and making it fully refundable — that Harper had announced previously.

“Our government is utterly convinced of one thing: When it comes to cost of raising a family, Canada’s moms and dads deserve all the help they can get,” Harper told the large crowd gathered at the Lebovic Jewish Community Campus in Vaughan.

“We have always been clear as a government — this is a difference between our philosophy and the others — we have always been clear: money and support to help families raise children should not go into more bureaucracy, it should go to the real experts on childcare, that’s mom and dad. And that is what we are doing.”

Samantha Baum, a stay-at-home mother of six in rural Ontario, welcomed the news of the tax credits.

“It’s very good that the government is showing an appreciation for families. The extra money will go a long way in providing for the many needs of our children. My husband and I see this as a blessing,” she told LifeSiteNews.