The Universal Child Care Benefit and its nonsense

20141030__UCCB_A_14_Instagram_612-x-612_ENStephen Harper is trying to buy the votes of families he impoverished in the first place. He is giving money, taking back the money, and letting families take the heat from angry childless couples. Yay!

The Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) was first introduced in 2006. The taxable benefit was, according to the Government of Canada, “Designed to help Canadian families, as they try to balance work and family life, by supporting their child care choices through direct financial support.” The benefit was originally given to parents for their children under six years old. The $100 a month was supposed to make up for the fact that Harper, immediately after he was sworn in as Prime Minister, cancelled childcare agreements. These agreements would have meant $5 billion toward a national child care system. According to The Harper Record: “The government’s plan had three components: cancel the early learn- ing and child care agreements; institute a monthly federal transfer to in- dividual families with young children and market it as “universal child care”; and allocate $250 million in a future budget to create new child care spaces through businesses or community groups.” For some families the cut didn’t matter. Maybe they had a family member providing childcare or are able to afford for one parent to stay home. They were not hurt by the cut personally, but their community was and continues to be.

Working-class families are under attack, and more specifically, mothers are under attack. The majority of part-time wage earners are women and even outside of shift work, women are still making less than their male counterparts. Women are still in the majority when it comes to being in charge of childcare. And if women want to work, it needs to be within childcare hours, and the wage needs to be able to cover the costs. Subsidies are available, but the wait time may be too long, and if you need subsidy, you’re probably working a job that isn’t the 9-5 most daycare hours accommodate.

There have been changes to the UCCB. Now, there is also a benefit for children ages six to 17. As of January a fancy new enhanced UCCB has been unveiled, but of course it isn’t as great as some would like to believe: “A good portion of this benefit will be taxed back come income tax time, or be offset by other (less widely publicized) changes to child and family benefits, such as the elimination of the child tax credit,” writes Karri Munn-Venn in her post ‘5 Reasons I’m Not Celebrating My Universal Child Care Benefit.’

Really what is going on is Harper is trying to buy votes, from the people he continually destroys, and families without children are pissed at the families with children (Great diversion Steve-o).

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Choices, lack of choices, and names

This wedge-capped capuchin is being all matrilineal.
This wedge-capped capuchin is being all matrilineal.

The most obvious way I honour my mother’s memory is by taking her maiden name.

The ways I carry on what my mother taught me are not always obvious. I get my daughter trinkets randomly, I hide M&Ms in my partner’s popcorn, and I make sure the kiddo and I are always in the middle of a book. Since we stayed with her mother for some time, and as my sister I continued to do so after our mother passed, I make sure to respect my elders.

Nine years ago I received my change of name and revised birth certificates. I wrote my nonna regularly when I was not living with her, and she was ecstatic when the return address showed their name in place of my biological father’s.

Last month, coincidentally on my mother’s birthday, discussion of identity was the focus of my Legal Institutions and Social Justice class. Various factors were considered, and the topic of names came up with the example of Quebec. In Quebec, a person’s name cannot be changed to their spouse’s. So, a woman is given the right to keep her maiden name in a patriarchal world, but at the same time her right to choose is taken away- in line with the ways of the very same patriarchal world.

After I mentioned how I have my mother’s last name, and my daughter uses the same, but hers is legally hyphenated. A male classmate noted, that if a man “inseminates” a woman, it his right to have their child use his last name only. Initially his comments were regarded as a matter of opinion, my professor was so shocked and caught off guard by the misogynistic, entitled comment. I did approach her after class, and the next class focused on tone, wording, and creating safe places within the classroom.

Not long after I came across a headline talking about matrilineality. Matrilineal descent means family lineage is traced back through the mother’s side. Weird timing, and weirder, that I hadn’t heard of matrilineality until now.

What are your thoughts on patriarchal and matrilineal tracing?

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