BC Budget 2013: Childcare, Family Benefits Introduced; B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong tabled the province’s budget on Tuesday and introduced measures to benefit childcare, health and education.

Huffington Post/Canadian Press

VICTORIA – British Columbia Premier Christy Clark enters the next provincial election attempting to sell her “families first” image with a pair of budget promises aimed at parents — first to care for children when they are young and then to educate them as they enter adulthood — that will require little new spending in the short-term and won’t benefit taxpayers for years.

Clark’s finance minister, Mike de Jong, was almost apologetic as he acknowledged he had little new to offer British Columbians in the Liberal government’s 2013-2014 fiscal plan, which will set the tone for the May election….

Paul Kershaw, a researcher at the University of British Columbia who is part of a campaign known as Generation Squeeze, says the savings grants and the tax credits amount to a “rounding error.”

“Since they don’t come into place for years, I’m really skeptical about what value they will deliver,” said Kershaw.

“It really does nothing to reduce the squeeze on income, it does nothing to make it more affordable to spend time at home with your child. This is window dressing.”…

The budget also sets aside new money for childcare spaces through what the government is labelling its “early years strategy.”

That strategy includes $32 million over three years for new childcare spaces, $37 million over three years for child care and early childhood services, and $7 million over three years to co-ordinate early development programs for young children….