A New Democrat MP has introduced a private member’s bill in the House of Commons that would eliminate the federal tax on certain baby products.
Christine Moore, MP for the Quebec riding of Abitibi—Témiscamingue, says the bill would recognize things such as diapers, baby bottles, nipples and certain breastfeeding products as essentials, amending the Excise Tax Act to add them to the list of “zero-rated” goods that are not subject to the GST.
Moore was an obvious choice to champion the bill as she can frequently be seen cradling her infant daughter, Daphnée, in the House during debate. She also brings her to press conferences:
A similar campaign to nix the GST on feminine hygiene products, including tampons, led to the removal of tax on those products last summer. The NDP also kick-started that change, with a private member’s bill tabled by MP Irene Mathyssen.
Mathyssen’s “tampon tax” motion gained broad support in the House, leading the Conservatives to promise they would include the removal of the GST on the products in their next budget. Within a few weeks, however, the government tabled a ways and means motion to get it done faster.
Now, says Moore, it’s time for the federal Liberals to do the same for the baby products that almost every new parent uses.
“Buying diapers and baby bottles isn’t a luxury for families – it’s a necessity,” said Moore in a statement on Thursday.
“It makes no sense to ask families with young children to pay tax on these products when there are exemptions for other non-essential products like frozen pizzas and cocktail cherries.”
Some baby products are already exempt from provincial tax, she noted, particularly in Quebec.
“This bill would have a concrete impact on people’s lives. Women and families have to use these products – they shouldn’t be penalized for making essential purchases for their child.”
Global News attempted to contact the office of Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Jean-Yves Duclos to find out if the Liberals will throw their support behind the NDP bill.
A spokesperson for Duclos said it would be up to Finance Minister Bill Morneau to make the final decision. Morneau’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday afternoon.