MPs debate dental care scheme in Commons

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MPs debate dental plan in Commons

This cost-of-living relief measure is called for by the New Democratic Party.

Federal Conservatives say the dental and health care bill one-time rent assistance will only add to inflation without providing real relief to Canadians from the rising cost of living.

MPs are debating the government's bill on Monday to create an annual dental benefit of $650 for every child under 12, a program currently aimed at low- and middle-income families.

The bill would also give low-income tenants a one-time payment of $500.

The Conservatives are now proposing an amendment to the bill to strike it down altogether. It is highly unlikely that this amendment will pass, as the New Democrats and Liberals will both vote in favor of passing the bill in the Commons.

These two cost-of-living relief measures were in fact demanded by the New Democratic Party in exchange for its agreement to support the minority Liberal government in key votes in the Commons until 2025.

Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet asked the government 10 days ago to split the bill to separate the two measures.

The Bloc supports the principle of rental assistance, but believes that the federal dental care program constitutes interference in Quebec's areas of jurisdiction.

The Bloc Québécois nevertheless intends to vote in favor of the principle of the bill, then try to improve the legislative text in parliamentary committee. The Bloc could then demand that Ottawa pay the Government of Quebec its share of the program costs, so that it can dispose of them as it sees fit.

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