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Look where “childcare choices” has gotten us – dead last.

Remember how Harper and company canceled the childcare agreements that Paul Martin had put in place with the provinces a couple of years back, claiming it would prevent “choice” for parents when they wanted to pick childcare options? The Conservative replacement for these agreements was to send families 100$ a month.

A new UN report yesterday shows that decision was the wrong choice:

A comparison of 25 developed countries puts Canada, along with Ireland, at the bottom. Even the United States is ahead of us. Canada met just one of 10 standards measuring affordability and quality of daycare and other early childhood services, such as parental leave and overall government spending. (The U.S. met three.)

As the Star editorial says today in talking about this rather appalling statistic, that Conservative plan of 100$ a month is taxable, and it also doesn’t help parents if there are no childcare spaces to be found. It also says that the opposition parties should take advantage of the Conservative government’s desperation not to get defeated at this next Budget and demand that something be done to rectify this situation.

It’s certainly worth a try, but I doubt even a desperate Conservative government will do this. Granted, Harper has shown he will throw away his ideological beliefs  if it means hanging onto power and/or when he’s pandering for votes, but I think even he has his limits on what he won’t do. I think if they could get away with it, the Conservatives would try to scrap universal healthcare in the name of “more choice”. I highly doubt that they’re going to sacrifice that sort of ideology to embrace universal childcare.

That said, it’s a very good issue to pound on the Conservatives with, and to make it a platform plank in an election,  or a promise to implement in an alternative coalition government.


7 comments to Look where “childcare choices” has gotten us – dead last.

  • Thank GOD the Liberals put a National Childcare plan in their 1993 Red Book and had three majority governments to implement it. What? Didn’t happen? Oh! That’s so disapointing! Damn you Layton!

  • Mark, I just think your memory is faulty and you are connecting dots that aren’t there and never were. If we are to make the coalition work we are going to have to set aside our views of history and try to concentrate on keeping the country from sliding into depression.

  • Yes, Scott, “child care” has been at the top of the Real Important Issues Polls for so long now, that it just BEGS asking the question …. zzzzzzzz. Another “unbiased, non-agenda U.N. study … sigh.

    Just ask the Liberals since, after all, thirteen years of their repeated, broken promises accomplished nothing/little. (Don’t ask me about the Liberal’s four $500 million “important, very important” Toronto waterfront renewal promises, either)

    It constantly amazes me the skill with which Liberals can suck and blow at the same time.

  • Mark

    Greg – First off, I don’t read memos. Or if I do, I don’t have to follow them.

    Second, if being part of a coalition is such a noble endeavour today, then surely you must be of the view that it really is too bad your friends weren’t willing to vote with the Liberals when it really mattered.

    I’m glad you have come around to the view that a Liberal-led government is better than a Conservative-led one. I didn’t need a memo to figure that out.

    In the meantime, I’d bet happy to hear your thoughts on when we might get anything done on childcare. 2015? 2025?

  • Mark, didn’t your read the memo? The NDP is part of the coalition now. Or could you be from the PMO?

  • Mark

    I personally think this issue is dead. Most of the advocacy organizations across the country who pretended to care about this issue haven’t updated their websites in over two years. The NDP killed child care in this country, Harper only put the nail in its coffin. Olivia Chow and Jack Layton would rather see child care die than allow a Liberal Prime Minister get credit for it. It took two years and five billion dollars to get provincial governments to reach something close to consensus on this issue. All of that goodwill is gone, all of the money has vanished, and most of the provinces no longer have the capacity on their respective departments to launch or deliver decent childcare programs.

    Even if a miracle economic turnaround were to flood government coffers with enough cash to start over, it would be at least several years to get up and running. Many of the young mothers who showed up at the signing ceremonies right across this country will see their children in elementary or secondary school before any such attempt is repeated. It’s a shame.

  • roll tide

    I say increase it to $150.00 per month.
    Keep it taxable, that way the upper middle class and the wealthy benefit less.
    Universal child care does not help those who stay at home. This hits home in my own family, my sister in Kingston stays at home with three kids under five. Her husband, I guess, makes around $50,000 per year. The $100 per month, is a God send for her. It helped with diapers clothing etc. Increase it to $150.00, it will help everyone.

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