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Liberals and Iggy promise national childcare program

It’s been nice to see not only the Liberals capitalize on the Conservatives proroguing of Parliament by showing up for work on the Hill, but actually doing some substantive announcements and round-tables on policy, and this is probably their biggest and best one to date – promising to implement a national childcare/daycare program, regardless of how big the deficit is:

Ignatieff unequivocally declared on Monday that if he becomes prime minister, there will be no delay in delivering a national program – and lack of money won’t be an excuse. “This is the number one social priority of an incoming Liberal government,” Ignatieff said during a break in an all-day discussion on poverty and homelessness in Canada.

Ignatiff did not offer specifics on dollar figures or how many daycare spaces he believes that the plan he has in mind would create, but I like the fact he’s clearly staked out a specific difference between himself and the Conservatives on this issue. The latest poll from Decima talked about in my prior blogpost shows the Liberals have regained the lead from the Conservatives with women voters, and I’m thinking an ambitious plan like this will help them with this voting demographic. In my opinion, the Conservatives 100$ a month “program” is neither a national daycare program, nor does it do much in aiding families to pay for childcare costs, and it is vulnerable to a well thought out national plan that covers all. We will need to see what Ignatieff has in mind with the specifics of this plan – I would like it to be more of a “national” program then what the Paul Martin Liberal administration offered – but details are sure to come.

Of course, as the Star article mentions, Ignatieff may be fighting past Liberal records of promising a national daycare program, and then putting it off due to money concerns, but this statement from Ignatieff seems pretty unequivocal that a program will be implemented regardless of the deficit at the time.

As an aside, kudos from this corner to Ignatieff and the Liberals on taking advantage of “Conservative prorogation month” as a way to offer some alternative policy to the Conservatives on policy, knowing the spotlight would be primarily on them in Ottawa with the government off on its Olympics holiday/recalibration tour. I hope they keep it up.


16 comments to Liberals and Iggy promise national childcare program

  • Christina Monroe

    I am the policy chair for my ETA, I attended the 2009 Liberal convention. I worked on the polices for Early Learning. They include more than just daycare.

    Numbers: 29, 138, 140

    Michael Ignatieff is doing what his party is asking him to, and is going the step further saying “lack of money won’t be an excuse”.

    It will happen, or he will not only have to answer to the public at large, he will have to answer to party members like me who have spent their life advocating for better childcare, and worthy subsidies for stay at home parents.

    • bubba

      we never hear about the second part of your statement”worthy subsidies for stay at home parents” If there is balance to both avenues then I think the liberals have a winner. The public may not be willing to take the hit until the end of defecits are in sight.It should make for a more thoughtful debate in the next election.Iggy will have to say how much and who will pay or he will get chewed up in a campaign. with the usual RAISE TAXES on everything scare. Which might be where the $ is coming from. He needs to have the answers before he faces the public on this issue.

      • Christina Monroe


        I know. People never hear it but believe me it is there in every policy discussion. You can not support one group but not another.

        I came from a home where my mom raised us, and stayed home my dad worked. I would like the chance to do that if/when I have my own children. It is important to me. That being said,I have spent the last 15 years working in childcare, have a degree in Early Childhood Education and currently run a dayhome. I knows ins and outs of the struggles on all fronts.

        Early Learning needs to be done properly (support a properly funded childcare system and support parents with a worthy wage who stay at home), it needs balance (can not go broke over it when we are already there) and it needs to not be lip service to win elections they need to deliver.

        I believe the way to change things is to be involved with ones political party of choice. I am involved with my party and I hold them accountable to listen to their membership.

  • MoS

    Marie said, “When will everyone realize that this is 2010 and the past Liberals are not here.” Does that mean that we’re dismissed and, if so, who decided that Marie? You? Since Liberals past are not here, who is? The last time this party actually stood for something genuinely progressive, it was Marie’s Liberals past. She would do well to figure that out for herself.

    • marie

      Mos said:Marie said, “When will everyone realize that this is 2010 and the past Liberals are not here.” Does that mean that we’re dismissed and, if so, who decided that Marie? You? Since Liberals past are not here, who is? The last time this party actually stood for something genuinely progressive, it was Marie’s Liberals past. She would do well to figure that out for herself.

      No, you could be a little more reasonable. I am not saying that anyone is dismissed. What I am saying is that I am fed up with reading that Chretien did it Martin did it, the liberals did it when I said 2010 is here with a different leader and different ideas. I am not deciding how anyone should think for themselves or who they should vote for either but I am saying that this is a different leader running for the liberals with his own ideas and plans on how he would govern if he were elected. Give the man a chance instead of putting words in his mouth. You would do well to figure that out by yourself if you actually read the words I said rather than the words you think I said. I will have you know that I have not always voted Liberals. Chretien was a good example of a man who thought he could say and do whatever he wanted and showed himself as a dictator. He didn’t get my vote then and he wouldn’t have now. What I am saying is that don’t attempt to paint everyone you don’t like with the same brush you paint others with. BTW, I voted for Harper in the last election and I would not ever do that again for the fact that he comes across as a dictator like Chretien did, and look where it got him. Defeated

      Maybe it time to call a truce and admit we were both wrong on either statements made.

  • This has long been a promise betrayed by the ruling parties (CPC, LPC). Money and style of implementation are important issues, and I, for one, need to know more. I currently use daycare under the City of Toronto subsidy, and have no idea how I would have gotten past the last few years without it. It is very expensive for the City to pay for — $1200/month! That what for-profit daycare costs to watch over a 4 year-old 8 until 6.

    A public system would be unionized and subject to strikes, but likely cheaper than subsidized a profit-based system.

    The Conservative $100/month system is not $100/month. Is it taxable, and was built partially upon a clawback from one of the child tax credit. In the end, it’s more like $50-60/month. It does nothing meaningful to help daycare costs. It’s just a petty bribe.

  • bull caller

    The latest conservative troll instructions have been to discredit the idea because past iterations of the liberal party have proposed it. This is a rather weak and pathetic argument, as well as the mysogynistic view that this will cost too much money, etc. etc…. just think about all the single women and working families that will be able to contribute to productivity and improve their financial picture – inturn burdening the social services network less. Unfortunately conservatives – particlularyly male conservatives, fail to see the value in that. They cannot see cause = effect, they can only see talking point = easy for me to repeat. And to justify it by saying those that choose to stay home to raise their kids are being punished – good grief! I have a child, i saw nothing of the choice in childcare disaster the conservatives implemented. How about supporting those who don`t have the income or 2 parents – perhaps that was the point of the liberals plan, clearly lost on our conservative trolls. But then again they are likely both too young to have kids, and while stuck in mommys basement too socially inept to actually develop an opportunity to procreate – thank heaven for small miracles.

    Agreed the idea has been floated around by past Liberal governments, and I certainly won`t argue that they for whatever reason failed to put together an initiative that should have been in place by now. Having said that, its a good idea and it does deserve to be revisited regardless of who brings it up. Sadly Harper`s epic fail at trying to look like a humanitarian by talking about women in the 3rd world as babymakers, to a bunch of bankers and economists no less, is perhaps the saddest attempt at appearing to have a soul i`ve seen in a long time. And then for the con apologists to attempt to frame the libs as being opportunisitic etc, at least they have a history of trying to do something, rather than a history of the exact opposite as herr harper.

  • Jim Vincent

    It would be nice if the Liberals distinguished themselves on daycare by actually implementing it, for once.

    • bubba

      I could buy into this if people who chose to stay at home with their children were given tax credit = to money saved by Gov’t. I cant support a program that punishes people for wanting to raise their own kids ALL DAY.

  • marie

    When will everyone realize that this is 2010 and the past Liberals are not here. I think its about time that Canada did something for universal child care so that needy families all over Canada have a system in place to help women go back to work to help support their homes and their children with day care and reasonable prices so that the single women parent can go out and earn money for food clothing and hopefully low income housing rather then depend on welfare to do this. It is time that any government does that for its citizens and take the pressure of their parents and grandparents to do handle the whole load. As a parent and grandparent, I have done my part, my health isn’t good enough to do anymore and if anyone especially males have an issue with that, they had better be prepared to take the job instead of going fishing, golf and pubbing. The men bitch and complain, leave when they choose to do all the stuff I mentioned and then criticize a system that is long overdue and run away rather than some responsibility in sharing the load on women and mothers. more taxes We also pay for welfare so at least this system would give women back their independence. WE also pay fortunes in our taxes on continuous election campaigning and holding elections on a whim by our acting government whenever they go to the GG and complain they don’t have the confidence of the house even though this man is a one man show. 308 Pm’s in the house at the average of $ 40 million dollars plus all the advertising with tax payers dollars dragging their feet giving money we don’t have in the coffers all over the place, spending billions on a unwindable war, appointing over 30 new senators on an average annual salary of $130.000 and taking closing down parliament for 3 month break with full pay. Travelling all over Canada doing photo ops. I would think that most of these issues I have mentioned are grounds for all 308 Pm’s to decide and not just the control freak who dreams up promises on a whim to suit his situation daily. Can’t handle the pressure, resign and take a hike is my advice to him so that Canada will have a reasonable chance to get the economy back on tract. Sorry if I was distracted and a little of topic but Harper is the most major problem of Canadians and he needs to take a hike get lost for good.

    • bubba

      I could buy into this if people who chose to stay at home with their children were given tax credit = to money saved by Gov’t. I cant support a program that punishes people for wanting to raise their own kids.

      • marie

        Bubba, not all parents choose to stay at home but women in general have no choices about it what so ever. It takes two people to produce children and both of these need to take responsibility and share the load. It is not the one parent to have this responsibilty nor their parents, They have done their share with their own children when they growing up. making excuses isn’t an option any more. Time to take some pressures load off the women.

      • Jon Pertwee

        @bubba, weren’t you saying on another blog that if a politician buys you lunch then that is why you vote for them?

        I can’t support a government that rewards idiocy like that.

        • bubba

          Do you think a Tax credit for the Moms and Dads that want to raise their children at home or fully paid Govt daycare. People could choose either option would be fair?
          Or should only people that put both parents in the workforce and want the state to have major input in child raising receive the bennefit?

  • We should believe Liberals about daycare this time around because … ?

  • MoS

    Why is it that whenever the Libs want to “distinguish” themselves they drag out the same old saw – daycare? Important as it may be, it’s been churned around so many times by so many Liberal leaders that it’s become hackneyed. With all the changes and challenges impacting Canada, are we really to believe that this mantra of “daycare, daycare” reflects the state of our country?

    “Unequivocal” and “Ignatieff” – pretty bold using those two words in the same sentence.

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