Monday, April 10, 2006

The Daycare Battle Ahead

The Hill Times has an interview today with Minister Finley that clarifies the government's position a bit in the coming battle over daycare funding that is sure to dominate this session of Parliament.

A word of advice to the NDP, Liberals, and BQ as they attack the Conservative approach. The idea of "choice in childcare" resonates with Canadians, as the campaign aptly demonstrated. Yet the Tories have also shown signs of recognizing an equally persistent demand for some type of approach that focuses on the creation of spaces - spaces that Tories admit will not appear without some targetted help.

So some type of compromise may be possible. On that note, consider this brief Question and Answer 3/4 of the way through the article:

Will high-income families receive the $1,200 a month per child as well?

"This is a universal benefit that will be available to all parents of children under the age of six."

In a word: Why? Are the most wealthy Canadians really in need of an additional monthly cash handout for every child under 6? Is this really the most efficient use of resources, that the single mother struggling from pay cheque to pay cheque gets the same allowance from the government as Canadians at the very top of income tax brackets? Even Conservatives should bristle at such an absurd suggestion. Simply put, how does offering a subsidy to people who can already afford daycare if they so chose make any sense?

I know - Harper has this "stealth" plan to help out the middle class... the fact remains that the policy as is has flaws that could be better exploited by its opponents. Rather than attacks that the Tories are not offering enough money, why not attack its allocation. Who knows - maybe Harper can even be convinced to put an upper income cap on this allowance, thereby increasing the amount available for those in need of it and offering a small victory to the Liberal and NDP members campaigning to ensure that the access funds really are spent on daycare.

A compromise that features the better aspects of several party plans. That's how an ideal minority Parliament would function. I wonder if our Parliamentarians might yet come to find something along those lines before this is done.


Blogger Liam O'Brien said...

I wouldn't be opposed to an upper-income cap on the allowance. . . though I'm not sure what that should be. . . I think most Canadian parents could make good use of the money in taking care of their kids . . . having kids tends to make each income bracket pretty meaningless.. . .kids are expensive.

I'd also like to see every cent of funding chanelled into a per child transfer to parents.

Some of the dumbest (but also most telling) comments to come out of the mouths of NDP and Liberal officials have come about as a result of the child care debate. They just can't resist making statements that seem to indicate that they don't trust parents or at least don't believe that parents or anyone other than govt daycares are "qualified" enough to take care of kids. . . .

2:42 PM  
Anonymous Mabel Higgins said...

"The idea of "choice in childcare" resonates with Canadians, as the campaign aptly demonstrated."

In fact, Canadian parents are not being presented with a "CHOICE". The quoted $100./child in no way offers a choice - rather this pocket change is an insult to rich and the poor alike!
Provide Canada's young children with programs that will lead the way in creating necessary child-care practices.

We need only look at the vast number of years of children's programming in this country to find the best route...Ontario's Day Nurseries Act - in effect since post war 1946 is a good place to start - Ontario's current move to holistic / whole-day programs through their recently initiated BEST START Pilot programs were created through the existing provincial-federal agreement. They lead the way in keeping families in the workplace while children get a best start in life..

Let us develop a plan that might preserve this trend... we finally got it right! While we're at it - lets explore the work of the preschools of Reggio Emilia in Northern Italy - touted as one of the best systems in the world ... They too have been at this since post WWII, and are currently exhibiting in Calgary and then in Toronto in the autumn of 2006.
Mr.Harper must tread carefully as he prepares our young children in their first years towards Canadian citizenship ~ he must seek the voices and the collaboration among parents of young children and the early year professionals of this country.
Seeking to grandparent those programs that evolved from the former government's agreement is NOT giving in to opposition party will - rather it will gain the respect of Canadian families - including this grandmother of three, who would most certainly would enjoy a stronger role in her grandchildren's lives-alas they live in another city - and so it goes...another grandmother states she must work...another is ill and so it goes... do not take this lightly Prime Minister Harper - your good will in preserving and growing better programming for Canada's Children is the real test of your recent appointment! You may of course do as you wish...I am hopeful that you will do what is best!

12:39 AM  

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