To the Editor:
Summer has officially begun and while the warm temperatures are being welcomed by children eager to start their summer vacation, many parents have begun to sweat over how they will afford child care for the next few months. Unfortunately, Monday’s announcement by Families, Children, and Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos did little to ease their concerns.
While the Liberals hope their plan will create 40,000 child care spaces over the next three years, they don’t actually have a plan to achieve their target. The bilateral agreements the federal government intends to sign with the provinces and territories won’t stipulate that new spaces must be created and won’t create parity between existing provincial and territorial programs. This will result in a patchwork system across the country that won’t meet the needs of the majority of Canadian families.
In addition, the Prime Minister admitted in March that the Liberals would be skimming $195 million off the top of the fund to conduct ill-defined child care research projects. And when Minister Duclos was asked when families would start to see the benefits of this funding, he would only say that “between now and approximately 2020, there will be significant impacts.” Families struggling to make ends meet today can’t afford to wait three more years, nor do they have any faith in ambiguous and likely empty Liberal promises.
Conservatives understand that parents, not governments, know what is best for their children and that families have a variety of child care options to choose from. In fact, Statistics Canada data shows that in 2011, 33 per cent of parents used daycare centers; 31 per cent used home daycare, and another 28 per cent had private arrangements for children under the age of 4.
The needs of families living in highly populated cities are vastly different from rural and remote communities. Transportation, community support and labour market differences create unique obstacles in smaller centres. The Liberal government’s approach does not appropriately take into consideration the needs of rural and remote communities, instead opting to focus on urban centres.
In smaller municipalities, private, licensed child care providers and home-based child care centres offer flexibility for single or working parents. That’s why Conservatives believe in cutting taxes and putting more money back in the pockets of Canadian parents, so that they can choose the type of child care that works best for their family. Unfortunately, the Liberals’ government-knows-best approach will ensure funding flows primarily to bureaucrats and existing urban public child care providers, leaving rural families to fend for themselves.
Telling parents how they ought to care for their kids shows just how out of touch the Liberals really are. Their approach will inevitably lead to more disparity between child care programs across the country, put more strain on Canadian families, and leave more parents feeling the heat this summer.
Member of Parliament
Conservative Critic for Families, Children and Social