Opposition asked to act against $1 billion cut in child care funding



    OTTAWA, March 18 /CNW Telbec/ - Canadians are counting on the federal
opposition parties to speak out against the $1 billion cut in federal funding
for child care that Finance Minister Flaherty will make when he tables his
budget on Monday.
    In a letter to the leaders of the three opposition parties, the Code Blue
for Child Care campaign urges they not be misled by pre-budget speculation
that the Conservatives are doing a flip flop on child care policy.
    Late last week the media reported that Stephen Harper's government is
abandoning its scheme to create child care spaces through tax incentives to
businesses and will instead transfer $250 million to the provinces and
territories.
    "We believe the Conservative government is advancing this sudden change
of policy to deflect attention from its cancellation on April 1st of the
previously announced multibillion dollar, multiyear transfer payment package
for early learning and child care," says Code Blue in its letter to the
opposition leaders. "The cancellation of $1.2 billion in each of the next
three years constitutes a massive cut for early learning and child care
programs."
    Code Blue called on the leaders to help explain to Canadians that a
$250 million transfer payment (if it indeed does appear in the budget) can not
be regarded as a positive step because it translates into a $1 billion cut.

    (Note to media: The full text of Code Blue's letter is attached.)

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Code Blue is a Canada-wide campaign to build a real pan-Canadian child
care system. The campaign brings together parents, national, provincial and
territorial child care organizations, labour, women's and social justice
groups along with Canadians from all walks of life.
    Parents and child care advocates are taking part in Budget Watch for
Child Care sessions in communities across Canada and will be available for
comment after the Minister of Finances delivers his speech.

    
         Open Letter to the Leaders of the Federal Opposition Parties
         ------------------------------------------------------------

    March 17, 006

    Dear M. Dion, M. Duceppe and Mr. Layton,

    Late last week the media reported that the federal Conservatives are
abandoning their scheme to create child care spaces through tax incentives.
Instead, we hear that Monday's budget will contain new child care transfer
payments to the provinces and territories.
    We believe the Conservative government is advancing this sudden change of
policy to deflect attention from its cancellation on April 1st of the
previously announced multibillion dollar, multiyear transfer payment package
for early learning and child care. The cancellation of $1.2 billion in each of
the next three years constitutes a massive cut for early learning and child
care programs.
    We need your help on Budget Day to explain to Canadians that a
$250 million transfer payment (if it indeed does appear in the budget) can not
be regarded as a positive development because it translates into a $1 billion
cut to child care funding in the coming fiscal year alone. Further, without a
commitment to sustaining these funds in subsequent years, the size of the cut
reaches into the multibillion dollar range. And without a policy framework to
provide public accountability and system-building, there is no expectation
that the funds will contribute to the real system of high quality early
learning and child care that families want and need.
    As you know, child care programs, especially outside Quebec, are very
fragile and the $1 billion federal cut next year is a fatal blow to our hope
of improving access and quality. For Quebec, the cut also has enormous
consequences-ones that will likely not be compensated for through other fiscal
arrangements that Monday's budget might include.
    We urge you to watch for early learning and child care in Monday's budget
and in the budget debates that follow. We urge you to speak up on this issue
on behalf of Canada's youngest citizens. The majority of us voted for you in
the last election.
    Public opinion polls confirm that the public's support for an early
learning child care system is growing. Most recently, polling by Environics
Research showed that 80 per cent think creating more affordable child care
spaces for working Canadians is an effective way to reduce the gap between
rich and poor in Canada.

    We are counting on you to take action.

    Sincerely,

    (Signature)
    Morna Ballantyne
    Coordinator,
    Code Blue Campaign for Child Care
    




For further information:

For further information: Morna Ballantyne, Code Blue Coordinator, (613)
791-3411

Organization Profile

CODE BLUE FOR CHILD CARE

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FEDERAL BUDGET REACTION 2007

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