Throne Speech limits on federal spending would end child care dream

    OTTAWA, Oct. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - Child care advocates will be closely
monitoring Tuesday's Speech from the Throne to see if Stephen Harper allies
with Gilles Duceppe to limit the federal spending power. The federal spending
power is the only available tool the Government of Canada has to launch a
pan-Canadian child care program.
    "This constitutional provision is the mechanism that gave us Medicare,"
says Morna Ballantyne of the national advocacy group Code Blue for Child Care.
"Ottawa's ability to set conditions on the funding it makes available for
social programs ensures that Canadians from coast to coast to coast enjoy the
same fundamental social rights."
    Child care advocates respect the desire of Quebecers to control their own
social institutions as a means of protecting their distinct culture," says
Ballantyne. "But Quebec's needs can be addressed without imposing on all
Canadians a measure that makes sense only for Quebec."
    Bill 303, The Early Learning and Child Care Act, scheduled before
Parliament this session does just that. It places conditions on provinces and
territories in receipt of federal funding for child care but allows Quebec to
set its own standards.
    "The federal spending power is essential if all Canadian parents and
children are to enjoy access to the same level of child care available to
Quebec families," says Jody Dallaire, Chairperson of the Child Care Advocacy
Association of Canada.
    Ottawa last used its spending power in 2005 when the then Liberal
government signed bi-lateral agreements with the provinces for child care on
condition they report regularly and direct the money to regulated services.
    "Stephen Harper demonstrated his hostility to national programs when in
his first act as Prime Minister he cancelled the child care agreements and has
since reneged on his own promise to create 125,000 new spaces," said Dallaire.

For further information:

For further information: Morna Ballantyne, Co-ordinator, Code Blue for
Child Care, (613) 791-3411; Jody Dallaire, Chairperson, Child Care Advocacy
Association of Canada, (506) 878-8666

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