OTTAWA, Oct. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - It is news to Canadian families that
Stephen Harper's government has delivered on child care, say child care
advocates responding to tonight's Throne Speech.
"Any parent knows that a $100 monthly voucher doesn't create child care
and without child care there is no choice," says Morna Ballantyne of the
advocacy group Code Blue for Child Care. "Harper's claim is particularly
misleading given that the Tories have not delivered a single one of the
125,000 child care spaces they promised."
The Throne Speech signals the Tories' intention to strip Government of
the legislative and financial leavers to protect and expand social programs.
"Redirected to child care the proposed 1% cut to the GST would provide every
child in Canada between 3 and 6 with a full time child care space," said
Harper's plan to legislate limits to the federal spending power
demonstrates his continued hostility to social programs; a hostility he
championed as head of the National Citizen's Coalition and demonstrated when
in his first act as Prime Minister he cancelled the child care plan negotiated
with the provinces," said Ballantyne. "The federal spending power is the
Constitutional mechanism that gave us Medicare. It is the only tool the
Government of Canada has to launch a pan-Canadian child care program."
The Tories are misusing Quebecers' desire to control their own social
institutions to cover their actions, says Jody Dallaire, Chairperson of the
Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada. "But Parliament has all the
practical tools it requires to both protect and expand social programs while
respecting Quebec's distinct status."
Bill 303, The Early Learning and Child Care Act, scheduled before
Parliament this session does just that. It places conditions on provinces and
territories that receive federal funding for child care but it also explicitly
recognizes Quebec's right to set its own standards. "Quebec's needs can be
addressed without imposing on all Canadians a measure that makes sense only
for Quebec," says Dallaire.
Ottawa last used its spending power for child care in 2005 when the then
Liberal government signed bi-lateral agreements with the provinces on
condition they report regularly and direct the money to regulated child care
services. "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," said Dallaire.
For further information:
For further information: Morna Ballantyne, Co-ordinator, Code Blue for
Child Care, (613) 791-3411; Sue Colley, Code Blue for Child Care, (416)
538-1950, cell: (647) 224-4006; Jody Dallaire, Chairperson, Child Care
Advocacy Association of Canada, (506) 878-8666; Susan Harney,
Vice-Chairperson, Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada, (604) 888-8786