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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Liberals waffling on national child-care

The senior Liberal MP Ken Dryden says the country cannot afford the Liberal’s national child-care program that Prime Minister Stephen Harper scrapped five years ago after he first took office. Dryden, the former Ken Dryden earned a massive roar of applause when he took the stage. Liberal cabinet minister who put that child-care program in place, now tells Canadians:

“It is our [Liberal Party of Canada] intention to proceed as we did before in terms of the creation of a national, early-learning and child-care program. We have to be respectful of the existing circumstances. The state of the economy is not what it was five years ago, or seven years ago when we started in on this.”

I take from this that the Liberals are waffling on another of their major initiatives. How does one reconcile Dryden’s statement with the one his leader made only a year ago?

Last February, Michael Ignatieff said that Canada will get a national child-care program under a future Liberal government, no matter how big the federal deficit has grown. Back then, Ignatieff gave no indication the program—which he implied was a major priority of his party—would be scaled back. In fact, he told reporters in Ottawa:

“We will find the money, because it seems to me an excellent investment. I am not going to allow the deficit discussion to shut down discussion in this country about social justice.”

What a difference a year makes. Canada’s fiscal prospects have not deteriorated in the past 12 months—many, in fact, will argue it has actually improved. So what is Dryden really trying to say?

Perhaps the Toronto Star’s Susan Delacourt is correct when she writes:

“There’s been some speculation that the Liberals have shifted their policy emphasis away from child care and toward care of the sick and elderly because of voting demographics. Put simply, the people who need child care are less likely to vote than the seniors or aging Baby Boomers who would take advantage of the Liberals’ family-care plan—and maybe even shift their vote because of it.”

With Liberals it’s seldom about what’s best for Canadians, and always about what’ll get them the most votes.

Only a couple of days ago, during a break in a discussion on poverty and the homeless in Canada, the chief Grit is reported to have said that child-care is a key part of that discussion, which is “the number one social priority of an incoming Liberal government.”

It’s as if Grit politicians are running about the country waving their little hands trying to get the attention of Canadians. They are like lost sheep in a foggy meadow. They say this, they say that, desperate to get some traction with an issue that resonates with voters. It’s become obvious that they’re so desperate, they’ll say anything they believe might help secure victory in the next election.

 

© 2011 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

5 comments — This is a moderated blog and comments will appear when approved. Please don’t resubmit if your comment doesn’t appear immediately, and please do not post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable.

  1. I believe it was Mulroney that had his national daycare program canceled by the liberals.

    The Liberals failed to enact many projects and policy promises.

    I get the feeling Dryden is going to retire and is distancing himself from the politics in Ottawa.

    The personal attacks 24/7 on fake scandals is wearing thin within the opposition MPs. I don't believe they signed up for these small politics.

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  2. "Last February, Michael Ignatieff said that Canada will get a national child-care program under a future Liberal government, no matter how big the federal deficit has grown."

    I'd love to see a video of it, I have no doubt he said it. It would be a great truth ad.

    Alberta Bob

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  3. I have two young children who need before and after school supervision.
    I think the system works fine as it is.
    In Manitoba, we had a daycare subsidy with a means test. When we earned too much to qualify, daycare was about $700 a month for the two. When I went back to school, we qualified, and daycare costs went down to $100 a month. I thank God that we could get that subsidy or else I wouldn't have been able to escape the hospitality management ghetto and train for the job that I have now in a high tech engineering company.

    Another point though, is that the daycare scene in Manitoba was highly regulated and licensed and this increased costs.

    By way of comparison, Saskatchewan's daycare scene is less regulated. While you can pay as much as in Manitoba, there is also the option of private care that costs us $300 a month.

    I am suspicious of Liberal statist daycare plans. I spend enough time deprogramming my kids after I get them home from school. I'd hate to have to deal with the added social engineering element that nationally standardized daycare would inevitably inflict on my kids.

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  4. We can't afford to properly fund health care and instead of solving that problem they want to plow money into another massively expensive government program.

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  5. Interesting post, and I agree, the "Liberals" will do and say anything to "get back to power". "Liberals"= a pack of sleazy hustlers.

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