May 12, 2009
QUEEN’S PARK – NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says the McGuinty government’s bridge funding for Ontario’s under-funded child care programs is welcome, but falls short of fulfilling a longstanding McGuinty government promise.
“The $18-million announced today to stop child care spaces from disappearing should be seen as an overdue down-payment on Premier McGuinty’s six-year-old promise to invest $300-million on child care expansion,” said Horwath.
Horwath said the McGuinty government’s chronic lack of substantial investment is largely to blame for the child care crisis that has left 23,000 Ontario children without access to a licensed child care space. Today’s government announcement won’t create a single new space, she added.
“The provincial government tries to deflect the criticism to the federal government when child care has always been a provincial responsibility,” Horwath said.
“Yes, there should be federal involvement and investment in addition to adequate provincial funding. A big part of the problem is that Ontario’s child care investment has never been adequate. And Dalton McGuinty’s 2003 promise of $300-million for child care? Let’s just say the Premier and his Liberal ministers should take a memory test. They’ve come forward with $50-million in total, less than one-fifth of what was promised.
“Moreover there are provinces like Manitoba and Quebec right next door that have far more robust, successful and affordable child care programs. There is no reason Ontario can’t do better. New Democrats identify non-profit, regulated child care as an economic imperative for today’s families.
“Without affordable child, parents can’t go to work, school or training programs and parents, particularly those from immigrant communities, are further disadvantaged,” Horwath said.
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