Members' Statements on Child care in House of Commons February 6, 2013

Feb 06, 2013

On the seventh year anniversary of the cancellation of  the national child care program, child care advocates across the country spoke out about the need for affordable child care. Our partners, the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada, put out a press release to mark this day. Click here to read it. This pressure led to a debate on the issue in the House of Commons. Below is a transcript of the discussion.

Member Statements, House of Commons, February 6, 2013
Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, seven years ago today, the Prime Minister cancelled the child care agreements with the provinces. The result is that the OECD ranks Canada 24th out of 25 countries when it comes to early childhood services. Only 20% of children have access to regulated child care and very few new spaces are being created, leaving parents with difficult choices. Child care should not be an afterthought or a luxury. In fact, a federal court ruled just this week that employers have to accommodate reasonable child care requests.

When European countries invested in child care, they found that each dollar spent returned two more to the economy. However, here in Canada, the Liberals and Conservatives just do not get it. Three straight prime ministers have now broken their promises to create high quality regulated child care, instead squandering billions of dollars on corporate tax giveaways.

Only New Democrats are steadfast in their support for universal, accessible, affordable and licensed child care. For us, early childhood services are an investment, not an expense.

Member Statements, House of Commons, February 6, 2013
Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, seven years ago today, the Prime Minister, as his mean-spirited first act in office, tore up signed agreements that would have created high quality and low cost child care options for Canadian families. With the help of their co-conspirators in the NDP, the Conservatives tried to pass off their taxable benefit program, a program that has cost taxpayers $15 billion, as a replacement. Fifteen billion dollars has been squandered and there has been no decrease in child care fees; $15 billion squandered and no new regulated child care spaces for families; $15 billion squandered and precious little to show.
As a result of the government's failure, there are licensed child care spaces for fewer than 20% of Canadian children, while the zero to 4-year-old cohort has increased by 11%.

There can be no question that Canadian families deserve a break and a chance to provide every child with the best possible start in life. It is appalling how the Conservatives have failed our children and Canadian families.

Questions, House of Commons, February 6, 2013
Child Care Oral Questions 2:45 p.m.
NDP
Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, seven years ago today, the Prime Minister cancelled the national child care agreement. The Conservatives promised to create more child care spaces, but like so many promises, they failed to deliver. The reality for many parents is that regulated child care spots are few and far between, and parents are left with very difficult choices.
Why can the Conservatives not make life easier for parents and address the critical shortage of affordable, regulated child care spaces in Canada?

Child Care Oral Questions 2:45 p.m.
Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario
Conservative
Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are the party that believes that parents are the ones who should decide for their own children. That is why we brought in the universal child care benefit six and a half years ago now, and that has provided help to over three million Canadian children. That is $100 a month to help let the parents choose how their children are raised and where. Even if they decide to do it themselves, we will support that.

Child Care Oral Questions 2:45 p.m.
NDP
Chris Charlton Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, clearly the minister has absolutely no intention of treating parents fairly. However, she is throwing out the baby with the bathwater when she fails to even acknowledge that child care also makes good economic sense. In Quebec, the child care program boosted its GDP, creating $1.7 billion in revenue provincially and $700 million for the federal government.
Why can the Conservatives not admit that a national child care program is both fairer to parents and makes good economic sense?

Child Care Oral Questions 2:45 p.m.
Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario
Conservative
Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we do have a national program that is accessible by all parents. It allows them the freedom to choose whether they want to stay at home and raise their children, have granny look after them or go for traditional daycare.
However, traditional daycare is not available to all parents. It is simply not there. That is why we also gave the provinces a lot of money with which they have created well over 100,000 new child care spaces so that parents would have that option as well.
We are there for parents and for parents' choice, in other words.

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