Canada is Free and Freedom is Its Nationality

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Debate on Childcare.

Please Note: This is a summary of the events and speeches in my own words for educational, information, and entertainment purposes only. It is not the speakers' exact words and should not be taken as such. It also may contain errors due to the nature of the medium. I am not responsible for any of them, use at your own risk.

The closing event of the day was a debate between Diane Finley (Conservative) and Mike Savage (Liberal) on universal childcare. Brief biographies are as follows.

The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development began her professional career as an administrator of the University of Western Ontario's French Immersion School. Prior to her election, she held several senior positions in both the public and private sectors encompassing health care, transportation, agricultural equipment manufacturing, printing and publishing, and aviation. Ms. Finley has a bachelor's degree in administrative studies and a master's in business administration from the University of Western Ontario.

Mr. Mike Savage, Member of Parliament for Dartmouth – Cole Harbour (Nova Scotia) was first elected Member of Parliament in June 2004 and was re-elected in 2006 and 2008 in the riding of Dartmouth – Cole Harbour. Mike is currently the Official Opposition Critic for Human Resources and Skills and is the Chair of the Liberal Caucus Committee on Post-Secondary Education and Research. Mike has always been active in the community. He is a past President of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada from 1998 to 2003. He has also supported literacy through his involvement with the Dartmouth Book and Writing Awards and the Peter Gzowski Golf Tournament for Literacy. He is the immediate past President of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party.

Diane Finley started the debate with a 15 minute bilingual presentation. Mike Savage followed and then there was a Q&A.

Diane Finley "Supporting Choice in Child Care"

The health of a community and nation depend on having healthy families. We partner with other groups to help bring that about. We also believe that getting the best start in life is very important for children.

We believe in a choice in childcare, not a one size fits all approach, and support that choice in practical ways with benefits and financial help.

Support for families today is over three times higher than under the previous government, 19 billion dollars.

Parental care remains the number one choice for Canadians. 90% prefer to have one parent stay at home with the children during the preschool years.

Parents know best.

When parents can't stay at home other family members are their first choice when it comes to childcare, followed by home based care, and then daycare centres.

Childcare is a provincial responsibility and different regions have different needs. The Government of Canada helps by giving money to families and to the provinces.

What do Canadians think about childcare funding?

IMFC did a survey which indicated that the number one choice was tax deductions and the number two was cash payment so that parents could choose their preferred form of childcare including one parent staying home.

Parents want choice, flexibility, and opportunity.

The Universal Child Care Plan gave parents $100 a month per child to help with costs. The government also gives money to help create childcare spaces. 2.5 billion dollars has helped 2 million children and lifted 57,000 children out of low income status.

For the average family, government help offsets the cost of non-parent childcare.

We also five the child tax credit, the Canada Child Tax Benefit and National Child Benefits supplement. The Child Disability help, Child Care Expenses tax deduction, Child Fitness tax benefit.

In 2011 self-employed people will be able to access maternal and parental benefits.

Canadians asked for choice in childcare. We delivered.

Families are all unique, the government does not know best.

Mike Savage

His party is committed to creating a universal Early Childhood Education and Care program and providing options giving youth a head start.

It could be a for profit system or not for profit, the plan and budget will be presented before the next election.

This will provide real choice.

Many parents can't stay at home.

This will give all children an equal chance at a head start.

He gave a short history of daycare in Canada.

Development in neurobiology shows that early learning is very important. Canada's youth need this in order to be internationally competitive.

Good ECE decreases parental stress, helps kids, increases the birth rate, reduces poverty, reduces delinquency, and allows women to work.

This would also be the single biggest job creator by dollar.

Among developed countries Canada ranks last in ECE.

During 2001-04 more children were helped than in recent years.

Nine million adult Canadians lack basic literacy skills. It is hard for people to improve their literacy if they have kids and no care.

ECE is also a health issue.

It results in lower teen pregnancy, higher grades, higher IQ, less smoking, less delinquency.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce says that we need effective early childhood development to improve long term productivity.

People need choice. We need universal care to give it to them.

Children don't start learning at age six. They start learning at or before birth. None of us would accept an eight or nine year old being refused access to education, but it happens every day for children under six.

Q: For Finley. A debate like this could go on for days because some people refuse to see the truth. What is the point of Parliament then?

A: Good things do happen in the House. It is how we discuss how we spend your money.

A: Savage. Don't judge the House by Question Period, it does do good things.

Q: To Savage. You said many good things about child care but you also said that it was best for children to be with people who love them. Why do you just assume that it is a forgone conclusion that parents can't stay home.

A: Yes it would be ideal for children to be at home. But that is not reality as many can't live on one income. All children deserve an equal start.

Q: For Finley. Is the reason some people can't stay at home who want to because of tax.

A: It can be but it can also be a lifestyle choice. However some people want to stay home and the UCC helps with that.

Q: In Quebec not everyone can get into the universal system. It is very expensive for the state and doesn't give choice. It costs the government about $50 a day. Would the government be willing to give that same money to parents to stay home?

A: Savage. My wife stays at home. That is a choice but some don't have a choice. They must have this equal access.

A: I learned from my Granny, children can learn from family and parents too.

Q: He has three children and his wife stays at home. Some people really need a double income and some people choose it for lifestyle reasons. Why should I pay for that? Does your policy offer anything for me in my situation?

A: Savage. People said that about health care, but this plan would be a benefit to society. We have bad literacy.

Q: So your party does nothing for our family?

A: Savage. It makes a stronger country.

Q: Having one parent stay home is a choice made by a majority of parents. But your policy will penalize those parents.

A: Savage. They recognize that it doesn't suit everyone but it is like health care and a police force. It is for Canada. Lots of children don't have many benefits.

A: Finley. We aren't saying that daycare is bad we just want to help all parents make choices.

Q: In Quebec it helped the middle class, not so much those on a lower income. Why have a one size fits all? Why not target just those who really need help.

A: Savage. Programs for the poor are poor programs. We need a universal program. If we had people opting out of health care we would have lower quality care for the poor.

Q: How would it practically work?

A: Savage. We have worked on this. It has to vary from province to province as they have different needs in different areas.

A: Finley. The Conservatives all provinces are treated equally and given money based on population. The Liberals have said before that the UCC benefit was a waste of money.

A: Savage. We wouldn't have implemented it but we wouldn't take it away. We give money fairly but the provinces are given flexibility.

No comments:

Post a Comment