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Idea alert


 

Michael Ignatieff promises a national child care program.

The Liberals were in the midst of delivering on a $5-billion national child-care program before they were thrown out of power in the 2006 election. When Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives came to office, that program was abandoned, in favour of the $100-a-month cheques to Canadian parents known as the Universal Child Care Benefit.

Ignatieff said that if the Liberals are returned to government, that money will keep flowing to parents, but a national child-care program will also be phased in, as soon as the budget can handle it. “They give the money to families, fine. Anything that helps families is a good idea. But there aren’t the spaces. If you don’t create the spaces, families don’t have a choice. That’s what we’re saying.”


 

Idea alert

  1. "but a national child-care program will also be phased in, as soon as the budget can handle it."

    I guess that means never, right?

    • Liberals have been promising a national day-care program since 1993.

      Methinks they have a bit of a credibility issue on this issue.

  2. Will he qualify every promise he makes with "as soon as the budget can handle it" – meaning he has no intention of ever bringing forth this plan.

    If Ignatieff wants to make the deficit his issue to hammer the government with, raising the idea of more spending programs is not the right way to do it.

    • Well I imagine that when he says "as soon as the budget can handle it", he means that as soon as the budget can handle it.
      If it's something he never intends on doing then he likely wouldn't bring it up to begin with. But it does leave him a lot of wiggle room……..

      • You know, because politicians never promise anything they don't intend to deliver.

  3. Yep.

  4. Isn't this the same guy that claims Harper's spending is out of control? What are the projected costs of this program?

    • I think he said that it wopuld be something to be done when the budget could handle it. It was a $5 billion deal. All the provinces were onside, everything was in place to set up new daycare spaces.
      Then the Cons came to power and the deal went crapo.

  5. I wish someone would ask Iggy why, with residential school example of decades of abuse, we should trust government with our children even more than we do already.

    • Weren't the residential schools run by the churches?

    • That's completely absurd. My kid had the benefit of subsidized daycare/kindergarden and private owner operated. Neither was a problem in any way. To equate residential schools with current daycare is absurd and only serves to trivialize the folly of residential schools.

    • despicable.

      • Nothing wrong with droppin' them off on the way to work. Food in the House cafeteria
        is fairly cheap and good. But that circus at QP would disturb the pm naps. Wait … let
        the MP's nap and the kiddies do QP !
        I'm sure that's what jwl means by letting the gummint do it.
        I mean, otherwise he'd be silly, right ?

        • "QP would disturb the pm naps"

          As opposed to the present situation, where it disturbs the MP naps?

      • "Are you off your rocker?"

        Depends who you ask, I guess. I think people who send their kids to daycare with staff who don't really care about the children they are watching are off their rockers because study after study shows that kids do better at home with stay at home parent. And this comment is not directed at you SeanS because you are a stay at home dad, which I think is admirable.

        • "I think people who send their kids to daycare with staff who don't really care about the children they are watching are off their rockers…"
          Yeah someone's off their rocker ok. Have you ever set foot in a daycare, spoke to any of the staff? No…didn't think so. You'd rather read studies, probably written by idealogues like you how can't be bothered to test their preconceived notions in the real world.

        • Wow.
          In your world, does Canada's health care system also include death panels?
          Just asking.

          • Metaphorically speaking, yes it does. Death panels are how the government keeps health care costs from rising like they do in America.

          • Oh ok.

          • They're not called death panels. They're called regional health authorities. And treasury boards. And health technology assessment panels. And regional coordinators reporting to deputy ministers reporting to, well, you get the picture. We're spending mucho bucks on bureaucrats managing our not-enough bucks.

        • We agree on the virtue of people actually raising their own kids (and thanks for the kind words!).

          I just think it's an awfully long walk from church run residential schools for natives, to government funded daycare. While I know you're a radical libertarian, I would think the leap of logic is too tenuous and inflamatory for your comfort. It sure is for mine.

          • Lets say there is equal distribution of bad people in public/private sectors. In private sector, if abuse similar to what took place in residential schools, business would be shut down quickly and people would be in jail. In public sector, abuse is ignored for decades and the abusers die peacefully in their sleep after years of appalling behaviour. And then government opens a museum dedicated to the school system that it's supposedly sorry for.

            So I would like to know what advantages there are to government run daycare that outweigh what took place in residential schools and could easily happen again.

          • joylon – Actually the churches mostly ran residential schools. Private vs public has little or nothing to do with it. Our govts bear guilt because they should have been lookng out for these kids. And we as a society bear gulit because we basically stood by or even actively approved at that time. I don't particuarly approve of holding past generations to our present 'enlightened' standards, it's not fair, how o we know how we would have reacted in their place. Sorry, but 'private' business would likely have made the same errors at the time, which is the only logical way to view it. It's not fair to extrapolate from todays business ethic and claim that as some kind of proof of its superiority. You're probably right, govt run daycare at that time would have very likely have made the same mistakes.

          • "Actually the churches mostly ran residential schools … Our govts bear guilt because they should have been lookng out for these kids."

            That's convenient. The government cooked up the idea to assimilate native children and then funded this program for decades but it bears no responsibility for what occurred. Not only was the government not 'looking out for these kids' it was funding their abuse/abusers.

            Is saying paedophilia is wrong really 'holding past generations to our present enlightened standards'? When was paedophilia acceptable, exactly?

          • You really don't get it do you? Our whole damn society bears some responsibility since we are the govt, right. The policies of assimilation were popular in their day. The population largely acquiesced, as they always do in these sorts of situations. The govt couldn't have carried out this programme if the larger community hadn't approved. I did not say the govt should bear no responsibility – we did apologize, right. You might want to pretend it was only the govt's fault, but most reasonable would disagree.

          • and the good news is that you totally have not oversimplified or conveniently ignored any aspects of the actual reality surrounding residential schools is comparing apples and oranges. you 'it-all-boils-down-to-how-great-the-market-as-regulator-is-libertarians' are so vapid.

          • and the good news is that you totally have not oversimplified or conveniently ignored any aspects of the actual reality surrounding residential schools is comparing apples and oranges. you 'it-all-boils-down-to-how-great-the-market-as-regulator-is-libertarians' are so vapid, frankly.

    • The out of context application of residential schools as partisan propaganda is as disgusting a misappropriation of the tragic suffering of real people as i have ever seen. not cool.

  6. Why make hard choices between Option A and Option B? Just promise both! ("as soon as the budget can handle it", sometime in 2016 or later).

    • That's the year of balanced budgets, minus tax increases or spending cuts, or is it a few years earlier ? Harper's magical mystery tour continues…

    • Good to see you back. There have been gaps in the defense.

      • Thanks – I was traveling during the past two weeks, and I'm just catching up now. It's too bad that Kady is leaving us… now I'll have to visit CBC.ca for my parliamentary liveblogging fix!

        • What do you mean "Kady is leaving us"?! As in, leaving Maclean's? I sure hope not!

          • sorry to have to confirm Jack, but it is indeed so. very unfortunate.

          • sorry to have to confirm Jack, but it is indeed so. very unfortunate for macleans.

          • And very fortunate for CBC! I was not aware they had a blog, but now I know and will read at least Ms. O'Malley on a regular basis. I hope one won't have to deal with the CBC commenters, but I suppose it's necessary . . . must show solidarity with ITQ.

          • indeed Jack. huge win for CBC. hope the time away was good.

          • It was very eye-opening in terms of making me aware that there's a whole other world in South America that we never hear about — a sort of parallel universe, really, given that they're also new, immigrant, hybrid societies (with the exception of Bolivia) and have generally had the same sort of development; but they took different turns from us at various different places, so everything is slightly different while fundamentally familiar. E.g. Buenos Aires is much more European, but also more, well, third-worldy in the pace and commotion and sheer population (and the class divide, with extremes of poverty that exist only on the worst Reserves in Canada). Likewise, in terms of intellectual culture, Argentina and Canada share a profound connection with European culture but not so much with each other — we don't reckon with them, and they don't reckon with us; in terms of contemporary culture, they're almost as saturated with American culture as we are (something like 10 movie channels in our hostel, all showing Hollywood films with Spanish subtitles). So there's a lot to recognise and the differences are that much more noticeable; whereas with Japan or Thailand, for example, I'd wager the total effect would be so Other that it would be less disconcerting. Anyway, I could rattle on about this for a while, but the bottom line is that it's made me more conscious of what makes Canada Canadian — much more so than a trip to the States or Europe would have done.

          • It was very eye-opening in terms of making me aware that there's a whole other world in South America that we never hear about — a sort of parallel universe, really, given that they're also new, immigrant, hybrid societies (with the exception of Bolivia) and have generally had the same sort of development; but they took different turns from us at various different places, so everything is slightly different while fundamentally familiar. E.g. Buenos Aires is much more European, but also more, well, third-worldy in the pace and commotion and sheer population (and the class divide, with extremes of poverty that exist only on the worst Reserves in Canada). Likewise, in terms of intellectual culture, Argentina and Canada share a profound connection with European culture but not so much with each other — we don't reckon with them, and they don't reckon with us; in terms of contemporary culture, they're almost as saturated with American culture as we are (something like 10 movie channels in our hostel, all showing Hollywood films with Spanish subtitles). So there's a lot to recognise and the differences are that much more noticeable; whereas with Japan or Thailand, for example, I'd wager the total effect would be so Other that it would be less disconcerting. Anyway, I could rattle on about this for a while, but the bottom line is that it's made me more conscious of what makes Canada Canadian — much more so than a trip to the States or Europe would have done. And, needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone: for the moment, moreover, it's quite affordable.

          • very interesting Jack, and very happy yo hear that you had a great time. but a question nags then: what did it highlight that makes Canada Canadian?

          • The little things, really; and no comprehensive theory, just a series of "Ah, right — we're in Canada now, so . . ." E.g. — the traffic on Dundas St. moves quite slowly; the sidewalks here are very wide, not crumbling, and free of dog poop; everybody looks like they've showered; the coffee is really quite bad compared to almost any café in Buenos Aires; the buildings are almost all new, or the old ones are quite cheap (this might not apply in Quebec City); there's a general atmosphere of laid-back comfort; it's much colder (even allowing for the seasonal difference); etc. It's just curious to be plunged into an ordinary October day in Toronto, such as I would not distinguish from any other day, and find it full of significant details. I guess the main thing I'd note is that Buenos Aires and Toronto are almost exactly the same age — in the early 19th C both were small towns by today's standards; but here there's been a slow, steady climb towards relatively equitable prosperity, whereas BA has seen enormous prosperity and enormous downfalls in its time. From a policy point of view, my main takeaway was how lucky (or accidentally shrewd) we've been to avoid extremes: thanks to social programs, we managed to avoid the massive class conflict they had in the 1920's to 1960's, along with the big backlashes (fascism in the 1930's and 1970's, neoliberalism in the 1990's). Extreme populism and authoritarianism are each a recipe for crumbling sidewalks and shantytowns, and in spite of our poor coffee and lack of tango I'm glad, overall, that Canada's politics have avoided such extremes.

          • thanks Jack. sometimes slow and steady does win the race! we are quite lucky to have not eroded/screwed up our social programs more then we have. i would only be at odds with one of your statements. i nearly stepped in dog poop on the sidewalk on both queen west and spadina yesterday…we better be careful we are not losing our grip!

          • Welcome home Senor Mitchell!

            Alas, 'tis true. I will be reading ITQ as regularly as possible, but ain't no way I'm a-commenting over there. Besides, at last check, I found no opportunity for commenting on her live-ish blog of today's I-can't-believe-she's-not-an-ethics-commissioner Ethics Committee appearance.

  7. If the Liberals have been proposing a national child care plan since the '93 election, and manage to deliver on it in 2016, or whenever the budget is balanced (probably after that?), then we're looking at a 23 year+ gap between promise and delivery. An entire generation (or several) of children would be lost between then. Oh, think of the children! Won't somebody pleeeease think of the children?!!

    • Well, it would have been 12 years, as the Cons have been in power since 2006. Otherwise, everything was in place by the fall of 2005 until Harper came to power and killed it.
      It was a laudable goal in 1993, and I hate to use killing the deficit as an excuse for every Liberal inaction in the 1990's, but whatever the reasons for the delays all the ducks were only lined up by 2005.
      some of thsoe provinces can be defensive about their jurisdictions, ya know!

  8. Sigh, another solution in search of a problem.

  9. More like "Recycled Idea Alert" Aaron.

  10. I have no doubt that the majority of posters as of this post do not have children and have no idea what a properly funded ECE program can do for child development.

    • I have 4 children. Some of them went to Daycare (that's what we used to call ECE programs back in the day) and some of them did not. They have all developed as expected.

      I understand that some folks think government-run ECE programs would have 'developed' them better. I am sceptical. When you say you have "no doubt" about something, take an extra minute to consider whether you should.

      • There seems to be a little bit of comprehension issues here…I said what a properly funded ECE program _can_ do. And a proper ECE program is not comparable to something where an adult supervises a bunch of toddlers so that they don't kill each other (which is the extent of many daycare "centres").

        Are we on the same page now?

        It is not an issue of "developing them better". It is about developing our kids to their full potential which may or may not be possible through individual efforts. It is also a question of where more powerful capital resources lie in creating a proper environment, whether public or private. It is the same reason people invest in mutual funds: collective capital has more buying and investing power than individual capital. And that is the inherent advantage of the public purse over individual investment.

        Now, I don't know what your particular experience was with your children's daycare, and I am thrilled that your children developed "as expected". But I suspect there were valid reasons why you chose to have some of your kids go to daycare, and maybe if you had a more impressive experience with dedicated and proactive teachers, with an environment that allowed them to explore and to learn, you would feel differently.

        • And it's an issue of simply having day care available for parents who wish to work. Right now, the spaces are few and expensive.

          • Thus a terrific economic incentive for people to get into the daycare business.

          • Yeah, why not go into a business where your costs are high and the demand can't afford it. Solid conservative logic there.

        • Are we on the same page now?

          I don't think so. You're making imprecise claims about what an ideal system _can_ do and I'm talking about my experience raising children here in the real world. I was very happy with the daycare my kids received – obviously – as I would have quickly removed them from any situation which I was not happy with. My oldest son went to a private licensed facility with highly trained and dedicated Early Childhood Educators, and I paid for it. My daughter went to a Co-operative Nursery School for half days simply because she was lonely when her brothers went off to school and left her home alone all day, and I paid for that too. All of my kids were primarily raised by their mother and me. <Cont.>

    • Study after study shows that child development is best achieved through time with parents.

      Do you have any examples of 'properly-funded ECE programs' that achieve better results than children having a stay at home parent?

      • "Study after study"? That sounds convincing there jolyon…

        I am not arguing that they are better than a stay at home parent that is dedicated to educating their children.

        • I am skeptical about your ECE idea because this is what happens time after time: government gets the best teachers, gives them way more cash then needed and the kids selected for trial program are screened. Program is deemed a success after one or two years and then it's introduced nation-wide and it all goes to sh#t because there are now teachers of varying abilities involved, there is not enough cash to fully fund program across nation and the kids are not pre-screened so they are unknown variable in effectiveness of program in real world.

          Here are some studies for you:

          "According to an ongoing study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, Md., which has tracked more than 1,300 children in 10 cities since 1991, preschoolers who attend day care for a year or more have an increased chance of discipline problems through the sixth grade, regardless of sex, family income or the quality of the day care center. On average, the more time that a child spends in day care (especially as an infant or toddler), the more problems arise." Revolution Health Group, May '07

          "The more time children spent in child care from birth to age four-and-a-half, the more adults tended to rate them, both at age four-and-a-half and at kindergarten, as less likely to get along with others, as more assertive, as disobedient, and as aggressive, according to a study appearing in the July/August issue of Child Development." National Institutes of Health, July 2003

          • Lets add a little bit of context there, jolyon.. like the next paragraph from that Revolution Health Group article:
            "But the study, published in the March-April issue of Child Development, also found that high-quality day care attendance is linked to children's higher vocabulary scores through elementary school.

            'The takeaway message is that both the quantity and quality of child care do matter,' says Sharon Ramey, director of the Georgetown University Center on Health and Education in Washington, D.C."

            And then the sentences immediately after which you conveniently snipped from your NIH article:
            "However, the researchers cautioned that for the vast majority of children, the levels of the behaviors reported were well within the normal range.

            In fact, a mother's sensitivity to her child was a better indicator of reported problem behaviors than was time in child care, with more sensitive mothering being linked to less problem behaviors. Higher maternal education and family income also predicted lower levels of children's problem behaviors.."

          • Lets add a little bit of context there, jolyon.. like the next paragraph from that Revolution Health Group article:
            "But the study, published in the March-April issue of Child Development, also found that high-quality day care attendance is linked to children's higher vocabulary scores through elementary school.

            'The takeaway message is that both the quantity and quality of child care do matter,' says Sharon Ramey, director of the Georgetown University Center on Health and Education in Washington, D.C."

            And then the sentences immediately after where you conveniently snipped from your NIH article:
            "However, the researchers cautioned that for the vast majority of children, the levels of the behaviors reported were well within the normal range.

            In fact, a mother's sensitivity to her child was a better indicator of reported problem behaviors than was time in child care, with more sensitive mothering being linked to less problem behaviors. Higher maternal education and family income also predicted lower levels of children's problem behaviors.."

          • "But the study, published in the March-April issue of Child Development, also found that high-quality day care attendance is linked to children's higher vocabulary scores through elementary school."

            That's funny. I left that out on purpose because I thought people might react to my suggestion that daycare leads to well spoken hooligans.

            As always, the devil is in the details. I am willing to accept for the kids with the worst parents, daycare will help because parents aren't doing their jobs. However, the universal daycare that Libs want to implement will lead to me subsidizing Wolfgang and Jemima's babysitting costs so their upper middle class parents can make even more money then they already do.

          • "But the study, published in the March-April issue of Child Development, also found that high-quality day care attendance is linked to children's higher vocabulary scores through elementary school."

            That's funny. I left that out on purpose because I thought people might react to my suggestion that daycare leads to well spoken hooligans.

            As always, the devil is in the details. I am willing to accept for the kids with the worst parents, daycare will help because parents aren't doing their jobs. However, the universal daycare that Libs want to implement will lead to me subsidizing Tarquin and Jemima's babysitting costs so their upper middle class parents can make even more money then they already do.

          • Will it? Please show me where it says it will do this in the plan?

          • I was moaning about Harper and his cheques just recently somewhere here at Maclean's. All the parents of young children that I know personally have household income of at least one hundred grand per year and yet all the parents think they are entitled to these cheques.

            Do you really believe Iggy does not plan to make his national child-care program universal or are you just saying that for argument's sake? Other than who qualifies for welfare payments, does Canadian government do means-testing anymore? I assume Libs will make it universal because every other government program is. I can't imagine Libs pissing off entitled latte liberal/champagne socialist crowd they are courting by implementing means tested daycare.

            I can't but help think that Iggy is being rather cynical with this announcement because of Libs massive problem with declining support of women. He's going to try and woo women back to party with promises of daycare while using similar voodoo economics Cons are using – Cons are claiming the budget will balance itself over the next five years without tax increases or program cuts and now Iggy has trumped it by claiming their will be surpluses without tax increases or program cuts.

            Last week, Iggy laid out his green plan for Canada and now national daycare idea. I wonder if Libs will bother with their 'thinkers conference' now that Iggy is announcing his plans before the conference has had time to cook up new ideas.

          • Will it? Please show me where it says it will do this in the plan. Hell, just show me the plan that Ignatieff plans to implement.

            I see "a national child care program". No where do I see anything about this plan having universal application.

          • Will it? Please show me where it says it will do this in the plan. Hell, just show me the plan that Ignatieff plans to implement.

            I see "a national child care program". No where do I see anything about this plan having a universal application. And I'd actually agree that such a thing probably wouldn't be desirable. Oddly, the universal program I do see, which pays out whether you need it or not.. is the one by Harper's party.

          • Do you have kids? I don't know how anyone can define "worst parents" unless they think that there is a magic recipe for raising well-adjusted kids (i.e. they don't have 'em).

    • I have three kids. With the exception of the genuine working poor and single parents, I think childcare is the parents' responsibility – not society's. Waaay too many cases of people using government child care to facilitate big houses and nice cars.

      As for the development angle, I've yet to see a long term study that shows meaningful effects on adult happiness or success as a result of ECE. Showing me that a six year old does better on tests doesn't convince me of much.

      • Well that's exactly it. Daycare allows parents to do other things during the day, like, um, work. For the poor and single parents, there is frequently no option to earn income because there is no one to look after the kids.
        Maybe I'm wroing, but I don't think anybody suggested a national day care program so parents can stay home and watch TV in peace all day.

        • And I've got no problem with it allowing those to um, work, for those who NEED to um, work. But we're not talking about a targetted plan here. What we're talking about is people making babies, but not wanting to surrender one little bit of their affluent lifestyle. I've never had a problem with helping those in genuine need. But I've got a big problem supporting 3000 square foot homes with leather couches for people who expect society to pick up the tab for their kids.

          • "NEED" to work? "Affluent lifestyle"?? Isn't that a bit subjective?
            If I get your point, I think that field has been plowed before; daycare disproportionately benefits those who need but otherwise would not have had access to it.
            And wasn't that a big part of the impetus for the 2005 programme – that there simply weren't the spaces to be found, whether one could pay or not – a problem completely missed by the Conservatives ersatz daycare plan.

          • I've yet to see data suggesting the bulk of those benefitting from extra daycare spaces would be low income and single parents. Because it's only a vote winner if it makes the middle classes happy. And they don't need day care spaces. They need to think about their priorities a bit.

            If private, unfunded daycare exceeds one of the incomes in the household, then it probably makes more sense to have one of the couple stay home (though in some cases it makes sense to keep the career alive, even though it's a temporary money loser). But that requires the maturity to understand that we're not owed a house full of kids AND two careers AND lots of cash flow.

          • Maybe I'm missing something here. It seems like everybody is talking about a universally accessible plan. I've yet to see any indication that this is what Ignatieff is intending.

          • I have trouble imagining anything else under the Liberal banner. But you're quite right, we're assuming…

            Are you aware of any other strategies that have currency these days? (Honest question!)

          • With respect to child-care? Nope. But then again, it's not like we don't have a wide variety of programs with means testing to look at when designing a national child-care plan. Of course the easiest way to administer it would be to have it accessible only for those on social services of some sort.

            Another way to go, which I'd prefer, is have it be free up to a certain income limit, and after that charge them $.50 for every $1 above the limit they make until they're paying the full cost or move their child elsewhere.

      • Waaay too many cases of people abusing the system? Right.

        Childcare is the parents' responsibility. Absolutely. But there comes a time in your child's development where they seek to interact with other kids, and where educationally the things you have at home are not enough. What then? Who has to address this at your home?

        I would guarantee that if there was a top-notch childcare/ECE program that were available for a nominal fee, every mother would seek it out and put their kids in once in a while.

        • As a stay at home father, thank you for excluding my voice.

          Educational things? Tell me what magical things they possess at these centres?

          As for interacting with other kids, may I humbly suggest play dates, the neighbourhood park, the library, or simply organizing a parent-kid morning at the local community centre/church/hall (as happens in many places already).

          Why do calls for universal daycare always get muddied with this stuff? People want it so they can keep working full time jobs. The rest is rationalization.

          • Spare me the drama, queen…I apologize for forgetting to mention the stay-at-home dads…

            My kids did wood-working, clay, dress-up dramas where they directed stories, science experiments, cooking muffins and cookies, firehall visits, as well as doing the things that you do. They also learned how to express their feelings and emotions, and learned conflict resolution in the process which didn't amount to pounding the crap out of each other.

            There is nothing wrong with the things you've suggested, but the question in my mind is why you think they would not benefit if they had the opportunity to be exposed to more.

        • I would guarantee that if there was a top-notch childcare/ECE program that were available for a nominal fee, every mother would seek it out and put their kids in once in a while.

          How do you explain the people who choose to keep their children out of the existing public school system even though it's available to them for free?

          • Huh?

            The public school system at least has standards that must be met. On the whole the public school system provides a solid learning environment.

            Daycares have no such standards. The limit in daycare is the accessibility of high-quality spaces where you do not fear for the welfare of your child. Lots of people simply do not have the choice.

            Private schools (semi- or fully-) provide something else that appeals to the desires of the particular parents which may or may not overlap with the standards in the public system.

          • You were proposing that people would use an ECE system if it existed. In fact your were giving your guarantee.

            I simply pointed out that a comparable education system already exists – in the public school system – and yet some folks refuse to use it at all. In short, I was trying to point out that your guarantee is not an actual argument, it's simply an assertion. Or perhaps, if you prefer, it's a strong assurance.

    • I don't have children. But I don't see how thats relevant to another $5B of government spending on something that we really don't need as a country. Would it be nice for some people? Of course, and it would probably help some people. But buying me a Porsche would also do wonders to cure my depression. Doesn't mean the government should get involved though.

    • Well I have two children under 10 and they "survived". We were able to find spaces without much difficulty. The issue was more finding space for under 2's than over 2's.

      As for what what an ECE program can do….well, you would have to lay that out. But I hve no doubt that a cadillac daycare program can boost some measures. At the end of the day how much is genetics, how much is the home environment and how much is the time the spend at school at that age.

      And we arent even going to get into the concept that this is education and not even the federal government responsibility.

  11. The Liberals were in the midst of delivering on a $5-billion national child-care program before they were thrown out of power in the 2006 election.

    They were?

    Don't you just love the media when they provide the narrative… Kinda like that Kelowna Accord that was thiiiiis ><close to being implented when the Huns overthrew the peaceable kingdom.

    • 10 deals with 10 provinces is most certainly "in the midst of delivering", no?

      • No.

        "In the midst" means in the middle. Whatever stage of planning you're in, planning is not delivering. Even in the very late stages of planning, you're not even at the beginning of the delivery phase, let alone the middle.

        You can get 10 provinces to agree to accept money from the feds on any weekday morning before 10 am. No money was delivered, so far as I know there wasn't even an outline for how to proceed.

        Or perhaps there was… can you provide a pointer to 1or 2 of these 10 deals that sets out the agreement.

        • There was a heck of a lot more in place than Harper's "90% committed"! ;-) And certainly much much further along than Say Anything's promise to deliver 125,000 day care centres.

          In the midst of delivering means exactly what it says: in the midst of delivering the program. The agreements with the provinces were there, they were uneven in that there was different levels of detail depending on the province, different timelines for performance. But the part of the federal government was basically all done and the criteria had been set for the provinces in order for them to receive the day care money.

          You can argue whether it was exactly halfway there or if half the job was done or not, but, yes, in the midst of delivering the program is a fair general assessment of where they got to.

          • You can argue whether it was exactly halfway there or if half the job was done or not,

            No thanks, I'll let you argue it if you wish.

            My point was that the claim, as written, was an absurd misrepresentation of the true state of affairs. You dispute Harper's claim of 90% committed, and you're certainly entitled to dispute it if you wish. I'd just point out that Harper is making (questonable?) representations about his own government, whereas Susan Delacourt is making quite ridiculous claims on behalf of a former government.

            What's her interest in misrepresenting the thing?

          • You can argue whether it was exactly halfway there or if half the job was done or not,

            No thanks, I'll let you argue it if you wish.

            My point was that the claim, as written, was an absurd misrepresentation of the true state of affairs. You dispute Harper's claim of 90% committed, and you're certainly entitled to dispute it if you wish. I'd just point out that Harper is making (questionable?) representations about his own government, whereas Susan Delacourt is making quite ridiculous claims on behalf of a former government.

            Harper's motive is clear enough, he's defending his government's performance. But what's Delacourt's motive?
            What's her interest in misrepresenting the thing?

          • BS. If 3/4 of the work is front end load, and 2/3 of that front end planning is done, then 50% (approx) of the job is completed.

    • You didn't know that Canada would be the happiest place in The Whole Universe – if only Liberals ran the government 100% of the time? You must be an uneducated Reformaconbotnazi from Calgary.

      • I am not from Calgary. Although I have been there a few times, I'll admit.

        But I didn't inhale.

  12. My wife and I receive the $100/month cheques. When they first started, we got a letter from Diane Finley telling us it was her "personal pleasure" to send us the child care benefit….as though she was helping us out of her own pocket.

    It's not her "personal" anything. It's her god damned job as a Minister of the Crown. If anything, the letter should have said 'The Government of Canada is pleased to…" or something.

    This is the same the cheques, and EAP signage, and the TV spots, and the $108,000 mock forum: nothing less than the partisan hijacking of the functional role of government.

    • Not to mention "The HarperGoverment' plastered all over the country. When did he buy it off of us?

  13. Poor Iggy : I imagine it must be hard to get a press mention what with plummeting numbers at the polls, the recent backtrack from Your Time Is Up Harep (ROFL)… as he has just announced he will not put forth a non confidence motion on his opposition day (surprise, surprise) and the only headlines pundits want right now are ones with gianormopus ceremonial cheques and anything from Hilliers book release – whats a poor opposion leader have to do to get his name in the papers anyways?

  14. Why do we need this? What happened to the 125,000 new childcare spaces the Tories were going to create???

    Oh, right…

    • Did the CPC actually say that they would create those 125,000 spaces? My recollection is that they only suggested that the allowance would "lead" to the creation of those spaces – the invisible hand would do the actual work of creating the spaces.

      • That was, indeed, plan A, until they went to plan B) which was "give the provinces just enough money to keep their current spaces running, and hope everyone forgets we ever mentioned 125,000 new spaces at all".

        To me though, whether you say, "We will create 125,000 new spaces", or "We will create conditions that will lead to the private creation of 125,000 new spaces", if no spaces are actually created, then you failed. It's all well and good to say "the government doesn't need to do this, private industry will do it if we just give them incentives". However, once private industry refuses to take you up on the incentives you offer ('cause they're not interested in running a childcare business on top of their primary business) then given that the problem you said someone else would fix still isn't fixed, doesn't it still need to be fixed?

        So sure, the government's plan for creating 125,000 new spaces was "someone else will do it". Well, no one did, so is there a new plan?

        • So we distributed almost $4 billion in each of 2006 and 2007 and no one knows how many day care spaces the invisible hand created? Doesn't seem very accountable.

  15. And once the budget can allow for it, the liberals were ensure that every Canadian female under the age of 6 has her very own pony.

    The liberals will also plant magic beans that will grow into magical plants that will remove all of the excess CO2 from the air, solving the climate change crisis, and allowing Canada to sell carbon credits. Profits from carbon credits will allow us to pave the streets with gold and cut income tax. The senate however, will remain unreformed.

    • Regular beans will grow into regular plants, also consuming CO2; no need to use the magical variety.

  16. Yeah, cripes, the guy is forced to offer a program that many Canadians need, he wants attention so badly.

    A guy's gotta have his pic in the paper, and there's more ways than just handing out big fake cheque with phony signatures,, right?

  17. You conservatives are hilarious. You're always bitching about people on welfare. Well, one way to get more single parent families out in the workforce is to create more daycare spaces. Not that it wouldn't be a good idea to convince folks that single family life is very tough, and to be avoided if at all possible. I don't support the idea of blanket susidies al la Quebec, as you wind up with the predictable result that middle class parents, some of whom can afford daycare, hog the lot. There's nothing wrong with finding creative ways to open up more spaces. For this you need govt to lead,as the plan to have business supply the spaces went nowhere quickly.

    • Well if I were a creative single mother in desperate need of income and daycare, I might think about opening a day care of my own, and charging others for the service. Sadly, it doesn't seem that the demand for these spots is quite as bad as some would make it seem. I believe Ricky would call that "getting two birds stoned at once".

      • Good for you. So now that you've somehow managed to come up with the money to certify yourself as a reasonable childcare provider and not a paedophile, changed your home so that it meets the safety standards that we demand of people who provide care to multiple children, perhaps somehow found a way to add an addition on to your single room rental apartment so that you have the physical capacity to house more than one child, you have to find some way to charge people who are in about the same state as you enough so that you can afford to take care of their children on top of your own burden, and hope that they all have enough money to be able to pay the extra money to put their children in an unknown, unadvertised daycare.

        I see you've thought about these issues deeply.

    • kcm should stick to name-calling—-that is where his true talent is. The moment he attempts logic—total failure.

      • Diddums poor baby William. If you go back to the site where i called you an idiot you'll find[ or should] an apology. You were right, i was wrong. You can go back to sucking your thumb now…damn…did it again.

      • Funny. i always thought kcm was a girl.

        • Funny…i always thought you were moderately intelligent.

          • i do think of myself as moderate, even if a tad to the middle right. i am most certainly not a social conservative. as for intelligent, I'll leave that to others to determine. i guess i have your vote. Thanks for the moderate part.

            By the way, i didn't mean it as an insult that i thought you were a girl, it's just that everytime i read your posts that was the image that came to me. sorry if it offended you.

          • Oh dear, i had hold of the wrong end of the stick yet again. No need to apologize – my bad. That's twice i've had to apologize on this thread…gulp.
            For what it's worth i was clearly underestimating your intelligence i'm sure.

      • Suck it up buddy.

        And since you're so brill, I'm sure it won't need to be pointed out to you that you are condemning ad hominem arguments with….an ad hominem argument.

        • Thankyou. Your response was certainly one i wish i could live up to more often. Love your gravitor – great film.

  18. well done – especially the pony and ending with the senate

  19. Will the ponies be to make up for the fact that the Cons have injected all the little girls with guardisil, so they can be "safely" sexually active at 10 and, fingers crossed, not "get" cancer?

    • Okay, you took the joke too far. Guardisil is awesome and HPV sucks. No need to criticize and politicize a good policy decision.

      • Ahhh, hit a sore spot, eh? So why DID you bring ponies for girls under age 6 into the discussion if you couldn't handle the guardisil comment?

        Guardisil will be the nightmare of our future women. There is no long term work done on it. Mark my words, it's a dire mistake — why are experimental drugs always directed at females in the guise of good health?

  20. Costs are way up ($40 or more a day, generally) and families are forced on to very long waiting lists. They are forced to pay for their children during the times they take vacation, or risk losing their spot.

    By creating more spaces – which is a critical part of any plan – costs will be driven down as a result of healthy competition. But right now, the marketplace isn't providing what is needed; ero, the government must step in and create the child care infrastructure that is needed.

    And yes, as KCM points out, this will also help solve the poverty and welfare issues facing us by making work more valuable again.

  21. "For this you need govt to lead,as the plan to have business supply the spaces went nowhere quickly."

    It's almost as if we're totally overestimating the actual demand in the marketplace for daycare spaces.

    • Exactly. Listen to the Libs and you come away with impression that there are tens of thousands of moppets just looking for a spot at daycare but businesses are too dim to see opportunity.

      I also like kcm's suggestion that we turn to government bureaucrats for creative ideas. I often wonder what world liberals live in when they come up with nonsense like that because bureaucracies are famous for many things but innovative is not one of them.

    • "It's almost as if we're totally overestimating the actual demand in the marketplace for daycare spaces."

      Exactly. Listen to the Libs and you come away with impression that there are tens of thousands of moppets just looking for a spot at daycare but businesses are too dim to see opportunity.

      I also like kcm's suggestion that we turn to government bureaucrats for creative ideas. I often wonder what world liberals live in when they come up with nonsense like that because bureaucracies are famous for many things but innovative is not one of them.

      • Obviously the creative ideas would come from owner operators or not for profit groups…yo know like people. cons like you just can't be bothered to think outside of their idealogical box. And for the record, if i were to see any conclusive evidence that daycares are in fact bad for our kids i'd do what intalligent folks do all over the world – change my mind.

    • Actually the govt's plan failed because businesses were not [rightly] at all interested in getting into the business of daycare. I hav'n't heard that it had any thing to do with lack of demand. in my experience many parents were looking and not finding enough spaces. Of course this is just anecdotal evidence.

      • Just a thought–have you guys looked at what a qualified ECE gets paid these days?

        My daughter went through two years of college to get her papers, made just a touch over minimum wage, and finally quit three years later to take a higher paid entry level position at a bank. No training required.

        Spaces can't open up until we make it worthwhile for ECE workers. I don't know anyone who receives the $100 credit who also requires daycare for their children, but I gather that money didn't flow into the daycare's hands. Or, if it did the daycare owner didn't see fit to raise the salaries of his/her employees. The simple fact is that if we want safe and enriching daycare experiences, we have to pay the people who provide it. I'm not convinced that means we need universal, free daycare, but I do think we need a better business model than the one currently used.

        I am very sure we don't need both a $100 cheque to pay for daycare, plus some form of subsidized daycare.

    • Interesting assertion. Anything to back it up?

      Did you ever perhaps think that the demand might be there but not by people who can afford the costs to supply, and that $100/month doesn't make up that gap?

      The market does not provide what people need.
      It provides what people want and can afford. That latter clause is crucial.

      • "Interesting assertion. Anything to back it up?"

        $1200/year would bridge the gap for alot of people yet there appears to be no new daycare spaces. Therefore, those people don't really want daycare spaces (or else they would pay for them). You may have a point about people stuck with low incomes who may want, but are unable to afford a daycare space, but then why are the Liberals pushing a universal solution that is only a problem for a fraction of parents? It's hugely wasteful.

        • Using the exact same evidence you have: No. It wouldn't bridge the gap.

          • You see, Thwim. Not everybody earns the same amount of money. Some earn more and some earn less. If we are to assume that there is this pent up demand for daycare but it's just so expensive that people can't afford it, then some people would be much closer to having the funds available to put there child in daycare. Now, if we were to give those people money, that extra money would put some of those people over the top and they would register there children in daycare which would result in an increase in spaces as daycares expanded to meet demand. However, that didn't happen because that demand was never really there to begin with.

            Now, how about you explain to me how $2 billion dollars can create no daycare spaces but $5 billion dollars can create a universal ECE program where anyone who wants can put there child into daycare? If my math is right, that works out to $5 extra a day. $5 that parents weren't willing to pay out of their own pocket. Where's the evidence for that $5 being the difference between universal childcare and nothing?

          • First, I'm curious where you get the "anyone who wants" meme, because I haven't seen that anywhere except from people wanting to discredit the idea. Personally, if such a program is developed, I hope there's some sort of means testing.

            Second, you've perhaps heard of economies of scale? By concentrating capital you can create far more leverage with it than you can with the same amount of capital spread out all over the place, even if in the end it's all used for the same thing (which we can be pretty much assured that it won't).

            IE, I can't have a daycare built for $1200/yr. Neither can you. Neither can 498 others. But put that all together and suddenly you've got over half a million dollars.. and that *can* build a daycare. But it needs to be applied in an organized, focused manner in order for that to happen. Spreading it around over the populace doesn't do that. Even if every single recipient uses it solely for child-care.

          • But the economy of scale doesn't exist. If it did private investors would have built these large-scale daycares you speak of years ago and the cost of daycare would drop down to costs in the range Ignatieff is proposing (about $250/month apparently). The conclusion is that the concentration of parents desiring to put there children in these daycares is too low and the end result will be a ballooning of the cost estimates of the Liberal plan.

          • It doesn't exist right now, because there's no organization or focused drive being applied to the money. It's too spread out and can't leverage the economies of scale that it can produce.

            You're thinking of economies of scale simply in the terms of "factories that produce lots can lower their costs", but you're not thinking of how. How they do this is by going to their suppliers and saying "Look, I can give you a whole boatload of money, but I need you to give me something more than you're giving those small-fry there." Even though the small-fry may provide total orders greater than the one big guy, it's the big guy that gets the better price, because his money is organized. He can leverage it.

            Same type of principle applies. 500 people with $1200 a year is small-fry. Not enough to entice a developer who has to get everything organized, make sure they all pay, etc, etc. One group with over half a million? Now that's something feasible to do a deal with.

          • "Same type of principle applies. 500 people with $1200 a year is small-fry. Not enough to entice a developer who has to get everything organized, make sure they all pay, etc, etc. One group with over half a million? Now that's something feasible to do a deal with."

            If this were even remotely true then Walmart wouldn't exist. $600 000 for 500 spots is the same whether one person sends you 500 children for $600 000 or 500 people send you 1 child each for $1200. And if the developer was going to increase the price on the 500 individuals to increase their profit, then another developer would step in and offer a lower price. It's not as if there are high barriers to entry in this field.

          • Yep. That $1200 covered perhaps 25% of my kid's daycare costs, at best – about one day a week. And i was able to get fairly affordable DC – outside of the city in other words. The Tory programme helped to fix an inequity between those who choose to stay home and folks like me – no problem. But it created further inequities between those who got a tax break for it and those that didn't. i don't know if they have fixed this?

  22. You see your mistake there, LKO?

    You have assumed that, just because Say Anything Steve promised something, he had any intention whatsoever to actually fulfil that promise.

    No one has broken more promises than Say Anything in such a short period of time.

    • So you're saying that childcare spaces are in fact being created? Without a $5B government program? Shocking!

      • I cannot speak to the aggregate. But I met a few when we our children were in that bracket.

        As for it being 5 Billion……that would be an annual figure and doesnt account for the ineveitable strikes etc as the unionized workforce decide they need parity with elementary school teachers.

        Its one of thise things that sounds nice at the 100,000 foot level. Until you can lay out the multiple quantum of benefits to this program and the reasons it should be government funded AND delivered it is a big barell of molasses.

        Will you ban high end care, or cadillac plans
        Will you ban private day care, like health care
        Who sets the content of this wonderfully high end care
        Who is buying all the equipment, year after year
        What certification will be required, if it is over and abpove today, where will all these workers come from if they dont exist today
        What other insurance liabilities is the government taking on by running the program, injury, pedoephiliia or other abuse etc.

        What benefit in terms of growing brains do we get to justify the enormous expense and ruining of private businesses.

        • They don't have to publicly fund and deliver it. That's a canard. No reason it can't be a mix of govt, not for profit and private. If that's Ignatieff's plan i wont support it.

      • A creative single mother in desperate need of both income and daycare probably doesn't live in a single family home with a large fenced yard. So okay, you take your kids to some pokey apartment in a not-very-secure building. Now, this single mother needs income, so how many kids can she get into the two bedroom apartment? Six plus her own? Great, so you will be paying lets say $80/week (minimum wage plus $80/week for food) Or you could probably pay even less if you agree not to claim it on your income tax–yeah, that old underground economy is a great thing! And sure, when your kid comes home scraped and bruised because he got into a fight with another kid/fell off the dresser/thought he'd try the old fork in the electrical outlet thing she will surely apologize and tell you, sincerely, she is doing her best to look out for them all.

        This is definitely the answer we've been looking for. Good job, guys.

        • Actually it's 5 plus your own. Sounds like a functioning market to me. Daycare is bad, parent(s) pulls kid out, daycare fails. Daycare grosses about 40K a year with a smallish overhead. No regulatory burden unless it exceeds 5 plus own- then you get into the Day Nurseries Act which is a complete pile of gobbledigook (sp?) 900 pages of regulations and maybe 6 people in the province to police it…t'would be the same at the federal level.

  23. Pretty pathetic and predictable Conservative response. Harper's plan was an abject failure, not only did it NOT create the 125K spaces it promised, it actually cost MORE than the Liberal program would have had we voted them in in 2006. There always seems to be money fro great big cheques but heaven forbid we actually do something for Canadians that is progressive and actually effectual to the issue at hand…..and it would be kind of like ignoring the elephant in the room to not qualify any spending announcements given Harper's spending spree as of late.

  24. As soon as the budget can handle it I want a big increase in my monthly CPP cheque. There are more of us than there are little kids and we vote. Moreover, I asked my son and he said as long as I supply the daycare for the grandkiddies he doesn't give a g'dam whether the money goes to those who vote or those too young to vote. it's my money and I want it first. And if you think this is greedy, there is a simple answer. Don't vote for parties promising to spend your money on their priorities, not your priorities. Bottom line. If this is part of Iggy's platform, he loses my vote.

  25. As soon as the budget can handle it I want a big increase in my monthly CPP cheque. There are more of us than there are little kids and we vote. Moreover, I asked my son and he said as long as I supply the daycare for the grandkiddies he doesn't give a g'dam.. whether the money goes to thsoe who vote or those too young to vote. it's my money and I want it first. Anf if you think this is greedy, there is a simple answer. Don't vote for parties promising to spend your money on their priorities, not your priorities. Bottom line. If this is part of Iggy's platform, he loses my vote.

    • Yes, that is a very good idea. Let us raise the CPP premiums and then raise the CPP benefits. Let us take the tax money otherwise affected by RRSPs, corporate pensions that seem lately never to pay out anyway, etc. and put that into CPP benefits. It may not help you or I, TwoYen, but it might help those coming along behind us.

    • Oh please.. Ignatieff is as likely to lose your vote as Harper is to lose mine.

      Hint: You can't lose what you never had.

      • you'd be surprised at how often i have voted Liberal in my life. but then again maybe i was a slow learner. i didn't have access to early learning. perhaps i could take advantage of that daycare money to help me fill my days.

  26. I don't know if it was prearranged (it didn't seem to be given the unpredictability of youngsters), but the CBC film of Ignatieff at the day-care centre today when all the kids piled in to give him hugs will be something Harper will no doubt try to duplicate sooner rather than later.

    And, OT, but QP seemed somewhat odd today given that none of the government answers included their usual attacks on the opposition. What's up with that?

    • Gee, I thought that was a picture f Ignatieff with his new set of policy advisers.

  27. Just another income redistribution plan. The Libs want to spend our money, this time their excuse is they want to control the children. I can already see the favouritism – Lib supporters will get the good spots close to their homes, others will remain on waiting lists. People with older children and people with no children will have their pockets picked so that the government can buy the votes of people with young children.

    • And what does Harper's $100/month do but subsidize those who stay at home? While having the added Conservative bonus of doing NOTHING to provide daycare spaces for those who need it?

      • It does not subsidize those who stay at home, it goes to all parents, regardless of whether they stay at home, whether they pay for daycare at a facility, or whether they pay their neighbours for daycare.

        • Tell me, s_c_f…how much daycare does $100/month provide?

          • $100 towards your total monthly daycare bill.

          • $100 towards your total monthly daycare bill. If you think $1200 per year is peanuts, please send me a cheque for $1200.

          • $100 towards your total monthly daycare bill. Why do you think daycare grows on trees?

          • $100 towards your total monthly daycare bill. If you can't do the math, that's $1200 per year.

    • It's opinions like the ones you've just expressed that make me wonder if any sort of progress in our society is still possible.

      • Yes it is, because, thankfully there is only one of you around.

        On the one hand, you moan about pork, on the other hand, you whine for more pork. This time it's daycare pork you're looking for.

      • Yes it is, because, thankfully, there is only one of you around, and additionally, the NDP will never win a federal election. So there is lots of room for progress.

        On the one hand, you moan about pork, on the other hand, you whine for more pork. This time it's daycare pork you're looking for.

        • Wrong as you so often are sf.
          I'm not a dipper, although that's none of your business. I don't support fully subsidized daycare and do think that those who can pay should pay. What's more i've said a number of times i didn't think the stimulus idea was all that great. I don't believe i insult all the commentators, not even you all the time. But then your comprehension skills are sometimes lacking.

          • I don't care if you're a dipper and I never said you were. One thing is for sure I won't be looking to you for comprehension skills. If you start making sense, I'd be shocked.

            I'm just glad there's only one of you, and I really don't care what policies you happen to favour, there's certainly no logic to any of it.

          • "I'm just glad there's only one of you, and I really don't care what policies you happen to favour, there's certainly no logic to any of it."

            Snap!!

          • I don't care if you're a dipper or not and I never said you were. One thing is for sure I won't be looking to you for comprehension skills. If you start making sense, I'd be shocked.

            I'm just glad there's only one of you, and I really don't care what policies you happen to favour, there's certainly no logic to any of it.

      • Yes it is, because, thankfully, there is only one of you around, and additionally, the NDP will never win a federal election. So there is lots of room for progress.

        On the one hand, you moan about pork, on the other hand, you whine for more pork. This time it's daycare pork you're looking for.

        Are you done insulting all the commenters on this page?

  28. As soon as the budget permits it I too want something – doesn't matter what anything will do just consider me a liberal bagman or a backroom boy and top up my envelope please! Please sir may I have some more –

    • Er…it's your party that's spending this $60 billion right now, isn't it…oh damn. Meant t say your govt. Wonder how i could have made that error???

  29. Hey I'm with you, to a point.
    I don't have kids and I resent the way that people who do are heavily favoured /subsidized by the state, especially in the public service (paid leave, position held for you, and Harper's ridiculous $100 a month spend-it-on-whatever-you-want-daycare plan.
    But, apprently, a national daycare program would have alleviated a lot of the ills of society, particularly people caught in the poverty trap whereby they can't get out of the poorhouse until they get a job, but they can't get a job until they have someone to look after the kid.
    I agree with the middle class milking it (on MY tax dime), but to kick that I'd rethink the publicly paid maternity leave etc.

    • Just to be clear – I'm very much in support of child care for those who really need it (we can talk about individual responsibility all we want, but in the meantime there's real kids and real families to contend with).

      But the programs put forth by the Liberals are best suited to white-collar workers (whereas part-time, shift work, variable hour jobs are often the lower rung ones, and aren't amenable to regular child care), and I'm betting most of those spots wouldn't even be utilized by those in genuine need.

      If there's one thing I could suggest, it would be a system of income splitting (for taxation) for couples where one stays at home. Such a plan would recognize the work of stay at home parents, and go a long way toward helping the working poor survive on one income while raising children.

      • Yes, that is a great solution. It wouldn't do anything for single parent families however, and I suspect a large proportion of those families are ones in need of help.

        • Mainly in jest, I wonder if a few marriages might be saved if there were more benefits to staying married (I know all single parent families didn't start out as marriages.)

          I think it's far better to ask what single parents need, for example, than to advocate universal daycare. Because I'm certain we can provide more focussed and effective supports when we identify those who need help, and what particular form such help ought to take.

  30. It is not an issue of "developing them better".

    Many advocates of a national childcare system seem to disagree. Your argument instead seems to be an argument for economies of scale. With respect, I don't think that's a legitimate argument. Raising children – very young children in particular – is labour intensive not resource intensive. There is no better economic case than having a parent raise their own child. If you want to subsidize child-rearing, pay parents to stay home and raise them.

    <Cont.>

    • I don't necessarily disagree with what you've wrote here, but raising children is both labour and resource intensive. Access to more resources helps reduce the labour burden if only to collect all the learning tools that one would otherwise travel to into a singular environment and single space.

      My argument for economies of scale resides in the simple fact that things that have wonderful educational value are outside the buying power of individual families, and so pooling resources and sharing these things enables many families to utilize these educational tools. It is also inherently less wasteful.

    • For many families, a national system would provide a better learning environment. I don't know how you cannot see that. The analogous argument is with public health care.

      Raising children is both labour _and_ resource intensive. Access to more resources helps reduce the labour burden if only to collect all the learning tools that one would otherwise travel to into a singular environment and single space.

      My argument for economies of scale resides in the simple fact that things that have wonderful educational value are outside the buying power of individual families, and so pooling resources and sharing these things enables many families to utilize these educational tools. It is also inherently less wasteful.

      • "My argument for economies of scale resides in the simple fact that things that have wonderful educational value are outside the buying power of individual families"

        Can you be a little more specific? I can't think of any examples of educational tools that are beyond the reach of individual families, unless you're talking about telescopes or microscopes or supercomputers. In fact, I can't think of very many essential learning tools at all, except for books, crayons, blocks and cardboard boxes. We're talking about pre-schoolers after all. I think the single best thing for infants and toddlers is unstructered play. And the only thing that daycare does – out of necessity – is impose structure on children. Often out of zeal to "improve" them but just as often, and more practically, because it's the only way to maintain the 8:1 or 10:1 child/adult ratio that your economies of scale demand.

  31. … maybe if you had a more impressive experience with dedicated and proactive teachers, with an environment that allowed them to explore and to learn, you would feel differently.

    You are making assumptions that are not supported by the facts. I was never unhappy with the daycare I experienced. I simply don't believe that a government-run daycare system – or a private daycare system – or even the blissfully perfect daycare system you've envisioned – can exceed the experience of being raised by your own parents. It's not a question of raising the next generation of superior human beings – developed to their full potential – it's a question of raising happy, healthy, well-adjusted human beings who you wouldn't mind having over for dinner sometime.

    (Weird that I had to cut that up into 3 pieces, it's not even particularly long-winded.)

    • I've got 2 kids who have gone through a university childcare system within the past 6 years where every center is led by an ECE, and we've had the luck of having a few M. Eds guide our kids' development. One more is now going through the system at under 2 and is thoroughly benefitting from the experience. All of our children have gone/are going through half-day programs because we do believe there is no substitute for the parent. There is no argument there.

      But frankly, there are parents who because of their economic status cannot indulge their children with attention, and where the TV and computer are a cheaper and easier substitute. There are also parents regardless of economic status who have no idea how to interact with their children because they are unaccustomed to living their life for anyone else but themselves. And there are some people who have never had the experience of being raised by a well-adjusted family, and so have no guide to base their child-rearing and can inadvertently continue the same crushing behaviours which to them are the norm.

      Not all parents are capable of knowing how to raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted human beings that you can invite for dinner, and no one knows until after the fact. And sometimes a third party can aid that development by revealing other ways to achieve that goal.

      If these kinds of programs that you and I seem to be happy with were standardized and regulated for all daycares, you would be in favour? Or do you view that as an unnecessary burden to society to provide quality education even at this young age?

  32. You Harper supporters would be on Iggy's back if he promised he would but can't take the truth that no money will be there right away.

    I have a girlfriend who is a family lawyer that specializes in domestic abuse………..she nearly goes crazy when the Con supporters are so shallow the believe that every parent knows better. She has some pretty sad cases – those beer and popcorn guys that spend their paycheque on booze and drugs and then goes home and beats up the wife and/or kids.

    • "She has some pretty sad cases." — Yes, and I'll be most of them already attend daycare, plus numerous other social interventions. There is a disconnect between what you suggest is the problem (by your example) and the "solution" of a National Daycare Program. Also — I do not believe Cons believe that "every" parent knows better — your assumptions are incorrect and your conclusions off the mark.

      • Boy are you one sick puppie. In fact here clients come from all walks of life – lawyers, doctors, plumbers, welfare, etc, etc. When I read your comment I asked her.. People with limited thinking like you make me sick.

        You are pathetic.

  33. The Red Book promised a nat'l child care "system" – we waited. Now, Iggy promises "when funds are available". More waiting. Kids can't wait. Clearly, children are not a priority for the Liberal government. Shockers. And btw, for an "educated" guy, Iggy seems to not get it: high quality early childhood learning and care IS education. Read the research: I'm sure the Leader still has a library card, or at least, an assistant, to check – several reputable websites, widely accessible to all, i.e., http://www.childcarecanada.org. Or, give Dr. Charles Pascal a call. Or Fraser Mustard. etc etc etc etc. November 20th (Int'l Child Day) is around the corner: Canada could/should put itself back on the int'l stage as champions for children. Because not only are our children "the future", they are right now. They have rights right now. They have needs right now. Investment in the early years is the only logical and value-added step that WILL produce results. Pay attention! Good grief-how much more evidence-based research does anyone need?

  34. This delivery of social programs is more properly done by the provinces. Quebecers seem to like the program they have, and good for them. If and when a provincial party here in Alberta campaigns for a Day Care plan, the voters will pass judgement. That is how it should be in every province.

    • Totally agreed that if a province wants to bankrupt itself subsidizing something for which demand will then instantly outstrip supply, it is up to that province to apply for equalization bailout. Or something.

      But, ahem, regarding Quebecers liking what they've got:

      http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Quebec+unfair

      • Heaven forbid our national govt – that is Canada, should propose something that a majority of Canadians may well want. Why do you persist in characterising this as a subsidized give-away. Almost all the pro posters here have expressed a wish that any programme be targeted or means tested. those who can pay should pay. If that's not what Ignatieff has in mind then he's likely to find little support for this programme.

        • One, it is a subsidized give-away. And B, it's a provincial function. Do you want the 1867 or the 1982 Constitution for your reading pleasure this evening? Perhaps both?

          • I couldn't give a monkeys if it's a provincial or federal function – if it's a demonstrably good idea. The constitution and charter are not mutually exclusive – except apparently in some conservative minds.
            As to subsidies…pah…we subsidize things all the time…it's just a question of whether it's a good and necessary use of taxpayers $ or not. Perhaps it would be better if we all went back to single earner families and raised our kids at home. But for good or ill that option is not available to most of us anymore.

          • I couldn't give a monkeys if it's a provincial or federal function…

            Thus doth the federal intrusion in provincial jurisdiction continue.

            Care to explain how the constitution and charter can be mutually exclusive in ANYONE's mind? Or are you inventing a conversation and I should leave you one alone?

          • What i had hoped o say in my flippant way was i don't really care if it's provincial or federal. I just hate the way juristictions inevitably become an excuse for doing nothng in this country.
            Since you raised the issue of the 1867 or 1982 constitutions as an either or proposition i thought it might be clever to point out that they aren't mutually exclusive – which i have no real idea is a true statement or not…so you got me there. – however it's fairly common knowledge, i think you'd agree, that many cons have no love for the latter one. Of course i shouldn't assume that includes you?

          • As the federal govt continues to poke its nose where it doesn't belong, and as more than just Quebec is getting in on the act of establishing overseas "missions," I wish I could actually see evidence of the constitution forcing various levels of government to stick to their own knitting.

            And I was in no way suggesting that the two acts are exclusive of one another, and I did not even mention the Charter (although it is of course a major piece of '82). I was just seeking to avoid unduly burdening your bedtime reading.

      • I also agree with this — with the additional point that daycare can also be provided by the private sector. I have read that there is no shortage of daycare space in Alberta, in part because parental subsidies are available for both public and private sector daycare programs. Other Provinces have legislation in place to handicap private daycares, hence the shortage — if there is a shortage (noone seems to have actual numbers on this.)

        • Alberta has a broad variety of subsidies, including subsidies for those working shiftwork (and if you've got Grandma sleeping over to solve your daycare issues, that counts for the subsidy). Personally, I never had a problem finding a good daycare, either in the Lower Mainland (BC), Calgary or Edmonton.

          Regarding overall daycare needs, are people forgetting that it is a SHORT-TERM need, i.e. full-time only required until child reaches school age, then part-time required only until the child is 12?

  35. I've made that mistake about gender on a number of occasions…funny that!

  36. I see why Iggy has been loath to actually offer specific policies.

    They're really, really bad.

    Back to the forest with more academic soft talk.

    • Actually, it would be nice if he gets some decent ideas from his upcoming Liberal THINK! conferences. Ok, ok, ONE decent idea…

  37. What Ignatieff fails to mention is that daycare for all kids to age 6 would cost $20 billion per year. We can’ t afford this without bankrupting government. What he fails to mention is that not everybody can use daycare anyway – and what about them? Those who live in rural areas, work odd shifts, those with high needs kids, multiply allergic kids or those with kids who are gifted may prefer and sometimes have to provide care that is more personalized to the child’s interests and skills. He obviously has no plans to fund those kids outside of daycare to the same level as the daycare option so what happened to democracy? The argument you need an empty chair funded by government in order to have the ‘choice’ to use it is flawed. First, we don’t fund an empty hospital bed for every person in case they get sick. We don’t fund an empty restaurant chair at the sushi garden for every citizen in case they may want sushi. It is fiscally unwise to fund what is not going to be used so the most efficient way to provide ‘choice’ is to fund children and then let parents set up the care style they want. If they want daycare, their money will flow to the daycare. If they want sitters or nannies, their money can flow that way. To fund only daycare is very dictatorial even- it tells you the one and only way you are allowed to raise kids.

    We need to only put LIberals back into power if they get off their hobby horse that defeated them. Universal daycare is a no-go. It is unfair, too costly, and it is undemocratic. Funding kids however is universal, fair and democratic.

    • It's definately going to be more of a challenge to meet the needs out there than Ignatieff imagines. It would be nice if our politicians taliked to as many people as possible to find out what their needs are before coming up with grand schemes. But let's at least see what their plan is before tearing it down. A credible study to see if demand is being met would be a good starting point. Although studies i would presume, are one thing there's not likely to be a shortage of.

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