Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Conservative Child Care Non-Plan

Cerberus today posted his thoughts on the upcoming battle to be fought over childcare. His post was in reply to a Tory blog-campaign to promote their childcare plan, and Cerberus asks all Liberals to join the war.

Given that the Conservatives' child care 'plan' targets new immigrants and rural Tories (both are groups where the women traditionally stay at home after giving birth to look after the kids), I thought I would post my thoughts too on this issue.

First, it's not just recent Asian, Muslim or rural Tories where the women stay at home. I know many progressive, European families where the women too have decided to stay at home, or let the grandparents care for the children while the mother goes back to work. The Tory childcare 'plan' would benefit them.

However, lost in all this talk about $1200, is the fact that Tory child care plan is not really a child care plan. It is a baby bonus. However, it does not provide a single child care space. Mr Harper's suggestion that giving tax incentives to companies who provide child care spaces has been tried out by Mike Harris before - not a single child care space was created in Ontario under that plan.

So the Liberals should ensure the battle they are fighting over child care is that its a battle between the Liberal's plan for creating child care spaces, and a Tory baby bonus. Let the Tories debate the pros and cons of the need for a baby bonus. Liberals should drill it into the debate that while they are offering a child care plan, the Tories are not.

My personal thought on this is that if you choose to have a child - you should pay for it. The state should not be subsidizing child care spaces directly. However, should you, as a mother, choose to get an education, or work and have to pay child care, or get a relative to look after your child, you should get some tax breaks. Similarly, there should be no baby bonuses, rather the mother's maternity leave should be extended to be two years. However, none of the parties' platforms reflect my views. Given that my choice is supporting a Tory baby bonus (of which there is really no need at this time, and which does not help the poor and is peanuts for the rich) or a Liberal childcare plan that will create child care spaces, I would have to support the Liberals.



Anonymous said...

Quebec daycare worker lets child sleep outside in the freezing cold.Quebec day care workers lock toddler in daycare centre alone because it was closing time at six oclock and the parents had not arrived yet.Police had to break the window to rescue the child.HIGH quality government daycare ,the liberal.,n.d.p. dream is worth fighting for.No Thanks

Anonymous said...

What childcare plan are you talking about? The transfer of funds to provinces like Manitoba who can use most of the money to hire union people instead of creating spaces for all of the 13% of kids who will be able to access the Liberal childcare program? Check out the facts. We're going to spend 10 billion dollars for 13% of all the kids in the country? I think the Liberals should get together with the NDP because both of you seem to think that big brother knows best. The state will look after your kids because you are not able to make those important decisions yourself.

wilson said...

""The state should not be subsidizing child care spaces directly. However, should you, as a mother, choose to get an education, or work and have to pay child care, or get a relative to look after your child, you should get some tax breaks.""

Excuse me, but that is the Cons. Childcare plan, you choose. So after having said that, you would choose the Liberal plan of giving the Provinces money for their general revenue account??

mezba said...

Anon@4.49: What rubbish. In day care if you are late they charge you highly. They don't throw the kids out.

Anon@7:58: We are spending money anyways on the Tory baby bonus plan - more than what the Liberals would spend in childcare. Number of spaces created under the baby bonus plan - 0. The 1200 dollars is peanuts for the rich, and would be taxed highly from the poor.

Wilson: The Cons plan is a baby bonus. They never mention about taxbreaks for mothers who want to work, rather its the Liberals who extended maternity leave (Chretien) or given tax breaks for baby sitting. The Provinces will not use this money for anything - it has to go towards creating childcare spaces.

Anonymous said...

You are wrong on the tax to the poor. The poor won't be paying tax under the Conservatives. Also you fail to mention that the Conservative plan WILL create many more spaces in the corporate world where working mothers can make use of them.

mezba said...

I wish those who have the conviction of their beliefs (even if they disagree with me) to post under their own name, not under 'Anonymous'. Anyways ...

The corporate day care tax break has been tried by Mike Harris before. Not a single space was created.

Emil Vargas said...

Not everyone agrees on a bureaucratic, state-run health care system. All it'll turn into is a big waste of money with no end in sight. I shouldn't pay for a big government program for people to have sex and get pregnant. The Liberal plan starts off small but when people complain there aren't enough spaces then another 10 billion will need to be added to the system. And it will just keep growing. Quebec is the perfect example. I watched a CBC report where their program has tripled in cost in like 4-5 years and there are only a certain amount of spots. If provinces want a day care program let them pay for it. Its not the federal gov.'s responsibility. Child care is not a human right like you Liberals want us to believe the definiton of marriage is. I prefer the Tory plan of money direct to parents and private companies getting tax breaks for cheap child care. We should only have child care for those who are very poor, not for the whole population.

mezba said...

Hi Emil,

Perhaps you and I both already agree that childcare is not a universal right and the government should not be paying for it (as I said so on my post - last para first sentance). However since no party is advocating that view, rather all parties are placing their own childcare plans, we are now forced to evaluate each of these so-called plans. The Liberal plan will create child care spaces.

Emil Vargas said...

So will money to parents and tax breaks to child care companies except they will be private sector spaces.