Child-Care Flip: A Flop in the Right Direction?
One problem with the new Conservative child-care transfer appears to be that it would provide less money to provincial governments than the NDP-Liberal plan would have. Another problem is that it may entail even fewer guidelines about how the money is used. Nevertheless, this new approach seems much better than the Conservativesâ€™ previous policy of providing tax cuts to employers.
A press release from “Code Blue for Child Care” follows:
Harper’s Flip on Child Care Shows Government’s Policies a FlopÂ
OTTAWA — Stephen Harperâ€™s flip flop on $250 million worth of business tax breaks for child care shows the Conservative government canâ€™t support its own ill-conceived child care policy.“The idea that child care spaces will come from tax breaks has failed miserably in the past,” said Morna Ballantyne, Coordinator for the Code Blue for Child Care campaign. “The Conservative government should have known this from the start,” she added.“The Conservatives also know the $1.2 billion cut in federal child care funding that takes effect April 1st is going to spell disaster for families across Canada. We need that cut reversed as well,” said Ballantyne.Code Blue is concerned that the $250 million originally earmarked for tax breaks will now be transferred to the provinces and territories with no requirements for accountability or commitment to sustained or expanded funding.
“Yes, transferring federal funds to the provinces makes sense because theyâ€™re the ones delivering child care programs, ” Ballantyne said. “But the federal government must ensure these federal tax dollars are spent in a way that gives families access to quality, regulated care. Weâ€™ve seen transfers used for anything but child care in the past.”
Ballantyne noted that this flip flop on child care fits what is becoming a Harper government style: ill-conceived policy directions that need to be reversed when it becomes clear that the direction is wrong-headed.
Code Blue is stepping up its campaign leading up to the next federal election with the launch of a cross-country child care tour starting in mid-April.
“Parents are filing their tax returns at this very moment and having to repay a good chunk of the so-called child care allowance. They know that the Harper government has done nothing on child care since being elected, making it harder for families to find affordable, quality care,” said Ballantyne.
Parents have expressed a lot of anger and frustration at the Harper governmentâ€™s inaction on child care, Ballantyne added. “Weâ€™re going to channel those feelings into a significant force.”