Monday, December 05, 2005

Mr. Harper's plan will only pay 14 cents an hour

For what it's worth, I'm a big government guy so I prefer the Liberal child care plan to the one Harper announced today. However, with Harper's policy out there, this will lead to an honest discussion about the merits of state run child care versus an individual's right to decide how...

...what's that? Oh, never mind:
[Martin] criticized Mr. Harper's child care plan, saying that it would probably only give parents "roughly $25 a week".
True to form, the Liberal response is to complain that the 5 billion Harper will spend on child care over five years amounts to chump change. This is in "stark contrast" to the...uhh...5 billion Martin will spend on child care over five years.


HILARIOUS UPDATE: On the National tonight, Keith Boag reported that the Liberals will be making their first "major" policy announcement of the campaign. This announcement is...I swear I am not making this up...the Liberals child care plan which currently calls for 5 billion over 5 years, will be extended to pay 10 billion over 10 years. Oh man...

73 Comments:

  • You know, sometimes when you divide a sum of money among 32 million citizens it gets nothing done. But if you take that same amount of money and spend it collectively on a public program, it can accomplish a lot.

    It's generally called "government".

    I'm just sayin'.

    :-)

    By Blogger Lord Kitchener's Own, at 5:55 PM  

  • And that's generally why I prefer Martin's plan...

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 5:56 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger An Individual, at 5:58 PM  

  • So, if we take the logic of LK to its conclusion - all money should go to the government. Well, thanks for coming out anyhow, LK.

    The Liberal-NDP system wants the state to raise our children and turn them into mindless drones of society. Ken Dryden has shown to be dictatorial in his position of social infrastructure - I hope he doesn't win his seat.

    Anyone seen my copy of "A Brave New World"?

    - Pink

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:33 PM  

  • Pink, that's totally illogical. There are several hundred years and a few dozen countries that have managed to figure out how to do this thing called democratic government. You may want to open a book and find out about it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:24 PM  

  • Sure, anonymous - just as pink is illogical in the assertion that the Liberal's plan is a baby-gulag, do is the assertion that child care is necessarily best provided through the state. I know several women who run licenced home daycare businesses - but who probably wouldn't qualify under any form of Dryden's top-down daycare plan. Nevertheless, they provide excellent daycare, and both the parents and the children involved are the better for their initiative - although neither the provider nor the customer would get any benefit from the Liberal's daycare plan. There are lots of families who choose to use other 'informal' daycare arrangements - like placing their children with grandparents or aunts and uncles - these, too, would not benefit from the $5Bn the Liberals are proposing to spend.

    I think the aggregate benefits will be greater if we allow those who choose home care by another parent, or care provided by a relative to share in the government assistance to childcare. Others, like LKO (I presume) disagree, thinking that there are some economies of scale to be captured in the provisino of childcare. I think they are overlooking the opportunity for bureaucratic self-aggrandization, self-serving governance and certificaton models, and the ability of a unionized workforce to extort more money in exchange for less service. No doubt, they would see flaws in my analysis, as well.

    By Blogger deaner, at 11:49 PM  

  • What's even more funny is how Keith Boag reminded us that the Liberals have been promising a national daycare program since 1993 and have used it as an election ploy for 4 previous elections, and now a 5th.

    Man Liberal supporters are gullible. As a bright man once said "stupid is as stupid does"

    By Anonymous m.k. braaten, at 12:38 AM  

  • The fact that my money is going to parents of a 3 yr. old who make $200,000/yr or $20,000/yr or $2,000/yr or $20/yr is a bit confusing... and the fact that it may push me into a new tax bracket, thus destroying any benefits that I may acrue is also confusing.

    Good Optics, Bad Policy... you know, I think Harper may be getting the hang of this politican thing after all...

    By Blogger Tony Jones, at 12:42 AM  

  • Deaner, you are being a dumbass. Pink was making a ridiculous silly argument, and I called him on it.

    You on the other hand are talking about something that is rational, reasonable, and something where we might come to an agreement.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:50 AM  

  • Yeah, the main problem with Harper's policy is that a millionaire gets the cut too. Stephen and Lauren probably didn't need the 2400$ a year to bring up Ben and Rachel. They should have put a family income level ceilling on it.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:54 AM  

  • What the liberals are proposing is just another giant beaurocracy, where administration costs will account for most of the money poured in, and leave little to where it belongs (Remember that Gun Registry?) We'll end up with a system that has 2 middle managers for every child in the system. Personally, I'm tired of any level of government, that feels it knows better than I, how to raise my children. I was undecided until today, but Mr Harper's child care policy has convinced me to vote conservative.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:59 AM  

  • previous post was from a different anonymous

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:00 AM  

  • Having grown up around welfare mothers, I am very disconcerted about policy that will give actual income, no strings attached, to irresponsible people creating children, for this only encourages more unloved children to be created and ignored.

    Children should be considered by any economic plan to be like an investment. It's much better to create programs where *you* account for the money than it is to just give money to people and *hope* they account that it is spent on the purpose intended (and not spent on televisions or snowmobiles or liquor or pot or heroin).

    This conservative viewpoint is all about accountability, but only for the government. Their entire philosophy is that the government is always bad, and should be made smaller. Government is only bad when it is made of bad people, who come from the population at large. Devolving power to everyone means empowering the bad people just as well as the good people. This defeats democracy, which is to tip the balance in the favour of the good.

    Viewing the concept of government as intrinsically bad is a cynical, hopeless view of politics. The government is at least transparent and all in one place where you can keep an eye on it.

    I prefer the view that good people working together can make the world a better place. I also prefer the pragmatic view that power attracts the corrupt, and thus whatever good intentions got us here will often be overridden by the bad unless we remain vigilant. That doesn't mean not doing anything good. It means taking some civic responsibility.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:01 AM  

  • ... and I don't want to seem insenstive. But I think there should be a cap on the amount a family can receive. Let's be generous and say 3, (exemptions could be made in the case of multiple births). I mean we could realistically be giving $6,000 or $7,200 out/yr. to some families.

    I think that it could be used as non-coercive incentive to lower the birth-rate. Population is growing fast enough in this world already.

    By Blogger Tony Jones, at 1:02 AM  

  • and the day after cpc fires back with 20B over 20.

    yeah for lizard lips.

    it's probably doubling to 20B/year over 10.

    to be clear that's roughly 10B over the first 5 for both sides.

    By Anonymous yyc, at 1:04 AM  

  • 20B over 10.

    By Anonymous yyc, at 1:07 AM  

  • anon 11:01, your posting should be required reading. conservatives do believe in gov't being accountable to citizens.

    it never occurs to us to have a high tax regime so that the choices of free citizens can be made accountable to govt's.

    not only can't govt's discriminate between better and worse as well as citizens can. they are not allowed to.

    btw, tell me that was all tongue in cheek. you nearly had me.

    By Anonymous yyc, at 1:17 AM  

  • I guess I am dumb. How can the Harper plan be objectionable by anybody at any level? Give the parents some dough to off set their childcare costs. Let the parents decide how they want to apply it.

    When did we as a nation come to think our government can make child rearing decisions better than the parents? When did we collectively get the right to say some parents will make bad choices given some money (or enough kids to get a lot of money)? I can't see any reasoned objection to this. Obviously I am missing something because some folks disagree with this plan, but I don't see it.

    By Anonymous Peter, at 1:19 AM  

  • I wouldn't be terribly concerned about people having 3 children under 6 years old all at once. It is a possibility but it doesn't seem common in this day and age. Canada's population would currently be shrinking if not for a rather large contingent of immigrants being brought in on a yearly basis.

    As for whether a "government" plan is better, I'd respond in the negative. I'm a Conservative admittedly and the last thing I ever like to hear is "I'm from the government and I'm hear to help." But I think creating another large social program that will be viewed as an entitlement is a dangerous road to be walking down. I'm in favour of supporting parents and offering tax incentives, on the other hand I really don't want to see another "federal-provincial program" to be bickered about on an annual basis. Once enough money gets thrown at daycare it will become and entitlement. People will start claiming they have a "right" to have their children in daycare and all the general silliness that goes hand in hand with other social programs. A bloated bureaucracy will be created and it will suck up dollars and the provinces will cave to public pressure and for the most part drive themselves deeper into deficit to attempt to meet a demand they lack the financial resources to meet and then blame the federal government. The federal government will throw money at the problem..which won't fix it either. In short we'll create another system every bit as screwed up and disfunctional as health care and that's a road I'm happy my party at least doesn't wish to go down.

    As an aside I tend to think they're something creepy and soviet about the state wanting to raise your children.

    By Blogger Chris, at 1:22 AM  

  • I like Harper's pland, but it could use a new sexy name, say
    FAMILY ALLOWANCE

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:33 AM  

  • I think the more than 3 children thing is an aberation and certainly not the norm. But it still an aberation to keep in mind when your crafting policy. It isn't a "possiblity", for many it is a reality... at some point you have to use policy to address social problems, like over-population.

    My main problem with this policy does nothing to address childcare professional shortages in rural areas. Or for shift workers or for the working poor or many struggling single parents. For whom an extra $100 will be a treat - but it certainly just a drop in the bucket. I hate to argee with Martin, but there is some validity to what he saying.

    I think a more comprehensive approach is needed to combat the problem. To me this just seems like a made-for-TV solution.

    Lets help some of the middle class earners with things like tax breakers or even $1200 if they can provide childcare recipts... lets ensure something like $7/day daycare is available to low-income parents and the working poor.

    As for the people on the upper eschleons of the tax brakets... I just don't see how providing $1200/yr. is going to increase their childcare "choices" ... it just seems like a complete was of time and public money. There should at the very least be an earnings cap on that $1200.

    By Blogger Tony Jones, at 1:38 AM  

  • Tony Jones and CalgaryGrit have a point about rich people getting the same benefit from the Conservative plan... except that the same criticism also applies to the Liberal plan. Rich families will able to get spots in the government-controlled daycare, the same as poor ones, correct?

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 1:39 AM  

  • We're 1/2 child per family below replacement levels and Tony's worried about more than 3.

    Exactly the mindset that makes central planning a f***ing joke.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:43 AM  

  • Good point Invisible Hand. I'm not a fan of state-run daycares... I'm not convinced they are viable options now that fewer and fewer people work 9 to 5s.

    To be honest I'd like to see a bit of a combo. of both if possible. They aren't exactly diametrically opposed, are they?

    Provide an expansion to the child-tax benefit or provide a certain amount of money to all parents making less than X amount dollar. Open up public daycare or fully-fund non-profit daycare "vouchers" if you make less than (X-Y) amount of dollars.

    Is that even possible? I'm kind of thinking on the fly here... Does that plan even make sense. I always was terrible at algebra.

    By Blogger Tony Jones, at 1:47 AM  

  • Tony,

    The child care deduction (which will remain for the existing subset of parents only) isn't capped by income.

    By Anonymous yyc, at 1:51 AM  

  • Well I guess Anon, you have to be worried about those baby factories soaking up public money. At what point is enough, enough? I'm not getting up in the morning and busting my ass everyday to support little eugenics programs...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:52 AM  

  • "busting my ass everyday to support little eugenics programs"

    First we ramp up taxation in the name of social justice. Then once we've taken most of a young family's income we worry that their kids might get too much of it back. Either their parents are too rich or the kids are too numerous for poor parents. Forgot to mention the great jobs for the folks who dole it all out. Priceless.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:04 AM  

  • "I mean we could realistically be giving $6,000 or $7,200 out/yr. to some families."

    Tony, as Martha says, that's a good thing. One of the true crises facing Canada is our aging population so, if government wants to get into the business of subsidizing people for having children, I'm all for it. My only complaint is that I was never as smart as my brother who had all three of his children in Quebec. By the time the third one came along I think the 'pure laine' bounty was $5000. That's what they call putting your money where your mouth is.

    I really don't know why all you Grits want to means test Stevie's child payments? After all PMPM's plan is modelled after the QC plan or so he says (If he was truly following that plan he would be ponying up $20 billion over 5 yrs, not a miserly $5 billion). The QC plan is nothing more a social program for well-heeled professionals, civil servants, and anyone else who knows how to make the system bend their way. The rules are so rigid, and the places so regulated, that anyone working outside the 8:30-5:00 day can't take advantage of the program. This means, for the most part, the working poor and blue-collar workers, especially those who do shift-work. Single mothers, forget it.

    The biggest problem with PMPM's plan is that we've seen it before. When Gary Doer took office in 1999, the NDP changed the regs governing daycare, making it more union-friendly and setting regulations for facilities. The result: dozens of daycares, especially in rural areas, closed their doors. Now if you are a two-income family in Manitoba, you had better live in Winnipeg and not Gretna or Lac duBonnet, otherwise you will never find a daycare, let alone a space for your kids.

    By the by. I'm really interested in seeing the schedule of payments under the Grit's new ten year plan. Under the current plan, about 45% of the money arrives in the fifth year. Is Martin going to propose that in the sixth year that amount should go down to 20% (or say the 9% that it stands at in first year of the current program). If so, I see a provincial bitch-slapping of the feds in the near future.

    By Anonymous herringchoker, at 2:46 AM  

  • Harper's plan is inferior to Martin's plan if one believes that widely accessible affordable daycare is a social good.

    Harper is superior to Martin on the issue because his plan is much more likely to be executed; I'm waiting for the Liberal provincial agreements to crash and burn (i.e. stagnate and do nothing).

    By Blogger matt, at 3:15 AM  

  • yyc, since you obviously have not been paying attention to the child care issue on any front, the issue is not simply funding the child care spots, but regulating them so they have a level of quality and safety. We had a long spate of news stories a few years back of substandard and dangerous day care, if you recall.

    By breaking up the funds across every citizen as a family allowance, you give up the opportunity to build a coherent, sensible, effective, safe program.

    Certainly you might argue that parents will not put up with bad programs, but frankly they do because they do not have many options. Nor are they qualified to make those decisions. Nor do they have time to investigate day care centres (because they are busy working, hence the need for day care).

    If you need more empirical evidence, Ontario has been following this plan for eight years, and it hasn't resulted in any improvements.

    A divided market-based approach has already shown to be a failed approach. The option needed is a concerted effort to build a rational, coherent organization, not unlike public education.

    --anon 11:01

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:27 AM  

  • anon 11:52, well enough would be enough: simply don't pay people to have children. That is the wrong motivation for having children.

    Conversely, paying people to have children is eugenics, as that policy is meant to protect the majority's demographic advantage over possible pressures from immigration.

    (For what it's worth, we just evicted a pregnant heroin addict from our house, which was one of the most agonizing decisions I've ever made.)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:32 AM  

  • so we need national regulation of daycare. standards and practices hammered out by bureaucrats from across the country applicable to nationalised day care across the nation.

    GREAT!!!!!!!

    Seriously, how are we going to set it up? Will it be useable by nurses? These are white collar (ok so pink collar) people with irregular and long shifts. 12 hours is fairly common for hospital workers, along with random variation in weekends and evenings worked.

    If your great daycare system can't accommodate nurses, which any reasonably inexpensive system won't, how is it going to work for anyone who isn't a government employee (i.e. teacher or bureaucrat)?

    We're talking about daycare, and how to control it. You know, that little unimportant thing that people frequently don't pay enough attention to. How could i believe that WE ARE GENETICALLY HARDWIRED TO PROTECT OUR YOUNG AND PLACE IMMENSE IMPORTANCE OF THEIR WELFARE AND FUTURE? Obviously, Canadians really need a bunch of English majors who live in Ottawa to tell us how to raise our children and to save us from choosing the wrong daycare. Giving the proles control over resources is just a disaster waiting to happen, and won't create thousands of jobs for the parasitic government caste!

    This is what scares me about the Libs and NDP

    By Anonymous hey, at 5:34 AM  

  • As someone writing a paper on intergenerational equity, and given trends on childcare spending (and Canada's depressingly utter lack of any real family policy whatsoever) comments on hardwired love of children as ensuring public policy that ensures intergenerational fairness are laughable at best.

    A real national childcare policy is good policy, full stop. Regressive tax breaks are good politics, but calling it "child care" policy is kind of silly.

    I think the "family allowance" comment is right on. Now there's something to universalistic welfare programs, but if we're going to invest our $ why not do so in a more effective fashion?

    Oh wait it's an election.

    By Anonymous Mark, at 8:13 AM  

  • Stephen Harper spent the spring screaming "ME TOO!!!" at every Liberal spending promise. It's nice seeing Paul Martin scramble to scream "ME TOO!" at Tory promises for a change.

    (That said, subsidizing child care is bad - I'm agaisnt both the Tory and Liberal plans.)

    By Blogger Andrew, at 8:44 AM  

  • Can there be any doubt now that Paul Martin's policies consist of putting more money into something.

    That something, being massive government programs with huge buracracies.

    Of the five billion/10 billion, whatever, how much do you think will get down to actual money directly spent on daycare providers. A teeny tiny fraction.

    Now, if a parent spends that 1200 on childcare himself, how much of it goes to childcare? That's right, 100%. Five Billion in the hands of the taxpayer and five billion in the hands of government (a Martin Government no less) are two completely different things.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:15 AM  

  • More and more I think Stephen Harper is actually running for President of Alberta.

    By Blogger Don, at 9:15 AM  

  • Lord Kitchner's (comment one):

    He's right. Rather than being taxed at 50% we should just sign over our whole checks to the Liberal government, and really "accomplish a lot."

    Just look at the HRDC boondoggle,
    the gun registry, our Health system (where we spend a very high per capita amount but are ranked 30th in the world), adscam, ect.ect.

    If our money is in the government's hands it is being spent wisely. If it is in our hands, we just waste it.

    Good point LKO, good point.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:19 AM  

  • Year 2015 - Young Mr and Mrs Breshnev timidly enter the Martin Accelerated Infant Daycare (MAID for short) in Rosedale. They are fortunate that their local MP now, in his 22nd year in Parliament, has succeeded in 'targeting' their riding for more daycare. The 12000 square foot centre is also home to the local Liberal riding offices and Liberal polo team. The Breshnevs interview with a 'supervisor' who has been trained at the Liberal College of Canada in the art of Child Rearing in Modern Canada. She herself has made the supreme sacrifice of not pro-creating as it looks too painful. The Breshnevs fill out a form. Item 1: If given a choice in an election would you vote for or against the Liberal Party of Canada? Item 2: Do you love Canada? Item 3: Do you contribute to the good of the Canadian economy by donating to the rightful Party of a Liberal Canada? The questions were not a struggle. Upon review the Supervisor rang a bell and a charming young woman entered the room smiling. "Hi," she said cheerfully. "The Supervisor informs me that your baby has been accepted to level one (we call it Belindasizing) of day care. Congratulations." She reaches out and takes the child. Mrs Breshnev has tear in her eyes - "When can we see her again?" she calls out. The Supervisor smiles as she leads them out the door - "Come back on her 18th birthday - she'll be a suitable citizen then...."

    By Anonymous Sailor Man, at 9:25 AM  

  • As a person voting Liberal for the last some elections, I find this issue troubling. Harper's promises are making me more and more prone to voting Conservative.

    Why? Because even though I agree with Martin's approach to daycare (day care for parents who cannot afford to have it) I think it will turn to another gun registry type boondogle. That I am not prepared to support.

    Besides, people should not be having kids and expect society to provide for them. Kids are a significant investment, and it is YOUR responsibility to take care of them first and foremost. I think the Liberal's plans will just be an excuse for some people to start having kids with no sense of responsibility. Then those kids grow up screwed up and get into crimes and all as they never had a father family nor a loving home.

    By Blogger mezba, at 9:48 AM  

  • Quote by Tony
    "The fact that my money is going to parents of a 3 yr. old who make $200,000/yr or $20,000/yr or $2,000/yr or $20/yr is a bit confusing... and the fact that it may push me into a new tax bracket, thus destroying any benefits that I may acrue is also confusing."

    I suspect it's very akin to my confusion as to why my money should go into a program that despite my having 2 eligable children, I will see no benefit from whatsoever because my wife and I think its' better for my children that we to live off 1 income and have 2 loving parents with university education, (one with a teaching degree in early child development) than a 2 year diploma, (or less) person with no emotional attachement teaching one of 15 other kids along with my own.

    at least with Harpers plan I pay $2400/yr less in taxes.

    By Blogger Sierra, at 10:04 AM  

  • "..people should not be having kids and expect society to provide for them. Kids are a significant investment, and it is YOUR responsibility to take care of them first and foremost"

    Agreed to a point. Raising the next generation of Canadians is very important - it needs to be recognised for the value it brings. The state has an interest in ensuring that people have children - although perhaps the best solution is increasing thier importance - it used to be that children took care of their parents in their old age - now we expect the governement to do it. I think we need to return to that expectation.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:06 AM  

  • As a parent (and undecided voter) raising kids in middle-class suburbia, it has been just as impossible to find available daycare for the past two years as it was earlier. I'm sure there are others who have had different experiences, but as I see it, it points to a basic problem with the Liberal strategy. Too many families never see the benefit, but keep paying taxes to fund it. And they still have to scape together the money to fund their own daycare or take a hit on income by staying home.

    For all its obvious flaws, Harper's plan is something that will give families a tangible benefit: money in their pocket.

    By Anonymous undecided in bytown, at 11:13 AM  

  • While I prefer the Martin plan, in theory, I agree with Matt that nothing is likely to come from it. If you look at the deals Dryden signed, they really amount to nothing more than a cash transfer in a lot of instances. I'm not sure we'll actually see any real childcare out of it.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:13 AM  

  • As a parent (and undecided voter) raising kids in middle-class suburbia, it has been just as impossible to find available daycare for the past two years as it was earlier. I'm sure there are others who have had different experiences, but as I see it, it points to a basic problem with the Liberal strategy. Too many families never see the benefit, but keep paying taxes to fund it. And they still have to scape together the money to fund their own daycare or take a hit on income by staying home.

    For all its obvious flaws, Harper's plan is something that will give families a tangible benefit: money in their pocket.

    By Anonymous undecided in bytown, at 11:15 AM  

  • I'm with you Bart. The Dryden Liberal Childcare and early learning policy is one of my absolute favourites.

    By Blogger James Bowie, at 11:40 AM  

  • "I swear I am not making this up...the Liberals child care plan which currently calls for 5 billion over 5 years, will be extended to pay 10 billion over 10 years. Oh man..."

    I didn't believe it last night, but Boag had it straight.

    But good news for the Liberal campaign. Overnight they fixed everything up: its now 11 billion over 10 years to match the CPC's 11 over 5.

    By Anonymous yyc, at 11:41 AM  

  • "HILARIOUS UPDATE: . . . for 5 billion over 5 years, will be extended to pay 10 billion over 10 years. Oh man..."

    The most 'hilarious' thing about it is that no one in the MSM is calling him on this dubious calculation. Don't they teach math in J-School?

    G-o-G

    By Anonymous groovy-on-granville, at 12:26 PM  

  • For the record Sierra. You get $2,400 extra dollars that counts as taxable income.

    What if that pushes you up a tax bracket? Then what? You ended up on the short-end of the stick

    I'm just trying to point out that it doesn't have to be a pick and choose between one flawed policy and another...

    we should *ahem* "Demand Better"

    By Blogger Tony Jones, at 12:27 PM  

  • Tony,

    you're way to focused on how much will be clawed back in taxes.

    If you're in Alberta, in the lowest tax bracket (assuming it doesn't bump you into the second bracket), you will pay:

    26% x 1200 = $312 in taxes. That means you keep $888.

    If it does bump you up to the next tax bracket, you're going to 32% tax in Alberta...thus, 32% x 1200 = $384. Meaning you'll keep $816.

    This is only a difference of $72. Plus, this means you've earned over $35k of taxable income in that year. Not a lot, to be sure, but enough so that missing out on that $72 is not going to be as big a deal. But you're still up $816 from where you would be without this plan. Plus you have the choice as to who is taking care of your kids--whether its a state-regulated day care, or a grandparent.

    Additionally, the conservative plan has said that the $1200 allowance will be taxed in the hands of the lower income spouse. So the chances of it being taxed at a high tax bracket are reduced further.

    By Anonymous Shabbadoo, at 1:01 PM  

  • g-o-g:

    blatchford had great fun last week with your question.

    Go to tinyurl.com/aqbt9
    and pick the story with Bertrand Russell.

    "everyone got on their mobiles to call their offices, and it was pretty clear everyone was asking for 'experts' to be brought on board so this enormous mathematical bastard could be solved. Those with experts immediately available soon swelled with confidence; those without continued to fret".

    By Anonymous yyc, at 1:34 PM  

  • Sorry I just think that it should be offered tax-free income. Or offered as a percentage tax-cut to parents under 6. Or an expansion of the child-tax benefit.

    Again it is probably better public policy to have a comprehensive approach to childcare and family policy (in which Canada sorely lacks at a public level).

    But when it comes to made for TV policy... and "vote-buying" (not in a perjorative sense - since not a single political party alive doesn't do it) - nothing beats saying I'm sending out $1,200 for every kid under 6. Which what it is ... a mediocre but solution to a problem, but one that is attractive and easily digestable for the public.

    Neither the Martin nor the Harper option is copasetic...

    By Blogger Tony Jones, at 1:37 PM  

  • What's even more funny is how Keith Boag reminded us that the Liberals have been promising a national daycare program since 1993 and have used it as an election ploy for 4 previous elections, and now a 5th.

    Another example of the CBC's Liberal bias...er, no, wait, I guess not so much.

    By Blogger A BCer in Toronto, at 1:55 PM  

  • The problem with the percentage tax cut you suggest, is that it then punishes those families who choose to have one parent stay at home. i.e. if you have no income, a tax cut won't help at all.

    Potentially this could be an option if it was a tax credit for each child, and could be used by the higher income earner in the family. I believe Saskatchewan has a similar scheme (though not sure if it only applies to the lower income spouse or not).

    I don't mind having it taxable income, because, as some have complained...why should a family earning $200k get the money. Well, this way, lower income families are keeping more of the 1200 than the higher income families, which does counter this point to a small degree.

    By Anonymous Shabbadoo, at 1:55 PM  

  • Backing up only slighty here's Carolyn Parrish on the GST cutting through Liberal groupthink on what is good for the poor:

    h/t Political Staples: tinyurl.com/a6dm2

    "Having been inside the Liberal caucus and experienced the soothing groupthink that substitutes for real debate, and now having been outside that same caucus and able to see how elitist that groupthink has become, I'm somewhat dismayed to have to admit that this one Harper promise actually shows more understanding of less fortunate Canadians than the so-called socially conscious Liberals'."

    By Anonymous yyc, at 2:01 PM  

  • You listen to Carolyn Parrish? Shame.

    By Blogger James Bowie, at 2:04 PM  

  • once every other century. the other century I take one comment from Ralph Klein seriously.

    By Anonymous yyc, at 2:14 PM  

  • OK, so it's 11 billion over 10 years, instead of 10 billion over 10 years. At least they're keeping up with inflation...

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 2:46 PM  

  • Nor are they qualified to make those decisions. Nor do they have time to investigate day care centres (because they are busy working, hence the need for day care).

    anon, you obviously don't have kids. You have no idea how much thought and energy goes into finding the perfect daycare match.

    And a further point, my children are being watched by their grandparents (we are blessed); I would much rather have my child receive the love, support, cuddles and kisses while reinforcing their relationships with their grandparents over some stranger in a situation and an environment which I cannot control.

    By Blogger NorthBayTrapper, at 2:46 PM  

  • The Conservative plan (two parts) will by their own admission cost 10.9 Billion and create 125,000 spaces. By comparison, the old Liberal plan would cost 5 billion and create 250,000 spaces. The Conservative motto should be half the "choice" two times the cost.

    There are other problems as well. Study after study after study, has shown that the group that most benefits from early childhood education is children from lower class single parent homes. Yet $1200 will simply not cover the cost of day care. As a result, the very children who would most benefit from these programs are excluded. But there is more to it than just that. Single mothers dominate welfare rolls accross Canada. One reason for this is that there is no affordable child care option available to them. The Liberal option would at least give some of these mothers a "choice" as to whether they wanted to seek employment.

    By Blogger Koby, at 2:51 PM  

  • Am I the only one that's going to mention that education isn't a federal jurisdiction to begin with? I know all you Liberal sorts seem to recall Trudeau appendix to it from some years back, but there was originally this lovely document which spoke of this quaint thing called 'division of powers'.

    Its really not for Ottawa to establish a national education program. Nor do I think for 10 billion over 10 years that Martin would be able to. The odds of 1 billion dollars a year being able to provide a childcare space for everyone that needs one, as aside from being sucked into a bureaucratic vortex strike me as rather slim.

    At least the Conservative plan will actually put money in the hands of parents, and it avoids another round of federal provincial head aches.

    By Blogger Chris, at 2:53 PM  

  • shud we then not have a debate as to WHY there are so many single young mothers in Canada?

    if you are single because u left an abusive partner or divorced then society SHUD support u but if u r single becoz u r irresponsible with sex and ur boyfriend dumped u, then i think u shud go after the boyfriend for support rather than the state. just my 0.02, ppl can disagree.

    By Blogger mezba, at 2:58 PM  

  • I find it interesting how people seem to assume the $1200 in the pockets of parents is going to create extra daycare space. You could compare this to saying that Canada should solve it's post secondary education problem by giving all canadians aged 18-22 1200 dollars/year to go to university. Is that 1200 dollars/year really going to allow university's/post secondary intitutes to expand there capacity? Most likely that answer would be no but it going to buy a whole lot of beer in first year you betcha.

    By this that logic the next thing conservatives will want is to privatize our public education system and just pay parents $5000 a year to educate there childern and choice how they are educated. Because $1200 in your pocket is better than $1200 dollars in a public institute.

    By Anonymous duke76, at 3:08 PM  

  • koby,

    I love showing off my big bulging brain, so lets do the math.

    250,000 daycare spaces @ $8000 per spot (source: K. Dryden) = $2 billion per year

    $2 billion per year times 10 years = $20 billion

    Federal contribution - $11 billion over ten years, or 50% of the cost plus inflation

    Seems fair enough.


    Outlier - Canada's 0-6 yr population = 2 million children

    So what we have is a program aimed at providing 50% funding for one-eighth of it's intended recipients

    I guess that it sucks being the parents of the other 1.75 million children who won't have access to the subsidized spots. At least in Quebec, their overly centralized daycare scheme achieves a 50% success rate.

    No wonder the child care industry is dancing to the Liberal tune, it's pennies from heaven time.

    Welcome to the new normal. National programs that achieve a 12.5% success rate are indespensible. As for the rest of you: Too Bad, So Sad.

    The only question left is how do we decide who gets a subsidized spot? Lottery? Means test? How about Who you Know? Yeah that sounds about right. Just situation normal in Paul Martin's Ottawa.

    By Anonymous herringchoker, at 4:13 PM  

  • Both of these plans have significant flaws, I support the Conservative plan because it is less likely to become a full-scale boondoggle.

    First problem, already mentioned, is that both plans are accessible to wealthy people. The article from the San Fran newspaper article that has made the rounds yesterday noted that the majority of Quebec's apces are taken by those who earn $60K+. There should be some mechanism in the Tory plan to claw back that $12,000 from those who don't need it. Or better, spend the same sum of money and spread it among a smaller number of lower-income families.

    There's a certain political beauty in the Liberal plan, I have to admit. It's a virtually accountability-free experiment for them. The federal government is doing nothing more than making cash transfers, as I understand it. Administering the daycare programs will be the responsibilty of the provinces. When the program costs explode, it's not really the federal government's problem. The provinces will cry poor, but they always cry poor, so what changes? It works especially for Martin who will likely be gone by that time anyway.
    This analysis does make me think I'm missing something. Why would the provinces sign on to this? Are there any strings attached to these cash transfers?

    As to the claim that the Tory plan won't add any more spaces, it also included tax credits for companies that create daycare spaces for their employees. I really don't know whether this would be effective or not, but I'll just put it out there.

    By Blogger RWA, at 5:01 PM  

  • "There should be some mechanism in the Tory plan to claw back that $12,000 from those who don't need it."

    There is - the $1,200 (not $12,000) will be taxable in the hands of the lower-income spouse. There are some stay-at-home parent families with very high incomes who will get an unintended windfall, but not many

    By Blogger deaner, at 5:18 PM  

  • To the people making weird 1984-esque comments comparing daycares to Stalinist brainwashing gulags - I have two questions: 1, do you actually have kids? 2, have you ever been in a daycare or in any facility or home that cares for children? They tend to be full of little kids singing, drawing, playing, squabbling, crying and generally being little kids. This applies in home daycares and larger centres equally. I have a kid and I've used both, so I know.

    All this hyperbole just makes it sounds like you're paying a little too much attention to the voices coming out of your fillings. If you want people to take you seriously, then post some comments arguing the merits of your position, not weird Elvis-shot-Kennedy conspiracies.

    Second, the Gun Registry isn't the greatest comparison. A lot of the problems there were due to the lack of cooperation from the provinces (as well as the gun owners themselves) and the need to create a whole new system from scratch. Not the case here. More hyperbole.

    That said, I don't hate the CPC policy (even though my kid will be soon too old for me to take advantage of either). It does deal somewhat with the whole staying home with the kids question. Actually, I'd like to see 3 years of EI for stay-at-home parents - that way more parents could raise their kids at home with less financial sacrifice.

    It should be pointed out that this $$ (from either party) will go toward the creation of *more* spaces to increase availablility. People who use home daycare or private sitters can still claim the expense on their taxes, provided it isn't being done under the table. So it's not like they don't see any benefit at all.

    By Anonymous Dean, at 5:33 PM  

  • Good post Dean


    "Second, the Gun Registry isn't the greatest comparison. A lot of the problems there were due to the lack of cooperation from the provinces "

    Do you really think that the provinces will be easier to deal with in regards to this issue?

    2000000000 to register guns
    1000000000 to provide full-time daycare for all of Canada's preschoolers.

    Sounds like a money pit to me. The Feds won't be able to keep up to the sucking sound and the provinces will bail when it becomes apparent that they are left at the table holding the bill...

    By Blogger NorthBayTrapper, at 6:23 PM  

  • Do you really think that the provinces will be easier to deal with in regards to this issue?

    Not necessarily, but at least they've signed on to it instead of launching court challenges.

    Sounds like a money pit to me. The Feds won't be able to keep up to the sucking sound and the provinces will bail when it becomes apparent that they are left at the table holding the bill...

    Yeah, possibly, but are they trying to provide *universal* daycare or are they just trying to create more spaces? The number of spaces is somewhat elastic with demographics (there's a short window in a child's life when you need them as opposed to a lifelong commitment), and if it isn't actually universal, then a funding reduction might not have such a large impact.

    By Anonymous Dean, at 7:43 PM  

  • calgary grit:

    Sometime stupids works. 24 hours later Macleans is still rolled:

    "After days of watching Harper steal the spotlight with big-money morning announcements, Martin beat him to the punch Tuesday with an extended Liberal child-care plan".

    Yep. Beat to the punch one day after a 2B/yr announcement by the 1B/yr status quo.

    By Anonymous yyc, at 8:27 PM  

  • I hear ya Dean,

    With lower corporate taxes and the investment money being offered, the private sector should begin to offer more spaces. My greatest concern is waiting lists to get into good daycares (that's because parents are that committed to "picking" the best daycare for their child). Hopefully the provinces (who's jurisdiction it is) will be pressured into helping this along with the help of the Federal grants.

    One last point, the cost to Canadians for the Liberal plan is double. Remember that the provinces have to kick in the other half of the dough to get this money pit rolling, and where do you think they get their money from....

    By Blogger NorthBayTrapper, at 11:14 PM  

  • With lower corporate taxes and the investment money being offered, the private sector should begin to offer more spaces. My greatest concern is waiting lists to get into good daycares (that's because parents are that committed to "picking" the best daycare for their child).

    Very Good, and often over-looked point. Childcare public policy is quite difficult to implement because there are metaphysicals factors at play here... and as a father yourself, I'm sure you can appreciate that, and you have already spoken to that.

    By Blogger Tony Jones, at 12:43 AM  

  • However did Canadians raise generations of children without state-run child care? It boggles the imagination. We _must_ have state-run child care! I see a bureaucratic sinecure in my future...

    By Blogger AwaWiYe, at 4:27 PM  

  • Hey, good blog you have here. I was just out blogging and came upon yours. Just thought I'd comment. Have a good one.

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    national health insurance plan

    By Anonymous group health insurance plans, at 11:43 PM  

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