Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Popcorn and Beer aside

I've made my thoughts on Scott Reid's comments well known so I won't rehash them here. However, I'd like to jump into the child care debate a little bit, because of a lot of the reaction to Reid's comments I've been reading. A lot of bloggers and a lot of pundits have been talking about how the very idea of a national child care program is insulting to parents. "The government is telling parents how to raise their children" is the common line. I'll agree that Reid's comments were insulting, but I really don't understand the virulent hatred directed towards a National Daycare Program.

First of all, Harper is promising to spend money on creating more daycare spaces too. He's also promised tax breaks for kids who play sports which, to me, sounds a lot like someone trying to tell people how to raise their kids (and, for what it's worth, the tax breaks for kids who play sports are one of the few Harper tax breaks I support).

The fact is, there's nothing in the Liberal plan that forces you to enroll your kids in a daycare program. Well, to be honest, there's nothing in the Liberal plan that ensures this money will be more than a cash transfer to the provinces, so I should probably rephrase that. There's nothing about a National Child care plan that forces you to enroll kids in a daycare program. Parents still have a choice in how they want to raise their children. The idea of a child care program is simply to give parents the option of placing their kids in a child care program, by creating affordable spaces across the country.

It's the same principle as any government program. When the government spends money on post-secondary education, they're not forcing anyone to go to University. When the government spends money on job training, they're not forcing anyone to get job training. A lot of people hate the idea of any sort of government program, and that's fine. A lot of people feel there are better ways to spend government money and I'm tempted to agree. But I suspect a lot of Canadians like the idea of government run programs, and that may be why the Liberal poll numbers are high, despite the fact that the Liberal campaign has been rather lackluster.

48 Comments:

  • CG:

    The problem is the whole Liberal attitude that the state knows better than parents what is good for your kid.

    Reid and Duffy are not the only examples. Dryden has made similar quotes. It permeates the whole party. It's insulting and arrogant.

    It's also that Liberals just seem to have it in for single income families. They are screwed on their taxes by not being allowed to income-split (and recoginze the job that the stay-at-home parent does in the home), and now to top it off they get to subsidize the day care of (likely more affluent) dual income families.

    Enough!

    By Anonymous john g, at 7:11 PM  

  • Reid and Duffy used a sound bite that made people look closer and notice the distinct lack of clothes on the emperor.

    Dryden so earnestly repeats his dept's briefing book that he makes Reid and Duffy look intelligent:

    "Dryden dismissed helping stay-at-home parents, comparing them to parents who tried to treat their children at home rather than take them to a doctor or to the hospital. (CFRA talk radio-Ottawa, November 18, 2004)

    Insult on top of injury.

    By Anonymous yyc, at 7:31 PM  

  • This is not about choice as to how you raise your kids, as CG points out. This is about access to the workforce for women. As well, national child care would actually raise the GDP. Are the PCs anti-growth now?

    By Blogger Polly Jones, at 7:36 PM  

  • "When the government spends money on post-secondary education, they're not forcing anyone to go to University".

    BUT when parents try to care their children at home, they give up income #2, and then get taxed on income #1 to pay for services used by 2 income families. It's called a financial penalty.

    Let's project your analogy a bit:

    When the government makes junior kindergarten part of the education system, they're not forcing anyone to go to junior kindergarten.

    When the government makes sophomore kindergarten part of the education system, they're not forcing anyone to go to sophomore kindergarten.

    When the government makes freshman kindergarten part of the education system, they're not forcing anyone to go to freshman kindergarten.

    By Anonymous yyc, at 7:39 PM  

  • pj: is scott's job opens up, please get on the next plane to replace him.

    we're counting on it.

    By Anonymous yyc, at 7:42 PM  

  • Under the Harper plan, what is the liklihood that daycare would quickly become about $25/week more expensive? ("Parents are getting a government cheque, so they can "afford" a price increase"). Then everyone is back to square one.

    I'd like to see some incentive for stay-at-home parents. The Liberal plan doesn't do that (unless I'm missing something) but I'm not so sure the CPC plan does either.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:53 PM  

  • Polly Jones -

    thanks for saying that. "National Daycare would actually raise GDP"

    of course it will raise GDP (a measure of output). More people working - more output.

    you know, if that's what you want - why not put our children to work? women, children, men - all working. no retirement. that would really get the GDP up and going.

    Its GDP PER PERSON, friend.

    oh yes, now you were about to deliver me another national program? comforting.....

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 7:56 PM  

  • I don't think it is insulting at all, I mean we all know parents who aren't good parents, it's just a fact of life. Unfortunately people aren't perfect. To say otherwise just adds to the Naiveté that I already believe Conservative supporters suffer from.

    It's the same Liberal problem they tell the truth, they do the right thing and are chastised for it. Same with the GST. Do you have any idea how screwed we'd be if we'd dropped the GST? That's the difference between Liberals and Connies, I guarantee you if the roles were reversed the Cons would have dropped the GST, despite the fact it would have hurt Canada. That's why I admire the Liberals, they have enough backbone to do the right thing even if it is unpopular. You can even bring up Sponsorship if you want, but who called the Gomery inquiry? And who was under no legal obligation to do so?

    By Blogger HisHighness, at 7:58 PM  

  • The fundamental problem with the National Daycare program is an inefficient way of addressing the daycare needs of families. Furthermore, it is inequitable because the entire program is directed at a type of daycare, institutionalized, that only 13% of families utilize(not to mention those who live in rural areas).

    Something that the political parties are not saying, for obvious reasons, is that the $1200 cheque can also be used to support the child in other ways if the family has suitable daycare already arranged. What about the mortgage, school fees, diapers? No government should ever believe that they have the omniscience to predict the needs of each family, anything else would be purely statism.

    In closing, the Harper program says, "Middle class families matter." We should applaud their effort to make a program that will have a positive impact on Canadians.

    By Blogger Jamie, at 8:11 PM  

  • hishighness,

    we all know government plans and government agencies that have been terrible -- tainted blood, anyone? and you guarantee this will be no different? your national implementation may be as flawed as that loser parent you folks keep picking on?

    Who did call Gomery? The 3 time majority leader of your party who is now taking legal action against it? You had no legal obligation to call it but you certainly have legal recourse to what it says?!?

    Yes, tell us about Conservative naivete...

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 8:12 PM  

  • Here you guys go - find yourself a woman to stay home and look after your kids for free. Harper's wife probably runs the program!

    http://www.realwomenca.com

    The PCs believe people should be able to choose how they raise their families...right up until they want to do it in a non-traditional way.

    By Blogger Polly Jones, at 8:39 PM  

  • It's not "affordable" child care. Somebody has to pay for it. Government programs aren't "free", despite what many people appear to believe.

    If the Liberals are in charge of it, it will undoubtedly cost way more than they've projected. They'll have to appoint Dingwall to head it up, they'll have to hire Everest Group to advertise it, etc. etc.

    If I actually believed that the Liberals could put together this program, and it would actually save people money, then maybe it would have at least some merit...

    .. more importantly, I do NOT believe that they have any intention of actually moving ahead on this. This is the 5th election that they've promised this.

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 8:46 PM  

  • Nice to see the Connie talking points brigade is checking comments sections and adding their bits o' nonsense.

    For another comment, and for a shameless bit of self-promotion, check out my take on the 'choice" in childcare. it's available at http://bondpapers.blogspot.com under the title "Choice my foot" and at www.canadawebpages.com (politicscanada)

    Harper's cash works out to less than $2.50 per day, after taxes.

    It offers no choice at all.

    By Blogger Ed Hollett, at 8:47 PM  

  • Calgary,

    Your comparison of the daycare plan to tax credit for sports, as both dictating to parents is flawed.

    A better analogy would be the Libs having nationalized hockey centers.

    No one's saying that taxation isn't directed toward specific policies of societal importance (tax credits for farmers, medical expense credits ect.)

    The difference with the Libs is that they keep your money and "spend it for you".

    Big difference.

    By Anonymous Biff, at 9:10 PM  

  • The Conservatives are also planning to provide enough money to the provinces to provide 250,000 new day care spaces over the next five years. It will be up to the provinces to determine how to use the money - which is 10,000 in tax credits for each new space.
    They can even use the money to train day care workers which will be needed no matter which program you support.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:10 PM  

  • What's to prevent either party from downloading the cost of the programs to the provinces? They did it with healthcare.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:26 PM  

  • It's an odd debate.

    Everybody seems to have views, but it appears that few have actual experience in this field.

    For many of us, good quality child care is critical. We live in a mobile society and, families like ours, with grandparents far away, don't have the option (even if they would do it) of leaving the kids with either grandma at some embarrassingly reduced rate.

    What does the Harper announcement is really mean?

    First, anybody who has actually paid for professional daycare realizes that parents generally pay for 52 weeks a year, need it or not.

    That means that $1200 annually is about $23 weekly. Yes, there are more than 48 weeks in a day care year.

    But there's more. It's taxable. Generously, the Tories will apply the credit to the income of the lower paid spouse.

    Lets put it to the test.

    For sake of argument, assume that the lowest paid spouse makes $30000 annually.

    All of the tax calculations are drawn from and Ernst and Young Canadian Tax calculation web page.

    http://www.ey.com/GLOBAL/content.nsf/Canada/Tax_-_Calculators_-_2005_Personal_Tax

    In Ontario, the spouse making $30000 would pay $4816 dollars in tax. In Alberta, the tax payable would be $5044.

    Adding the Harper's taxable $1200 to the mix (total income $31200), the Ontario taxpayer would pay $5080, an increase of $264. The Albertan would pay $5356, an increase of $312.

    Net impact of the $1200 credit:

    Ontario $936
    Alberta $888

    In reality, Harper's child care plan (HA HA) is worth, in the after tax dollars we all spend, $18 weekly in Ontario and $17 weekly in Alberta.

    For reference, a dozen (a case to a Western Canadian) Molson Canadian costs $17.95 in Ontario. That's not much beer, Scott.

    The last year we had both kids in day care, our net-after the tax credit cost-was more than $10,000. For the hard of mathing, that's $192 weekly.

    The Tory plan is a waste of money. It's just not enough ot make a difference for families strugglihg to pay for child care and it is not investing in good quality day care spaces for Canadian kids.

    It's smoke and mirrors. Where I come from, we call it BS. Some might call it a scam.

    By Anonymous That eastern bastard is an Albertan's granddaughter, at 9:35 PM  

  • CG, I think that the main reason why families who raise their kids at home are offended and angered by a national day care program is that these parents are making heavy financial sacrifices to do what, they believe, is better for their kids. Nobody makes financial sacrifices to keep their kids out of job training or university, but many do in order to provide their kids with the love of a full time parent. I think it really upsets these people to be told that the job of the stay at home parent is just leisure time, or that a daycare centre would do the job better. It also upsets them to have their financial sacrifice increased in order that other people can benefit financially from their pre-existing choice not to stay at home with their kids. We all know couples, on higher incomes than us, who keep their kids in daycare for extended periods each week. It just seems deeply wrong to be hit with heavier taxes to subsidize these people. If the "National Day Care" program restricted subsidies to people poorer than ourselves, it would be much easier to swallow. But knowing, as with the Quebec experience, that more affluent families will benefit more, just hurts.

    By Blogger MarkC, at 9:41 PM  

  • Eastern Bastard (or maybe Albertan's granddaughter): Of course the Conservative plan will only make a small difference for families. Given the total amount of funding, the NDP plan is about the same, and the Liberal plan is even smaller. The question is, do you spread the resources more or less evenly (albeit thinly) among all families, or do you give a big chunk to a tiny fraction of families and nothing at all to most? If the tiny fraction was the poorest, maybe that would make sense, but we all know that the tiny fraction will be professional middle class people, skilled at negotiating bureaucracy. Is that fair?

    By Blogger MarkC, at 9:51 PM  

  • I hate to point out the obvious but we also have to feed and clothe our children.

    Heck we should just sign over our paystubs, then send our children to government centers to be clothed, fed, and cared for.

    By Anonymous Biff, at 10:04 PM  

  • I agree, but that is not the most important thing: we have got to stop the attacks on beer drinkers! Rick Mercer rules. Go to http://www.beernotkids.com and protect our national drink.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:26 PM  

  • Marc C

    The real issue is whether government spends limited resources on an accessible high quality day care system or pisses them away in cheap, symbolic politics, as the Tory proposal suggests.

    We've tried home care. A good home care is far inferior to a good day care. And a bad home care is god awful. We've been there.

    Our experience in non-profit day care is that most of the clients are poorer than you. You can afford internet access. Nothing in the NDP or Liberal announcements will change that.

    Investment in quality day care is worthwhile. It helps families and it helps at risk kids. In the real world, that's win-win.

    Buying votes, like the Tories are pretending to do, is pathetic.

    By Anonymous That Eastern bastard is an Albertan's granddaughter, at 10:31 PM  

  • Anonymous mentioned Rick Mercer's BeerNotKids, but it's not at that site yet. Read about it on his blog, www.rickmercer.com.
    I'm in the same childless/beer drinking boat as he is, and I signed the petition. But then, I signed the Stockwell/Doris petition way back when.

    By Blogger Lady Cooper, at 10:46 PM  

  • that eastern...

    accessible daycare? As accessible as in Quebec? If so, you are investing a lot of people with a great deal of false hope.

    and the "universal" aspect of the Liberal plan is all about vote-getting and nothing about accessible daycare.

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 10:49 PM  

  • There is a basic principal here, why should my kids who did not go to daycare not get any support from the government if the government is prepared support kids who do. I have three kids when they were under six our family income was about $60k so it was a struggle. I know the $1200 per kid would have went a long way in my house. I also used to get so mad at tax time when I could not use the daycare deduction. At least the Tory plan is fair to everyone. The Liberal plan will only create (I have read) about 250K spaces which is a fraction of the children under six in this country and will only serve city dwellers working 9 to 5 what about everyone else. That is what is wrong with a National Daycare program.

    By Anonymous Geoff, at 10:54 PM  

  • that eastern....

    As chuckercanuck says, the Liberal plan will not make daycare accessible to all - it will only be accessible to a few. Is it better to give everyone 10% of the price of daycare, or to give the full price of daycare to 10% of the people? And, most importantly, which 10%? Do the Liberals or NDP say they will mean-test the plan?

    By Blogger MarkC, at 10:54 PM  

  • In many ways the Conservative child care plan is an admission that the delivery of universal child care in Canada is a pipe dream. As most Liberals correctly point out, the costs of daycare are onerous to the average family. To allow every child in Canada access to free daycare would place Canada back in debt in a hurry - especially when it becomes beaureaucratised. However, by giving parents some money to put towards childcare of their choice the Cons are reaching out to all parents AND by increasing the number of daycare spaces they are still providing some service to those dual income (typically urban) parents that could use the assistance. It may not make everyone happy - but it doesn't exclude anyone.

    By Anonymous Gunter, at 11:06 PM  

  • "That's why I admire the Liberals, they have enough backbone to do the right thing even if it is unpopular. You can even bring up Sponsorship if you want, but who called the Gomery inquiry? And who was under no legal obligation to do so?"

    Scott Reid? Is that you Scott?

    Not to worry, kids. Even if the "program" is finally implemented, it will only create about 47 new daycare spots once pockets are lined and a new bureaucracy is created to monitor potty training wait times. It is to laugh. Or cry. Or something.

    OC

    By Blogger Alan, at 11:11 PM  

  • Eastern...
    Giving me some of my money back so my wife can stay home and my kids won't be socially engineered by some so-called expert is no waste of money, you liberal pompous ass

    By Anonymous Ty the 1 income Dad, at 11:26 PM  

  • Eastern,

    I'm willing to make sacrifices so that my wife can stay home and raise our kids. That's our choice. If you want to trade that choice in for a career and an SUV, don't ask me to pay for it. I don't have enough money to raise my kids, and pay more taxes so that you can have the state raise your inconvenient, career wrecking kids.

    By Anonymous Formerly Eastern, at 12:04 AM  

  • Eastern,

    How will the Liberal plan help the significant number of families where moms stay at home to look after the kids? (CBC reported the percentage of people not using any day care as 47%).

    Why should families, where both parents work, and can afford the day care with higher income, get free day care?

    If the Liberals said the day care plan was for single moms only, then atleast it would make some sense.

    By Blogger mezba, at 12:35 AM  

  • I am a school board trustee in Ontario. As part of the Federal Liberal's deal with the province, new daycare spaces are being attached to existing elementary schools. I received a presentation this very evening on the "Best Starts" program.

    Everyone involved in the program will admit privately that the most educationally sound and cost efficient use of the money allocated to this program would be to create full time SK and JK programs in schools. After all we already have teachers and administrators doing these jobs. We could simply create full time jobs out of part time jobs . But of course to do that would require the Feds to transfer the money to the province and not get any credit. So instead there will be created a parallel "child care" administration (that we were told would consume roughly 30% of the total money for the program) just so it can be called daycare instead of school. Your tax dollars at work.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:18 AM  

  • Two thoughts:

    1. Harper's plan is more equitable than Martin's. The latter proposes to put a portion of everyone's tax dollars towards the needs of those young parents in 9-5 jobs in urban areas rather than towards all young parents, regardless of occupation or location.

    And I say so what. Martin's plan, notwithstanding the inequity which is its premise, will achieve a greater social good, in my opinion. That is, if he gets the provinces more on board than just taking federal cash.

    2. Why the fuck don't the Liberals defend it as such, and why do they and their sycophants defend it by attacking the Tory plan for being "only $25 per day". SO WHAT?! That's a stupid, irrelevant, and duplicitous way to defend good policy. The Libs ain't much better unless they can guarantee that the provinces will get on board with *their own money*. For a Quebec model to exist across Canada would cost 50% more than what the Libs are funding. And only a few provinces (Ontario, take a bow, notwithstanding the big corps) will do that. So the dichotomy really isn't "$25 per day" vs. "gov't bricks and mortar accessible daycare", it's "$25/d" vs. "better bottom line for existing daycares, and some extra spaces in Ontario and Manitoba". Viewed in that light, the Tories win. However, if the Liberal policy is defending on its merits, and not on the trumped up deficiencies of the Tory plan, it might force some good to be effected.

    By Blogger matt, at 2:14 AM  

  • Daycare, in whatever form it takes, is obviously a very important subject to most of us.

    There are huge problems in both the CPC platform, and in the Liberal platform, but as with any government program, the kinks will only get worked out once the program has been put in place.

    The question becomes, what is the end goal of this program? Do any of us actually believe that the CPC has the best interests of our children at heart, or rather, are they looking to help line the pockets of their generally more affluent (and most likely western) supporters? Being able to claim on you IT costs associated with your child's sport? Ridiculous. Whose children play sports - not the lower middle class, that's for certain, and definitely not those who live below the poverty line (those are the ones who really need the breaks...).

    Women, men, parents - they need options. By leaving the social welfare system they should not lose benefits. They should not make less money. Their children should have access to some form of childcare, whether it's the neighbour, a government-funded facility, or a private institute with PhD nannies and all sorts of bells and whistles.

    I'm just happy that national daycare is finally really on the agenda. I just hope that whatever party 'wins' this next election, they'll take into account the real needs of ALL of Canada's parents (including those in rural, and less affluent areas). With some actual cooperation from the provinces (as opposed to their usual childish wailing - yes, there is a constitution, but the feds have got the money - you don't want the money, then bugger off), then maybe something really good could happen...

    an east coast boy

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:26 AM  

  • Universality is the problem. Libs want "uuniversal daycare" paid for by all but accessible only to those that fit a 9-5 weekday job pattern. Universality should only be used for things that are universal. Everyone needs healthcare, all children need an education, but very few parents actually use institutional daycare. So, why universal day care? Because the Libs honestly believe that letting parents keep their money is dangerous 'cause you just don't know what they might blow it on.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:10 AM  

  • Eastern,

    Your arrogance is astounding, no wonder you vote liberal?

    Do you really believe the strong majority of parents, who by the way, DO NOT USE DAY CARE, deserve NOTHING!!!

    Oh right, as long as it benefits YOU, its a good thing? Screw Alberta, screw the other parents, its all me me me. Sorry that I think staying at home to raise my children is just as important as working in an office and letting someone else teach my children.

    Typical Eastern viewpoint.

    By Anonymous Stay At Home MOTHER, at 11:32 AM  

  • Eastern, you mentioned that $25/week is nothing....well as someone who professes to have children you should know that that pays for the week's diapers and that adds up in a hurry.
    As for the truly poor and disadvantaged, the provinces (mine does anyway) already offers substantial support.
    Anyone who thinks that the government can offer high-quality daycare for a billion a year is in fantasyland. (it takes 2 billion to register guns).
    and finally, to the deluded one that mentioned that Martin called Gomery because he is a great guy....AdScam was breaking and calling Gomery was the only thing that saved his minority government as it saved him from dealing with Adscam during the election...wake up

    By Blogger NorthBayTrapper, at 1:07 PM  

  • The amount of money promised by Martin is only enough to subsidize 50% of the cost for 1 out of every 8 children under the age of 6 in Canada.

    I guess if you win the Liberal lottery where the odds are 1 in 8 Martin's plan is OK.

    I'd rather go with the sure thing $1200 covers about 25% of child care costs and that is better than NOTHING - which is what MOST Canadian parents will get from the Liberals.

    By Blogger ferrethouse, at 3:11 PM  

  • I notice Eastern Bastard has mysteriously dissappeared from this thread.

    The truth hurts sometimes, doesn't it you greedy lieberal.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:32 PM  

  • "We've tried home care. A good home care is far inferior to a good day care. And a bad home care is god awful. We've been there."

    ?!

    Did you just say that you, your family, consider day care to be far superior to the love & care you & your S.O. can give to your own children?

    What a very sad human being you must be, coming to this kind of realization, that complete strangers are better caregivers, better parents, for your own children than you are. A more profound failure as a human being I can't imagine.

    I don't know whether I should feel more sorry for you or for your children.

    If you're speaking in the abstract instead of the personal, I'll drop the sorrow and instead just ask you, as someone who was raised by a stay-at-home mother, to extract your head from your ass.

    By Anonymous Ian in NS, at 3:34 PM  

  • "Do any of us actually believe that the CPC has the best interests of our children at heart...?"

    No. Neither do the Liberals or any of the parties. But I believe parents have their own children's best interests at heart. Which is why I'd prefer the money in their hands rather than some preferential government program.

    By Blogger Babbling Brooks, at 3:41 PM  

  • Odd debate.

    Odd assumptions.

    First assumption. I've disappeared.

    Actually no.

    I don't waste my employer's time posting to blogs.

    Second assumption. I think Tory approaches to child care are irresponsible. I MUST be a Liberal voter.

    Actually no. Not for the last couple of elections. Blind partisanship is for the stupid.

    Home care is care at home.

    Actually no. Unlike the medical field, home care is actually care in someone else's home. Our home is quite nice.

    Our kids seem to like being here. They get to get to sports and recreation even without a small tax credit.

    Public investment in public infrastructure is bad. Public schools have broad support and broader participation.

    My taxes, before I was a parent, supported education. I did not directly benefit. But still, I willingly paid my takes.

    Of course, I'm biased. The best day care our kids were in was run by the city government.

    By Anonymous That Eastern bastard is an Albertan's granddaughter, at 6:16 PM  

  • Ian in NS,

    I had to read that one over to but I think by "homecare" they mean someone comes to your house and looks after your kids. Looking after their own kids would be impossible cause they wouldn't be able to get that extra car and they just wouldn't feel like they were real people building their careers. qyhiifqr

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:41 PM  

  • "This is so that people who have chosen to put their children into childcare have the option"

    THE option. The ONE option.

    Here's a thought. Implement Harper's plan, watch X amount of people decide to pull their children out of daycare now that they have a little incentive, and notice that an equal amount of spots open up for daycare for those wanting to put their kids in.

    By Anonymous jhuck, at 3:53 PM  

  • How can you admire a government that promotes daycare over parenting? I am a stay at home mom and I am a non-working dependent. Yes, we are broke but my kids are happy with me and well taken care of. Would you take that away from them? If you want to work you have an option of daycare but if you stay home there is no option for non-working dependents. There is no equality when the Liberals say Parenting is not childcare....

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