I’m not a political person generally but just as having a daughter has brought forward my feminist self that had slipped into the background after university, having a child makes me want to write a bit about child care just days before the October 14th election. I received a message from Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada that provides some statistics from a recent survey of attitudes toward child care. The key findings show:
- Three-quarters of Canadians (77%) think that the lack of affordable child care is a
very (31%) or somewhat (46%) serious problem in Canada today.
- Across the country, the lack of affordable child care is seen as particularly serious in
the Atlantic provinces (86%), British Columbia (85%), and Ontario (78%). Seventy
percent (70%) of Quebec residents, and 75% of Prairie residents, see it as a
- Supporters of all political parties see an important role for governments in
helping parents meet their child care needs, including Conservatives (75%), Liberals
(88%), New Democrats (95%), Green Party supporters (81%), and Bloc Quebecois
The $100 cheque that I receive each month for Reid is simply not the same as a child care plan. The way to create an adequate system requires that the equivalent of those $100 payments (and more) be spent strategically on a system. Scattering the money throughout society is tactical – it may engender support for the party that implemented the payments but it doesn’t build infrastructure and it may even permit some people who couldn’t otherwise afford child care to afford it but it won’t help them to find child care. Our family has the money to pay for child care but it was not easy to find care for Reid before she started school - we had to drive in the wrong direction to take her to her day care but at least it was a good one – and we were unable to find child care that complimented her public school hours. We’re fortunate enough to have been able to find and afford an independent school that offers pre- and post-care.
I don’t know how to show respect (in monetary terms) for families who choose to have one parent stay home with the children. Maybe $100 per month does make a difference in their lives. For me, even though Reid will soon not fall into the traditional child care age group, I’m voting for a party that supports a child care system.