Friday, March 16

Harper's flip on child care shows government¹s policies a flop

Stephen Harper¹s flip flop on $250 million worth of business tax breaks for child care shows the Conservative government can¹t 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 they¹re 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. We¹ve 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 government¹s inaction on child care, Ballantyne added. "We¹re going to channel those feelings into a significant force."

Code Blue is a Canada-wide campaign to build a real pan-Canadian child care system. The campaign brings together parents, national, provincial and territorial child care organizations, labour, women's and social justice groups along with Canadians from all walks of life.

For more information:
Morna Ballantyne, Code Blue Coordinator, 613-791-3411
LINK: Code Blue For Child Care

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