Monday, December 05, 2005

Who knew that "choice" only costs $5 per day!

Well, the Tories continue to keep the momentum by announcing policy after policy (idiotic policy after idiotic policy, to be sure, but still, everyone's talking!) The latest? Harper's Tories will offer Canadian parents "choice" by paying for the bus ride to and from daycare everyday!

How parents pay for the DAYCARE is entirely up to them.

The only "choice" this will give most parents is for one of them to stay at home, or to have family members take care of the kids. Now, I understand that this is what the Conservatives want to promote, but that's not "choice". Not for most families.

I like to compare the Tory announcement to the Quebec childcare system. In Quebec, the provinicial government provides childcare, and asks you to pay $5 per day. In the Tory plan, Harper will give you $5 per day, and ask you to find private childcare yourself. Thanks Uncle Stephen! Now, the Quebec system is not perfect by any means. But which of these two plans sounds like it might need some tweaking, and which sounds FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED?


The Tories are stealing the agenda by making all of these policy announcements, but now I realize why the Liberals are keeping pretty quiet. As long as the Tories are making announcements, they're keeping the headlines. But as long as those announcements are idiotic and wrong-headed (reopeneing same-sex marriage, a GST cut most economists think is stupid, increased criminal penalties for drug offences when most Canadian want a more comprehensive drug strategy rather than a "war on drugs", and now a childcare plan that wouldn't pay for 10 weeks of childcare a year!!!) well, if I were the Liberals, I'd keep my head down and laugh at the show too!

Apparently, Quebec public daycare is $7 a day, not $5. And if you don't want to wait, you'll have to pay $14.

To compare, the national average is $22, so under the Harper plan, it'll cost you $17 a day (on average) compared to Quebec's $7 or $14. But under Harper's plan, there are no national standards. You pay the company, you take your chances. Of course, I'm told be readers in Ottawa that THERE, the average is around $35, so if you live in Ottawa, you're going to pay $30 a month under the Tories, or more than twice the expensive rate in Quebec's system. (That is, IF you decide to spend the money on childcare, which the Tories don't really care if you do or not). As has been pointed out, the Tory plan is NOT childcare. It's a tax break.

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Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Also, Harper made his announcement today at a childcare centre in Ottawa.

Does anyone know how much money it costs to send a child to that centre? Because I think it would be interesting to know how far $5 a day would go at the very place where the announcement was made.

wonderdog said...

Don't know if you saw Mike's comment to your question in my comments, but the average daycare cost in Ottawa is $38/day.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...


So Quebeckers get PUBLIC daycare for $5 a day, and Harper suggests we give everyone else $5 off a $30-$40 a day bill.

So after Harper's plane, Quebeckers get public daycare for $5 a day, and people in Ottawa only have to pay $25 (I'm being generous to the Tories!)

Sounds great!

Mike said...

In Gatineau across the river, the $7 per day spaces are hard to find, but the $14 per day one are easy - and that cost is decuctable from Quebec taxes. my buddy Pascal found daycare for his daughter in about 1 week and it costs him 1/2 of what it costs in Ottawa. His is at a non-profit childcare centre with qualified teachers. IF IT CAN BE FOUND, daycare in Ottawa is $38 per day for the lady down the street that 'takes in kids'.

Now you decide which kid is getting better care at a cheaper price.

pale said...

It's a 3 year waiting list to into $5 daycare in Quebec so you may get it for a year before the kids go to school.

The Conservative plan is to help out both those that work and stay home a little. You are responsible for your kids you know.

I'd rather have an extra 5 kid per day than another multi-billion dollar program that ain't gonna work as adevertised - I know at the end of the month I'll actually get my $100!

markH said...

"So Quebeckers get PUBLIC daycare for $5 a day"

No. Quebecers get daycare for $7/day+~1.1 Billion Government funding. After a 3 year wait.

Chuckercanuck said...

Still you exagerate. Of the 2 income families in Quebec that I know - you know, the ones in my middle class suburb of Montreal:

NOT A SINGLE ONE IS IN $7 daycare. And the average is closer to $25 per day for those families.

Liberals lie about how much help their plan will be. Either that, or they haven't bothered to learn about Quebec's experience.

Oh, you also forgot to mention the reforms Quebec is undertaking in daycare. Our system, laudible as it is, is untenable.

The proof: if $5 per child per day seems cheap - think about what you actually want the government to pay: $20 per day or more....

That's going to sink the surplus, to be sure.

Babbling Brooks said...

"As has been pointed out, the Tory plan is NOT childcare. It's a tax break."

You do know people can actually check to see if you're full of it, right?

The conservative plan involves a child care allowance, paid to every parent regardless of their tax bill. Calling it a tax break is patently dishonest.

But, hey, don't let facts get in the way of a good rant, eh?

Oh, and on a side note...

You say the Conservative plan doesn't facilitate choice in childcare. For many families, I'd agree it wouldn't. But for some, like mine, it would. You see, my wife takes care of our kids during the day, even though it's difficult financially. In April, a $350/month source of income is going to dry up for us. A child care allowance of $200 for our two kids under the age of six means my wife won't have to look for a part-time job. So the Conservative plan will facilitate at least one family's choice - and probably more marginal cases like ours.

How exactly does the Liberal plan to minimally fund one childcare option (regulated institutional care) offer more choice than that?

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Hey, I admit that the Tory plan isn't just a tax cut for parents. It's a tax cut for businesses too!

That STILL doesn't make it a "childcare plan" though.

Giving a tax cut to business that choose to set up corporate daycare centres with no regulation, no quality control and no, well, no nothing if they want... (oh, I get it, they're the "private sector" which means they're good and wholesome, and they'll always do the right thing, profit motive notwithstanding).

My point is, one tax cut does not make a childcare plan. And guess what? TWO tax cuts does not make a "childcare plan" either. Conservatives can give out tiny meaningless tax cuts which will only really help people who aren't already paying for daycare anyway, and give out MORE tax cuts to companies to set up entirely unregulated, quality-control free "childcare" centres... but none of this helps Canadians get quality childcare for their kids at reasonable prices. And if the average cost of daycare is $8000 a year (which presumably includes some small profit margin for the daycare operator) then what the Hell are we doing giving companies $2000 in pure profits??? Under the Conservative plan, companies get money to set up daycare centres. But these daycare centres won't be FREE you know. We're giving companies incentives to set up a new business which, given the state of daycare in Canada will most likely be HIGHLY profitable. How noble of us!

It's great that in addition to giving parents $25 a week, the conservatives will give private companies $10,000 per child care space created. But what do you want to bet that most companies will do their best to only SPEND $5000 per space, and pocket the rest as profit (ON TOP of the $8000 or so dollars a year they'll charge people to USE the service!!!)?.

The Conservtaive plan is hogwash. And it's not even hard to see that!

evision said...