Friday, December 16, 2005

Pass the Popcorn

Rick Mercer mentioned this in passing in his blog (Link), but I think it bares repeating: The Conservatives' proposed $1200/year childcare allowance works out to $25 a week, contrary to all the faux outrage on the Conservatives part, won't even pay for a single case of beer. So my question is, what kind of quality childcare are they expecting people to be able to afford from private providers for that amount of money?

The proposed amount is not enough money for those who need it, and is indeed just extra cash in the bank for those who don't (the actual target of the beer and popcorn money comment wasn't irresponsible lower-income parents but upper-income families who didn't need the money.)

So the actual number of people who would benefit from this scheme is some small wedge of people somewhere in the middle, whereas with the Liiberals and NDP's proposals for childcare, everyone benefits equally by a full-fledged system.

In the U.S. the conservatives have let the public school system rot away to such a state to make vouchers look like a viable alternative, but in Canada, fortunatley, we haven't gotten there yet, and the idea still looks ludicrous.

Update: My last post on the subject is here: Link.

By al - 11:32 AM |

Comments:
For the purposes of this debate, are we assuming everyone wishes to farm their kids out to daycare?
 
No, some can stay home and share the popcorn, to be sure.
 
The unfortunate reality is the average familly of 2 children cannot provide for their children on minimum wage or even 4-5$ more an hour than minimum wage. The rearing of children is increadibly expensive (not including day care. Food which is only cheap if you don't mind eating garbage. Food has gotten so expensice and I fear it will only get worse. Then clothing with the rate that children grow keeping them clothed is crazy, even when going to a second had store. Now with the rising price of heating fuel and rent for a small three bed room appartment approching $800 a month. Add on to that the number of time a child will get sick in the run of year and their school books and you have some pretty heaftly cash eaters. The $25 a week is a laughable suggestion. $25 a week for day care isn't enough to buy food for children for 2 days.
When I was younger I would make $2.00/hour for babysitting, I don't know what the current rates are but the $25 would pay for 3 days of a 12 year watching your children for 8 hours a day back in 1990. Who the hell are they kidding.
 
I read a stat somewhere recently -- I don't know how accurate it is, because it seems low -- but it said only 13% of families send their kids to "institutional daycare", or whatever you want to call it. The rest are cared for in their homes, or the homes of others, by a parent, relatives or hired help, or by some other arrangement. What's in the Liberal plan for the other 87%? I can't speak for anyone else, but I have two kids under six which would fetch me $2400/year. We tried the oldest in daycare when he was one but he didn't like it and neither did we. My wife has spent the better part of three years either on maternity or working only part-time so she could be at home as much as possible. We found a wonderful woman who we pay to look after the kids when needed, which at the moment is only three mornings per week. $1200/week is not intended to cover the full cost of having your child cared for, but in my case it would sure help a lot. Even the Quebec model, which the Liberals want to emulate, is not free. It's costs $7/day plus additional fees. And consider this... in Quebec many daycares have waiting lists 900 names long! http://tinyurl.com/achv7
There is no perfect solution to daycare, it is a personal choice and sometimes a sacrifice that needs to be made on an individual basis. But ignoring people who do not choose the government sanctioned institutional model, and encouraging the separation of children from their parents (or at least providing an incentive, or little choice) is the worst of the options in my opinion.
 
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