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Day-care debate not child's play


Stephane Dion and Jack Layton vied with each other this week in tossing around a lot of rhetoric about what they plan to spend creating day-care spaces. Voters, however, need to understand that much of what they're saying is razzle-dazzle, for they have no unilateral power to create spaces at the wave of a hand or the writing of a cheque.

The NDP is promising to spend $1.45 billion in its first program year to create 150,000 day-care spaces. The Liberals pledge $1.25 billion a year to create 165,000 spaces. They also vow they'll double the Harper government's payments of $100 a month to parents of kids under six

In reality, child care is a provincial jurisdiction and each province delivers it differently, says Jenny Robinson, a spokesperson for the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada. If legislation approving the setting aside of such funds is passed, under a Dion or Layton government, then according to bilateral agreements already in place, the federal government must sit down at the negotiating table with each province and talk about how that money is to be spent.

It's easy to throw out dollar figures for day-care spaces that could take years to materialize -- that money is much more productive in parents' hands


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