The issue of child care is attracting a great deal of attention as Parliament debates the proposed Budget and its proposed National Child Care plan. Across Canada people are outraged that Hon. Ken Dryden, Minister of Social Development, says that kids are better off in daycare than in parental care. The federal government has had to drop control of funding and defining “child care”. But it has not yet told the provinces that they cannot discriminate against parental child care when it comes to funding.

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  • That most daycares have vacancies?
  • That “wait lists” are bogus measurements?
  • That funding daycare financially benefits higher income families more and hurts lower income families?
  • That the daycare lobbyists are funded by Mr. Dryden’s ministry?

Kids First defines “child care” as “ the care of a child.” And we know that “every mother is a working mother.” Care-giving is essential to the existence of society. Kids First seeks political, social and economic respect and support for this work and all those who do it.

However, political leaders, not one of whom is the primary caregiver of a child, have difficulty getting their heads around these simple truths. “Child care” means “daycare” in laws and policies affecting funding. And “work” means participating full-time in GDP enhancing activities.

Women will have achieved meaningful equality when…

  • Equality is not measured by pay-cheques
  • Equality is not measured by the percentage of female politicians, CEOs, welders, astronauts, professors, PhDs, lawyers, surgeons, Olympic medallists, Nobel prize winners
  • It is understood that care-giving puts limits on mobility and time. So those who do it, mostly mothers, cannot compete on a level playing field with those who don’t do it
  • Our leaders apologize to and then thank parents and other unpaid caregivers and financially support our work by redistributing income through the tax system
  • Creating a world fit for children is the goal of political parties, not expanding the GDP
  • Our laws respect the facts of life: only women can do the essential work of childbearing and breastfeeding, and it is mostly women who do the vast majority of the child-rearing work
  • Women will be equal when we are honoured and supported for what we actually are and do and not for what someone in a position of power thinks we should be and do

Helen Ward (BC), President, Kids First Parent Association of Canada

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