Daycare is expensive, and families who use it and who are struggling to make ends meet certainly deserve support, but parental childcare is equally expensive, and families who provide parental childcare deserve support equally. In my family we live frugally, struggle to make ends meet and often run out of money before the next pay cheque comes in; yet, we would be excluded from the proposed universal system ‘in support of families’, unless we are willing to give up our commitment to providing parental childcare. There are many valid reasons that families choose parental childcare (including single-parent families): These range from children suffering from severe allergies or sensory processing issues, to wanting more time together in support of parent-child connection, to a parents’ personal experience or personal beliefs. Surely, maternal childcare is still, at the very least, one of several legitimate options that a woman and her partner might choose for her family. Why, then, should support for maternal childcare be excluded from any national system ‘in support of families’? What we need is a non-discriminatory, comprehensive policy that supports all families in need – including single parent families – whatever a family’s choice in childcare. A comprehensive plan would ensure that single mothers and fathers on income assistance would not be classified as employable until their youngest child is at least legally school-aged in British Columbia (That means at least 6 years old – please note that the age used to be 12, then it was dropped down to 7, and it now sits at 3). I’m under no illusions that the Harper government gives a flying fig about the interests of poor, working class or middle class families or about women’s rights, and I certainly won’t be voting for him in the coming election. But please stop pretending that the implementation of any ‘universal system in support of families’ which would arbitrarily exclude those who practice parental childcare is not, in and of itself, completely discriminatory. Any just system in support of families must include equal support for parental childcare.
Written in response to The Province opinion piece (July 28, 2015): Child care money is just more Tory sexism