Vancouver parents, advocates to protest Harper budget’s derailing of national program
VANCOUVER — On the heels of Stephen Harper’s first step toward abandoning the long-promised national childcare initiative, Vancouver parents, childcare advocates and children will be meeting at Victoria Park in East Vancouver on Saturday (May 6) at 10:00 a.m. to speak out against the derailing of the promised national childcare program.
“The decision by Stephen Harper’s federal Conservatives to cancel five-year transfer agreements in place of a $1,200 annual subsidy represents a $4-billion dollar cut in federal funding for childcare,” says Barry O’Neill, president of CUPE BC—one of the many groups supporting the local event. From Ottawa, CUPE National president Paul Moist says that the Harper government is “essentially wiping out the first national social program in a generation.”
Randi Gurholt-Seary, a child worker and tireless advocate for national public childcare, says the event was planned to allow parents, children and childcare supporters to take some public space to admonish the new, minority government for this act.
“We are enraged with Prime Minister Harper for this disrespectful behaviour towards working families and the children who need solid public childcare now. We are disappointed and dismayed that this government is working to derail our children’s future,” says Gurholt-Seary.
The childcare train, led by the Carnival Band, will leave Victoria Park and travel through the streets of East Vancouver led by a brand new mascot designed and created for the childcare advocacy group by local artist and puppeteer Diana Jeffries.
Gurholt-Seary says, “I am continually confronted by distraught parents who are in search of quality care for their children, especially infant ant toddler care. There are just not enough centres available to parents. The wait lists are outrageous.”
The train will arrive at Grandview Park Station at Commercial Drive and Charles Street at 11:00 a.m.
The train will gather signatures to add to the on-line petition at buildchildcare.ca and to encourage support of the “Code Blue” campaign amongst those who care about childcare and who live in Conservative ridings. Supporters will be asked to demand that their MPs support the existing federal-provincial agreements and pass legislation to protect the development of a national, not-for-profit childcare program.
Andi Gurholt-Seary 604.718.5843