OTTAWA The federal government is promising a national child care program but it must also ensure that the provinces and territories deliver public care, CUPE National President Paul Moist said on the eve of the Throne Speech.
We are heading for 13 separate health care systems across this country, the CUPE leader said. Will we also have 13 child care systems?
CUPE is also concerned that the New Deal for cities will lead to increased privatization through public private partnerships, which will further divide our communities.
Without federal assurances that child care is universal and not-for-profit, whats to stop the provinces and territories from taking the $5 billion and running? Moist added, arguing that the federal government must monitor, report and enforce a universal, not-for-profit program.
We welcome the money but we cant support a diminished role for the federal government, he said. Martin must ensure universal access to quality public child care.
We wont move this country forward with Ottawa handing out cash without accountability and enforcement, said Moist, pointing to the recent health care agreement as a poor model for the new federalism.
A central goal of a new federally funded child care program should be to give all children, regardless of family income, a good start in life, he said. This goal gets lost when you talk about a targeted program.
In addition, the program needs to address the fact that women bear the brunt of inadequate child care. They are either pushed out of the work force and into poverty or they do double duty as poorly paid workers and unpaid care-givers.
Regarding the expected comments in the Throne Speech about the New Deal for cities, Moist said, Canadas crumbling infrastructure needs a $60 billion cash infusion. The countrys mayors have already warned that the Liberals $2 billion Band-Aid over five years is not enough and its too slow.
Worse, this Band-Aid will strain under the weight of corporate profits in so-called public private partnerships unless Martin shows leadership and keeps infrastructure renewal in public hands, Moist said.
Tomorrows Throne Speech falls on Communities Day, a CUPE-led initiative to increase pressure on governments to meet the needs of communities across the country.
Paul Moist, CUPE national president, cell (613) 558-2873
David Robbins, CUPE Communications, cell (613) 878-1431