DAUPHIN, MB – The opposition parties should force changes to the May 2 federal budget if it fails to include ongoing funding for a national child care and early learning program, says Canada’s largest union.
“Opposition parties should work together to change any budget that doesn’t provide at least $1.2 billion per year for child care funding each year until 2010,” said CUPE National President Paul Moist. “That’s what was promised to Canadians and to the provinces. That’s what we’ve all been counting on.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s first budget will be widely scrutinized for his rigid adherence to a badly flawed child care and early learning model, Moist said.
“Harper’s plan to give tax breaks to his corporate friends to build new child care spaces just won’t work,” he said. “This flawed plan didn’t work when Mike Harris tried it in Ontario, and it won’t work today.”
Moist said the provinces and territories are counting on the money and warned they stand to lose if Harper axes the funding after 2007. Manitoba alone stands to lose $126 million per year.
Moist also blasted the Conservative scheme to hand parents $1200 per year, noting that low- and middle-income families will receive far less than that. After tax, and with the scrapping of the young-child supplement of the Canada Child Tax Benefit, parents will be left with one or two dollars per day.
“It’s outrageous that the federal government will be giving more child care money to upper-income families than those more in need,” said Moist. “The Conservatives should increase the Canada Child Tax Benefit – not punish parents by cutting it back,” Moist said.
A single parent or two-earner couple with employment income of $30,000 in Manitoba will get a net benefit of roughly $33 per month after taxes, Moist noted. But a family with an income of $100,000 and one spouse at home would get a net benefit of about $66.50 per month.
Moist will address CUPE Manitoba delegates assembled at Credit Union Place in Dauphin, tomorrow, April 27, at 10:00 am. His remarks coincided with the Manitoba Child Care Association’s “Early Childhood Education Week”.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees represents 550,000 women and men delivering front-line public services.
Paul Moist, National President, cell (613) 558-2873
Claude Généreux, National Secretary-Treasurer (porte-parole francophone), cell (514) 884-5074
David Robbins CUPE Communications, cell (613) 878-1431