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HALIFAX, Jan. 26 /CNW/ With news that Stephen Harper’s government has not delivered any new child care spaces since his election one year ago, a coalition of Nova Scotia child care organizations and supporters says our own provincial government has been equally ineffective.

The Action Coalition on Early Childhood Education and Care (ACECEC) says working families crying out for more child care spaces can take little comfort in the MacDonald government’s performance in this area.

Coalition spokesperson Sue Wolstenholme says, “The latest figures we have (2005) show there were 132,600 children under 12 years of age in our province, of which 86,000 had mothers in the paid labour force.

“Contrast that with the total number of licensed child care spaces of just under 12,800, and you can see we have a real crisis on our hands. Of those spaces, only 2,750 were highly-coveted, subsidized spaces.

CUPE Nova Scotia President Danny Cavanagh, whose union represents child care workers in several centres, says, “When Community Services Minister Judy Streatch announced a paltry 150 new subsidized spaces a couple of months ago, this was the proverbial ‘drop in the bucket’.

Says Cavanagh, “We’ve also learned the Auditor General told the Public Accounts Committee this week that none of the most recent $20 million in federal child care money has even been spent. This is particularly disturbing, given that waiting lists for most centres in Nova Scotia are pages long, and wages for ECE Teachers are near poverty levels.”

Theresa Griffin, a researcher with the Action Coalition says, “With the money the provinces had received from the former federal Liberal government running out on March 31 of this year, families and workers in this sector desperately need to know what our own government is doing to solve this problem.

“For a government that campaigned on the slogan, ‘Our Families, Our Future’, they certainly are not addressing the crisis in child care in any meaningful way,” says Griffin.

For further information, please contact:

Sue Wolstenholme
(902) 423-6162, ext. 229

Theresa Griffin
(902) 275-2343

Danny Cavanagh
CUPE Nova Scotia President
(902) 957-0822