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Message to Harper: Grow up and build a real child care program!

Colourful paper dolls billowed in the warm spring breeze as hundreds rallied on Parliament Hill yesterday to push the Harper government to build a real child care program.

Child care advocates brought thousands of paper dolls and stuffed animals to symbolize the 7,000 Ottawa children who are stuck on child care waiting lists under misguided Conservative child care policies.

The rally attracted hundreds of Ottawa child care workers, parents and kids who were joined by hundreds more CUPE Ontario members in town for their annual convention.

Speakers called for public, quality, not-for-profit early learning and child care programs across the country.

CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan noted that the lack of child care spaces is particularly problematic for new Canadians.

“How are immigrants supposed to be able to learn the ways of their new country without adequate support for their families?” he asked.

Ryan noted the symbolism of the stopped clock atop the Peace Tower, which broke earlier this week and still awaits repair.

“Let’s get the clock ticking on this government!” Ryan cried to much applause.

NDP Member of Parliament Olivia Chow warned the Conservatives that her party was going to keep the pressure on.

“Child care is not child’s play,” Chow said. “Stop playing games, Mr. Harper. Grow up and build a real child care program!”

Yesterday’s rally was a powerful reminder that the movement for child care is growing and will not let up.

See more photos in our photo gallery.