Statistics Canada says there were approximately 1.7 million children under age 5 in Canada in 2004.
Assuming that just half of these children are in some sort of childcare arrangement (that would be 850,000 - a modest estimate) and assuming that all of the children in daycare were only there part-time --- that would still bring the yearly cost of 'universal' childcare to $3.4 billion/year. Daycare and government experts say that about 70% of children under five are in daycare.
The government has made a committment of just $5.1 billion over five years.
The Liberals continue to evade the real issue. Given the choice of being at home with their children, or leaving them to be raised by strangers, most parents would choose for one parent to be at home with the kids.
Given the choice between staying at home with the kids and having government workers at government facilities raise their children, my guess is even more families would have one parent at home.
The current Liberal plan takes into account today's reality, without addressing the fact that most parents are dissatisfied with this reality. Most new parents want one of them (usually the mother) to stay home with baby. Most parents of babies and school age children agree that even as the kids grow up and enter their teen years, a parent's presence in the home before and after school is just as important. Most parents have to work anyway.
Childcare is not a choice for most people; it is a necessity. It has become a necessity not because parents want to leave their babies with other people, but because punitive tax laws, over-taxation and other anti-family policies make it that way.
The government should be making it easier for parents to take the primary role of teaching and nurturing their children, rather than mandating a 'universal system' whereby parents have to make a financial sacrifice to stay home with their kids -- all parents know they will be sacrificing that extra paycheque --- but it shouldn't cost them more in taxes to make that choice.
I know that often one parent can't stay home with the kids -- sometimes there is only one parent. Yes, make daycare affordable for single parents and for low income families. But if a family chooses for one parent to stay home with their children, whenever possible -- it should be financially feasible -- not punished through higher taxation.
In todays high-tech, fast-paced, pop culture world, our children are only little for such a short time. Their tender years are fleeting and we already miss so much with the frenetic pace of everyday life. They'll have so many years to learn, to work, to become 'socialized'.
I want my children to learn their values at home -- not government values in an institutional setting.
I want them to remember summertime the way I had it. Rolling out of bed, throwing on some shorts and playing outside until we were hungry, then going back outside 'til the streetlights came on.
I want to know my kids better than some 'caregiver' does.
When my kids need a hug, I want them to reach for me.
Whatever the government does or doesn't do about daycare doesn't affect me because my kids are tweens and teens, but when they are old enough, I want them to have the option for one parent to stay at home with their kids.
Life is so short and nobody ever died wishing their kids had spent more time at daycare.
I resent the government trying to take those baby years from us, rather than helping to find a way to give them back.