Editorial off-base on public childcare system

By Sharon Gregson, [Prince George] Citizen

Re: Take care of your own kids, editorial June 19

In response to your diatribe against the $10/day child care plan… of course parents take care of their own kids and child-care services support families.

Do you see it as the job of government to invest in schools, libraries, fire halls, LNG development and hospitals but not child care spaces?

Clearly you must not be aware of the economic benefits that come from the $10/day child care plan.

Economists, such as Dr. Pierre Fortin, have proven that investment in the Quebec $7/day child care system pays for itself. More mothers working – who pay income taxes to government and spend their paycheques and pay sales taxes – have covered the costs of the Quebec investment.

UBC experts agree the $10/day child care plan will benefit the B.C. economy, business and parents. The Surrey Board of Trade endorsed the $10/day plan and supporters now represent well over one million British Columbians. Municipal governments, school boards, labour, business, anti-poverty groups, early childhood organizations, social justice and women’s equality groups, parents, academics and grandparents agree the $10/day child care plan is a solution to the child care crisis.

B.C. mothers whose youngest child is age three to 15 have the lowest workforce participation in the country and second lowest for mothers whose child is under two. Ask a young mom on welfare how hard it is to find and afford child care so that she can get a job. Ask a nurse returning to work from maternity leave how hard it is to find child care for rotating shifts, ask a mum who works as a lawyer or a cashier – they’ll all tell you child care is a problem because of high cost and long waiting lists.

The crisis in B.C. is real. Parent fees have reached $1,915/month per child in some cities and waiting lists are in the thousands.

Parents who use child care are still raising their kids themselves. Nobel prize-winning economist, Dr. James Heckman, says we all benefit when kids have a healthy start in life. Kids are better prepared for school, higher graduation rates, fewer teenage pregnancies, higher life-time earnings and better life-time health. Those are good investments for all of us, unless of course Mick is suggesting that only rich people should be allowed to have kids?