Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 29, 2004
Canada Health Act 'inspires' childcare strategy
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
While Social Development Minister Ken Dryden won't go so far as to say he's modelling the Liberal's promised national childcare strategy on the principles of the Canada Health Act, he admits, "it's certainly an inspiration."
The national childcare strategy's principles of quality, universality, accessibility and development sound similar to the principles of universality, accessibility, and comprehensiveness in the act governing medicare.
In an interview with reporters in the House of Commons foyer Nov. 16, Dryden said medicare didn't spring into being all at once, and the Canada Health Act came after much of the national health care system was already in place.
But he says his government wants to move ahead with the provinces, "knowing that these things take time" and "knowing that you want the right ambitions agreed to, to be enshrined."
When asked if parents could opt out of the system, and receive vouchers or tax breaks so a parent can remain at home to raise children, he said, "No. This is a childcare system. The money will go towards a childcare system.
"Parents have a choice as they do in education. They can decide to homeschool."
He later said the issue of vouchers had not been discussed yet.
Dryden said that programs and tax breaks already exist to help parents.
Asked if a national, state-run childcare system is better than families raising their own children, he said, "Parents are central to raising their own children. That's clear and undeniable and never in dispute.
"Child care is another option for parents," he said. "I'm sure there will be a lot of parents that wouldn't have their kids in child care every day, all day."
Dryden said that the quality of institutional childcare has gone up dramatically in the past 10 years. He projects that in another 10 years it will be much better, in terms of the number of spaces available and the training of the child care workers.
"When parents begin to experience the possibilities of what's there, that's what generates the ambition, expectation and appetite for a system," he said. "That's what happened in education."
"When parents begin to experience the possibilities of what's there, that's what generates the ambition, expectation and appetite for a system."
- Ken Dryden
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