Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 28, 2005
Grits' daycare policy challenged
Swedes join fight against national daycare program
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
Leaders of a grassroots movement to stop the federal government's national daycare program rallied on Parliament Hill Nov. 21, urging Ottawa to "fund the child" instead so parents can chose the child care model best for their children.
The national Fund the Child coalition has joined forces with a Swedish movement to dismantle that country's universal daycare system, a model often touted by the Liberal government.
Some municipalities in Sweden, including two in the Stockholm area, will soon be sending childcare funding directly to parents, so families can choose either to have a parent stay at home, pay a close relative to look after a child or pay for daycare, according to coalition leaders.
"Universal daycare has proven to be nothing short of a social experiment gone awry," said Kate Tennier, founder of Ontario's Advocates for Childcare Choice.
Helen Ward of Burnaby, B.C., accused the government of sponsoring the daycare lobby and using a "campaign of misinformation" to mount an "ideological agenda" to create the "public child."
Kids First Canada
The head of Kids First Canada, Ward pointed out that the often-used statistic that 70 per cent of mothers are in the paid workforce gives a skewed picture because the figure includes mothers who do unpaid work in a family business, are on unpaid parental leave, are unemployed but looking for a job, are doing paid work from home, or are working part time.
The groups are calling for a moratorium on the implementation of the Liberals' national daycare program and on the funding of the daycare lobby.
The Fund the Child coalition is threatening to join Swedish counterparts in their formal complaint to the United Nations that the Swedish daycare program violates the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which says children have a right to be raised by their parents.
"No one form of child care should be placed above all others," said Yvonne Coupel, Fund the Child's Quebec coordinator.
"Quebec's daycare network has been in place for eight years and contains important information," she said. "Before settling on an inflexible, discriminatory child care system, it is imperative that we be cautious where our children are concerned.
Tennier said she believes the majority of Canadians support the coalition's view on child care choice. She pointed to a Vanier Institute for the Family study which found 90 per cent say their first choice is to have a parent look after the children.
The group's website fundthechild.tripod.com states institutional daycare programs discriminate against families who do not or cannot use them because no spaces are available.