A little rant about daycare, and women and work.

I’m a bit stunned that in this day and age in Canada, the Minister of Human Resources would go on record as saying that people pushing for a national daycare program are people who don’t want to have to raise their own kids. Moreover, the notion that $100 a month buys parents a choice between staying at home and raising their own kids or putting them in childcare is bizarre. When the average daycare cost per child in BC is $700 per month (and I think that’s a bargain price because I know people who have paid much more) – it’s laughable for the government to go on record claiming that $100 towards that gives anyone a choice about anything.

The reality is – Minister Finley – most families would love to have reduced working hours to spend more time with each other and less time in transit/work and daycare situations – but the reality is that Canadians do not have high incomes and in almost all cases require two parents to work to make ends meet. For those women and men in single-parenting situations there is no choice at all and your $100 per month does little to offset the stress that these families find themselves under.

Seventy percent of Canadian women with children have them in daycare and early childhood education – almost none of which is publicly run or funded even though countless studies show that the demand is there and that a public option is safer and cheaper than the patchwork of inadequate and substandard facilities that make up much of what parents are forced to choose as daycare for their children.

As far as I see it – there are two choices here

  1. Ante up for a functional, national and public childcare system (like Quebec’s $7 per day spots) or
  2. Guarantee a family living wage whether one or two parents are working that allows for one or both adults to stay home full or part time at a dignified level of income until their children are school age.

I’m pretty sure that the 1st option is going to turn out to be easier to administer and cheaper to fund than the 2nd.

I mean, that’s if you want to support families in Canada instead of browbeating, denigrating and generally misrepresenting working people who are raising kids at the same time. As far as I can tell the Conservatives mainly want women out of the workforce but not on welfare (heavens no!), while at the same time claiming the need to expand the foreign worker program because there aren’t enough “Canadians” to do the work that needs to be done. Which added up all together makes no sense. None. And these folks are running the country? I hope not for much longer.

And one other thing – Daycare is not a women’s issue. Daycare is a family and a social issue that needs to be taken seriously by all parties. Women are not secondary in the workforce or in our family economies any longer – many of us are the sole or larger income earners as our economic base has changed from resource/labour to knowledge/social work. I know. I know – it’s so much easier to marginalize an issue when you make it one of our *female problems* but it’s not an honest reflection of where we are at socially to keep treating children like they only belong to women and women like they belong in the home. *Sigh*

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