Star pushes for a daycare system that doesn’t add up

- February 7th, 2011

The Toronto Star is on a crusade to get a national daycare program for Canada whether parents want one or not.

The Star has been spending the last few days writing editorials, columns and columns pretending to be news stories as they push their agenda along. Make no mistake that this is an agenda because only the facts that fit the story line the Star wants to tell you are facts that are fit to print.

Let’s start with the math. The Star it seems is bad at math. That’s okay, lots of journalists opted to work in their chosen field after a visit to the guidance counselor in high school where they asked for a job with no math.

According to The Star one of the Harper government’s first acts was to kill off the Liberal national daycare program, a move that left many parents, “grieving an untimely death.” Only in The Star do people grieve government spending programs.
The Liberal plan was to give $1 billion a year, slightly less than the annual cost of the CBC, to provincial governments to build a national program. We’ll get back to the fact that this was never a national daycare plan in a bit but for now the math.

The Conservatives replaced this program with their own plan where parents would get a $100 monthly payment for each child under the age of six. The Liberals, and The Star, say this doesn’t amount to anything useful for parents. Now, watch the math closely everyone.

The Conservative plan costs $2.6 billion per year, the Liberal plan cost $1 billion.

Do you see the difference?

The Conservative government is spending 2.6 times as much money as the Liberals would have. To put that through the five year plan, using The Star’s own numbers, the Conservative plan has spent $12 billion in the same time that the Liberals would have spent $5 billion.

The Liberal promise was always a system that followed the QUAD principle – Quality, Universality, Accessibility, Developmental.

The key in that formula, when considering costs is the second part, universality. The Liberals are still saying to this day that the

Conservative plan doesn’t do enough and is a pittance. Yet the Liberals claim they could have built a universal plan to far less money?

It simply isn’t true.

In fact look at the numbers from The Star. While the Universal Child Care Benefit goes out to 2 million pre-schoolers a year, The Star tries to say that if the Conservative cheques had been spent on a socialized system instead of allowing parents to spend the money on anything they want, as Ken Dryden put it, then there would be, “high quality child care for another 500,000 children by now.”

See that slight of hand? We went from a universal program to a program that serves one in four children.

Staying with The Star’s math….

In addition to the $2.6 billion the Conservative government gives to parents there is another $1.2 billion given to the provinces for their daycare systems and the government provides another $760 million in tax breaks for parents who pay for daycare. So in total we’re talking $4.5 billion a year from the federal treasury to pay for child care expenses and the advocates say it is not enough.

How much would a proper system cost to satisfy the advocates? $20 billion from the feds plus money from the provinces and municipalities?

Those are just the money problems with The Star’s series. I haven’t even touched on other issues that I’ll try to come back to in the next few days like….

Is it the government’s job to pay for your child rearing?

Why is the option pushed by The Star, the Liberals and the NDP the one least favoured by parents?

Why are we pushing for a national program for social service that belongs to the provinces and constitutionally the feds can never run?
Oh and why does The Star link horrible tragedies to the “lack” of a national daycare program when those same tragedies happen in Quebec’s provincial system as well?

Categories: Statism

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5 comments

  1. David Hitesman says:

    Well put! The Conservatives need to publicize all the good work they’ve been doing during the past five years. It’s actually quite a long list despite the fact it’s a minority government.

  2. The Conservative plan costs $2.6 billion per year, the Liberal plan cost $1 billion.
    Do you see the difference?

    Yes I do see the difference. The difference is that the Conservative plan is costly and ineffective. Not surprising when you consider costly and ineffective is pretty much SOP for the Conservatives.

  3. Susan says:

    I agree with some of it but as a working mother I feel this Conservative Government is totally out of touch with families.
    I think the Liberal’s found their mojo with the ” Family ” plan as it really resonates with a very large number of the population.
    Immigrants, non immigrants etc.
    At the end of the day, families are a fundamental part of society but completely ignored by Stephen Harper and his Government.
    Wake up, childcare & family care is an issue most families struggle with.
    Help families !!

  4. John L says:

    I think it speaks volumes than neither the Liberals nor the NDP nor the Star have ever been able to articulate exactly how they’d deliver the plan they claim to be in favour of, nor even the foggiest estimate of the costs.

    Either they don’t know or they’re afraid to tell Canadians.

    I’d be a little more impressed if some of the comments actually pointed out the flaws in Brian’s comment rather than simply claiming the Con’s plan was “flawed”. As he points out neither the Liberals nor the NDP have ever offered to fund the plan they’re trying to foist on us.

  5. John L says:

    Thanks for this piece, Brian.

    I’ve always been amazed at the mileage the Liberals are able to get out of their “national childcare program” without anyone in the media actually running the numbers to see if it passes the smell test. As you point out the Liberals actually offered far less money, benefited a small percentage of the kids and made no committment to providing the real amount of funding to fully implement. I suspect the problem is mostly that the endstate cost would be so high they’re terrified at telling Canadians.

    As to the provines all signing on I’ve read that’s because Dryden didn’t include a provision that they match funding this time around.

    In any event I hope you’re not alone in taking a very careful look at what the Liberals are actually offering; it appears to be a massive runup in government spending.

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