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Government has no place in the playrooms of our nation

Most of available information on the Liberal's proposed daycare plan is positive. This is to be expected. It's written by the government, the unions, and various special interest groups funded by the government and unions. For example, there's Child Care Canada, which "receives funding from Social Development Partnerships, Social Development Canada, for which we are most appreciative." I'll bet. And Build Child Care, a lobby group funded by CUPE.

But there's no real focus for opposition to the great shambling monster Ken Dryden is trying to construct. The Tories have their own plan -- which is more sensible, though probably unnecessary as well -- but are too caught up with the distraction of same-sex marriage to give it much attention. I haven't found any other organized opposition to public day care on the web.

But there should be. And to start it off, the case has to be built against it. The proponents of it have had plenty of government money to produce reports and studies that confirm their position. I have nothing but my laptop, Google, and a bit of common sense. But nevertheless, here are my reasons to oppose government run child care in Canada:

Expense. Well, obviously. This is the big reason. To build the system as envisioned by the unions ('public and not-for-profit') would be horrendously expensive. Even a less ideologically-driven and more practical approach (direct subsidies) would be tremendously costly. The C$5 billion Ken Dryden is playing around with right now is just seed money to get things started. Operating expenses when the whole thing is up and running would be -- according to my calculations -- lots and lots and lots...

Fraud. Any time the government spills out great streams of cash, much of it seems to trickle through fingers and leak through the floorboards. This is the probable destination of much of the first C$5 billion. Very little of it will be paid to people to watch over children. But when the system is up and running there'll be fraud to contend with too. Whenever you have a payment structure where a third party is paying the bills for an exchange of services, the first two parties will often collude to take as much as they can from the payer. The insurance industry is cursed by it. Even the Canadian health system has this problem, and attempts to deal with it by randomly asking patients if they received the services that were performed in their name. But the government is powerless if both provider and receiver are working together.

Unfair competition. There are many people involved in the child care industry in Canada today. Many of them run their own mom-and-pop daycares and manage to make a living. If the government comes in with their 'non-profit' centers or complex requirements for subsidies, some of them are going to get run out of business.

The bad message to parents. One of the conceits that is seen time and again when reading the pro-child care system literature, is the idea that kids today are not being raised properly -- and that they have all the right solutions. Here's Ken Dryden:

[W]e know how important the early years are to our learning life. We want and need our kids to do better. And we know how.
Well, sorry Ken. I don't want you looking after my kids and filling their heads with mush. It scares me more than you can imagine, and I hope it scares a lot of other parents too. It may seem hard to believe, but all the reams of reports and studies and procedure manuals you will produce will never contain the secrets to raising children. It can never be done better by the government.

Union handcuffs. CUPE and their supporters say they want non-profit, public daycares. They also want unionized daycares. Once dependency on the system is established, the threat to withdraw their services would give them enormous power over the government.

Inability. The gun registry. The crumbling health system. The joke that is our immigration system. The disaster that is aboriginal affairs. HRDC. The looming Kyoto mess. The sponsorship scandal. These guys are terrible managers. Can anyone believe that if this child care plan goes through, it won't be another extremely expensive, absolutely ineffective boondoggle? If you were a bank manager and were asked to loan these guys money, given the track record they had, would you do it? I can understand that within government there must be a sense that if they can just find a nice place untouched by the previous SNAFUs, they can do it right this time. They're fooling themselves -- but they're not fooling Canadians. (Well, not all of them.)

There's a few other reasons, but I'll write about them another time. If anyone can think of others, or has some interesting information I don't know about, add them in the comments. I want to try to start drawing a strong argument together.

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Comments

Who else has tried this? Are there successful models in other countries? Or, for that matter, disastrous models? And what about the Quebec government's efforts to provide universal, subsidized daycare -- how's that working out, anyway?

Right on. Couldn't have said it better myself; the absolute last thing this country needs is another entitlement program.

Sadly, I think the chances of stopping this are poor, at best. I doubt many Canadians imagine the program will be remotely successful. The problem is, we've become so inured to the inept implementation of the liberals' grandiose schemes that most people will quietly assume it will fail, and otherwise not give it much thought. The alternative - to stand up to the unions and pressure groups, and defend oneself against charges of not having the childrens' best interests at heart - simply isn't the Canadian way.

So much for the reality check. Now down to business.

Of all the various points you raise, the two best avenues of attack are, I think, the bad parenting aspect, and the pocketbook issue. Concentrate, first, on the government's implied message that "We don't trust you to raise your own kids." Point out that just getting the program started will cost every Canadian, on average, about $170, pushing Tax Freedom Day another day or two away for most Canadians. Then, note that with the taxes required to fund 'free' daycares, that many more single income households will be forced to become dual income ... with the toddlers being bundled off to unionized daycares because mommy can't afford to stay home and look after them.

I don't think reason is really the way to go, though. It's too easy for the other side to use emotion (Why won't you think of the children!?), and as conservatives have experienced time and again, emotion always wins. So, I say go the same way. A web-ad with screaming children in a run-down looking daycare, being tended to be harried-looking union staff who, one can tell just by looking at their eyes, really couldn't give a rat's ass about the screaming brats. The ads could be made with photoshop or flash, at first, disseminated through the red ensign blogs, and (who knows) maybe even influence a few people.

Anyhow, that's my $0.02 for now.

alexa: Last I heard, they resorted to rationing in Quebec.

Australia has a nat'l program and they are up in arms [the unions that is] about a very successful private corporation that runs hundreds[?] of daycares across the nation.

Bottom line there: too expensive.

I like the suggestion of the web campaign of ads with messy moppets and surly unionized daycare workers. Moms everywhere are already feeling guilty enough as it is.

Aweful to fight fire with fire but can we afford to let this nightmare program get off the ground?

Solution to all government program problems: less government programs, less taxes, more choice and responsibilty for citizens.

Dream the dream...

I suggest Bruce you also set up some template letter like this one to fight back. You need some traction and that means some play. You have some bravuro though for thinking that you actually have the right to decide what's best for your child. shame on you

http://www.actionworks.ca/clientfiles/cupe/actioncentres/childcare/ridingselect.jsp

The Quebec system is pretty basic. They subsidize anyone meeting their (pretty thin) standards to the tune of $17 a day. To get that money, the daycares have to offer their services for $7. There's loopholes to this -- the daycare my kids go to twice a week charges $15/day and still gets the subsidy. The extra charges are for 'educational services' and organic food (which I would really prefer they didn't have). But the no frills service only pays $24/day. (I'm guessing the government also offers some kind of blanket insurance policy.)

$24/day isn't a lot. If you have a ratio of 6 kids/worker, it's not even $150 -- and you have to pay food and other expenses as well. This is the reason spots are so hard to find in Quebec and why no terrible, 'for-profit' chains have set up -- the money isn't there.

But even this miserable subsidy with the shortages it creates, costs the Quebec government over a billion dollars a year. To get this universal system Ken Dryden dreams of -- I can't imagine the cost.

How do people feel about government funding for privately - owned, profit making daycare centres?

The three instances of "successful" day care institutions run by governments that come to mind are the Hitler Youth of Nazi Germany, and the Red Guard units of Soviet Russia and Communist China. At the root of all three were the same force - totalitarian socialism.

Methinks Ken Dryden must have got hit by one too many pucks.

Bruce wrote, "I haven't found any other organized opposition to public day care on the web."
Well, here's an anti-daycare website, does that help?

This "Daycares Don't Care" website is a very large collection of problems inherent with daycares."

Per Rod's comment, it also has a history section that describes daycare's Socialist origins...

I operate a licenced home daycare. I currently earn aproximately 13,000/year profit . I have my early childhood education certification and meet all licencing requirements. But the unions and the feds wish to keep us out of child care program because I am considered for profit. A salary of 13,000year is not big money, this is what I live on. I don't have the big expensive child care centre and I don't have the lobbying power of the large daycare centres. What I do have is parents who are happy to bring there children to a loving home, with quality programming, healthy meals, and individualized attention that the centres don't have with a low adult to child ratio of 1 to 5, compared to 1to 10 in a centre. The are thousands of people like myself across the country, without the voice that governments who will listen to. I wrote letters months ago to my provincial and federal ministers. What can people like myself do to be heard?

I get to meet with Ken Dryden soon. I plan to raise the issues you have all been writing above.
I want the inequities removed so all parents get funding if any do, and so daycare is not the preferred way to raise kids but only one option among many.

ANy other suggestions?
Please do write to me
bevgsmith@alumni.ucalgary.ca
Beverley Smith
past president
Kids First Parent Assoc of Canada
http://www.kidsfirstcanada.org

I get to meet with Ken Dryden soon. I plan to raise the issues you have all been writing above.
I want the inequities removed so all parents get funding if any do, and so daycare is not the preferred way to raise kids but only one option among many.

ANy other suggestions?
Please do write to me
bevgsmith@alumni.ucalgary.ca
Beverley Smith
past president
Kids First Parent Assoc of Canada
http://www.kidsfirstcanada.org

I get to meet with Ken Dryden soon. I plan to raise the issues you have all been writing above.
I want the inequities removed so all parents get funding if any do, and so daycare is not the preferred way to raise kids but only one option among many.

ANy other suggestions?
Please do write to me
bevgsmith@alumni.ucalgary.ca
Beverley Smith
past president
Kids First Parent Assoc of Canada
http://www.kidsfirstcanada.org

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