Prepare for more child care hysteria
I don't want to alarm anyone or start a panic, but letters from -- gulp! -- A CORPORATION have been sent to the owners of some private day-care centres:
Form letters, written by Texas businessmen fronting the Canadian expansion, have been arriving in the mailboxes of dozens of private daycare operators asking if they want to be evaluated with a view to selling.Dozens of letters! Imagine!
It's all part of a rapid global expansion by Groves' ABC Learning Centres, which last year added about 1,000 U.S. centres to its empire.
"We represent a large financial/child care group purchasing child care centres across Ontario," the letter reads. "Are you ready to see what your business is worth in today's market? The process is simple and all information is confidential ... If the centre meets our criteria we will make you an offer."
Oh, what the heck, let's panic:
These developments threaten a sea change from the child care environment we now know in Canada. Multi-national child care uses economies of scale and corporate integration of services to open the floodgates to commercial care across Canada. (link)A quick pass through most of the Union sites that are responsible for these dire quotes would leave you with the impression that once ABC has a tiny foothold here, their tentacles will quickly stretch across the country, strangling all competition and leaving no other possible options for parents looking for childcare. Big box daycares will stand next to freeway interchanges, where parents will use an efficient drive-through system to deposit their bar-coded, jump-suit wearing children onto conveyor belts leading to their pens. The media will no doubt report these fearful predictions with little skepticism and will completely overlook the self-interest the unions have in making them. They are greatly invested in creating a vast government run bureaucracy with no place for private operators. Why else -- after years of complaining about the lack of childcare spaces -- did they petition Dalton McGuinty today to (among other things):
"Basing the care and education of our children on the corporate model where the greatest return for shareholders, increasing profit margins and global expansion is the rule of the corporation will hurt children and families," said Bird. "We have a clear message today. Canada's children are not for sale."
"It's a Wal-Martization of daycare in Canada," said Liberal critic Ruby Dhalla. (link)
Salma Malik, from Dalhousie Parents Day Care, was alarmed to hear about the poor quality and the high costs of child care for parents in Australia. "Parent fees have risen by 123 per cent in Australia over the past fifteen years. I can't imagine how full-fee families could afford these kinds of increases and think the province should ensure that parents are not left to the mercy of corporate giants jacking up parent fees to increase their profit margins," asserted Malik. (link)
“Foreign ownership of Canadian child care will kill the dream of a pan-Canadian child care system,” says Jody Dallaire, chairperson of the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada. “Our children and families deserve quality, accessible, community-based child care not some gigantic off-shore warehouse operation.” (link)
- Immediately introduce a moratorium on any further licensing of child care programs;I complained about Eddy Groves and ABC a couple of years ago:
Eddy Groves is not an 'entrepreneur' in the sense that he developed a useful product or service, he just saw that the government was prepared to firehose money in a certain direction and he positioned himself to get a good soaking. He's a corporate welfare beneficiary.Still true, but I'd rather his company here, continually having to meet government standards and the expectations and needs of the parents, rather than a monolithic, inefficient, union-run 'early-learning' system.
UPDATE: Now that I think about it, perhaps ABC has some inside information that McGuinty is planning to turn on a childcare firehose in Ontario. Watching the corporations and the unions fighting over the money should be a good show.
Cross-posted (a first!) at the Broom. Darcey is planning a big box domination of the Canadian blogosphere. Resistance is useless!