Speaking Out on Child Care

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, after 12 years of broken Liberal promises, parents are desperate for child care solutions. Canadian families do not want vague promises. They want a sustainable, legislated not for profit program; a safe place for their kids.

The Minister of Social Development might be famous for the number of pucks that he stopped but on this one he is leaving the net wide open to big buck operators. It is sort of a business opportunity on kids.

Why has he failed to deliver even the basic elements of a national child care program and why is he leaving it wide open for the for profits to move in and take it away?

Hon. Ken Dryden (Minister of Social Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, what we are trying to do in the area of early learning and child care is to make a breakthrough that has not happened for the last 20 years or more, and that is to move something from fragments, from very good individual parts, but to something that really represents a system with the ambitions of a system and the expectations of a system so that children in this country can have the kind of early learning and child care development that can come from that sort of assistance.

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, it begs the question: Exactly what is the government trying to do? What kind of breakthrough are we are talking about? None of the basic elements are there in terms of the money, not for profit, enshrined in legislation, accessibility, affordability. Just what is the breakthrough that we are talking about?

The minister is creating a system that will allow big buck operators to move in on our kids. Is that what the government calls a breakthrough?

Hon. Ken Dryden (Minister of Social Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, our intention is to create a system that has quality across the country. Our focus is on quality, delivering quality for parents and for young kids in their early development; working with the people across the country in small towns and in bigger places; work with what we are, improve what we are and to create this system.