The NDP’s lack of support for families needing child care is no surprise for families in Dauphin, Robin, Oak River or anywhere else in Manitoba.
The NDP talks a good game on child care but the realities faced by Manitoba families point to a different story; Manitoba has a licensed child-care space for only one out of every five children in the province.
Manitoba families do not have equal access to child care across the province, and the situation varies depending on where you live. Increasingly this reality leaves Manitoba families without needed child care.
That forces parents to make other often emotionally and financially taxing child-care arrangements such as relying on friends and neighbours and utilizing unlicensed spaces.
This government’s previous five-year child-care plan achieved little. The government is developing a new daycare strategy — without the input of Manitobans who use the system.
No public consultation has taken place. No consultations are scheduled. If parents want to have their say, there is only an online form on a government website and that is not well promoted.
It’s clear the government is not interested in meaningful feedback or consultation for families who want and need daycare spaces.
The NDP failed in many areas of child-care policy.
The online child care registry is one example. Many daycare facilities aren’t using the system because wait lists still exist from before the launch of the system two years ago. The NDP has hiked fees for infants and preschool and school-aged children in daycare two years in a row. Staff retention rates are steadily decreasing and despite claims to the contrary, low-income parents are receiving less in government subsidies than ever before.
In the past, the NDP at least paid lip service to consultation with the public. Somewhere along the way, they stopped listening to you. Perhaps it’s because the NDP does not want to hear from Manitobans who are tired of a tax-and-spend government that fails to deliver child care.
Critic for Family Services
MLA for Riding Mountain
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 11, 2013