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Minister silent on child-care paper [CA-ON]

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Publication Date: 
15 Nov 2001

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Social Services Minister John Baird had nothing to say yesterday about a confidential government document that envisions gutting child-care programs.

But child-care advocates want Baird to state publicly the ideas in the document won't be pursued. If not, they are calling for Baird's resignation.

The report, dated last month and obtained by The Star, says ministry staff were asked to develop policy options for regulated child care if more than 40 per cent of the $470 million budget is sliced.

"We take no comfort in the assurance from ministry staff that this document hasn't gone to the minister.... Bureaucrats don't develop these type of documents without being ordered to by the minister," said Mary-Anne Bedard, the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care's executive director.

Jane Mercer, executive co-ordinator of the Toronto Coalition for Better Child Care, said the provincial government was "way, way out of touch with what Ontario families want" by even contemplating such cuts.

Baird's spokesperson, Dan Miles, said the document was a preliminary draft that was never seriously considered. Baird wasn't answering questions because it was a "dead issue."

- reprinted from The Toronto Star.