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Quebec's association of daycare centres has presented a 107,000 signature petition to the National Assembly aimed at maintaining the province's universal $5 a day daycare program.
Deputy families minister Carole Théberge has refused to rule out a rise in the cost of daycare fees. She repeated the government's objective to create 3,000 new daycare spots by the fall, and said that all scenarios are still being considered.
The head of the Opposition, Bernard Landry, has asked the premier to ensure parents that universal daycare will be maintained.
Charest has stressed that even the previous PQ government questioned whether $5-a-day daycare could be maintained. He quoted an April 2001 interview with Bernard Landry in which the former premier said it would be stupid to believe that the cost of daycare would be the same in five or ten years.
Charest has criticized the PQ administration for setting up a network that can't provide the necessary places for parents. One-hundred and fifty-thousand daycare places were created under the PQ government, but currently 33,000 more places are needed.
-Reprinted from the Montreal Gazette.