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National child program good for communities [CA-NS]

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Cavanagh, Danny
Publication Date: 
14 Apr 2005

See text below.


Many readers may not understand that Canada has never been closer to having a national child care program than right now.

Clearly, many would agree that we need to make sure we build a national child program right the first time.

A national child care program with early learning at its core; one that is affordable, high quality, accessible and not-for-profit, offers working parents the break they need.

It also gives society back $2 in social and economic benefits for every $1 we invest, according to economists and other leading experts.

As taxpayers and citizens we understand that every proposal has its opponents.

There are the usual noises from social conservatives who long for simpler times when a woman's place was at home with the children and from those in society who have no need for a child-care program.

I have to admit that I do enjoy listening to the arguments of conservatives who insist that parents want to stay at home and raise their children but cannot afford to take the time away from their busy careers or good jobs to make it happen.

Unfortunately, this is not the reality for most working families across the country. Working people in this area know what I mean.

Of course, parents want to spend more time at home with their children, especially in those formative early years. But for too many families the choice between working or staying at home hinges not on the loss of income but on the cost and availability of quality child care.

This is why a national system of quality, affordable and accessible child care is so important.

We know from experience in other countries that good child-care programs mean children thrive, perform better in school and get a better start at life. In these countries, young people are less likely to be unemployed and have an easier time entering the job market. The benefits extend well into adulthood.

Investing in children so they can have a better future, while offering working parents a real choice between staying at home or working to support their families is what we all gain from a good child-care program.

Remember, that we as taxpayers need to make government work for us and hold it accountable for the things we desire as citizens to make our communities work for us.

- reprinted from the Daily News (Truro, Nova Scotia)