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Minister wants irreversible program [CA]

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Rhodes, Veronica
Publication Date: 
6 May 2005

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A national early learning and child- care system must become rooted in Canadian society in order to make it irreversible in the future, says the federal minister of social development.

"We must have it so strong, so entrenched, so understood that nobody dares touch it," Ken Dryden told more than 600 members of the child care field.

Dryden was in Regina Saturday to address a national early learning and child care conference being held in the city.

Roughly 70 per cent of children under the age of six have both parents working, said Dryden, noting the importance an early-learning and child care program would have on the majority of Canadian children.

"It is the way in which we live, it is the way in which our kids live," he explained.

In his speech, Dryden spoke about his journey in the past year, starting from the release of the early-learning and child care plan as part of the Liberal platform in last spring's election campaign.

The minister recounted going through the political ups and downs through the year, when many feared the government would fall and the much-needed plan would never be carried out.

But he also explained the positive feelings he had every time he made a child care funding announcement in a Canadian community.

Dryden said the funding for the province will mean a 60-per-cent increase on what is currently being spent child care by all governments in Saskatchewan. In the third year, it will be a 90-per-cent increase.

"The way in which that money gets spent will be in a variety of ways that a parent could expect, (for) the service that is provided, facility (improvements). The people who are the early childhood educators -- their wages will improve, the retention of them will be better," he told reporters after his speech.

- reprinted from Regina Leader-Post