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Ken Dryden says the different approaches to a national child-care program taken by his government and the Conservatives reflect how the rival parties look at Canada, and that's a good thing.
Dryden, once a famed goaltender with the Montreal Canadiens but these days federal minister of social development, delivered an impassioned defence of his child-care package yesterday to The Times & Transcript's editorial board.
New Brunswick's share of the five-year, $5 billion national deal is $110 million package accepted only with reluctance last November by Premier Bernard Lord.
In the end Lord got few of the changes he wanted in a deal that he said would have given New Brunswickers more choices in how the money might be used.
In a nutshell, the Liberal money goes to improving and adding to current child-care services in everything from higher wages for daycare workers to improved early education programs.
The Conservatives offer a straight payment of $1,200 to parents for every child under the age of six years.
"The different approaches are emblematic of the different approaches of the two parties in how they see the country, of how we will best function in the future," said Dryden.
Dryden said the Liberals understand Canada was built, among other things, on great national endeavours like the railroad, medicare and a national education system.
"The nature of our country is that some big things have to be tackled collectively or they won't happen. They're too big for any individual to do.
"A hundred years ago you could not have put $50 in every pocket and then said 'now let's go out and build a school.' We need to do certain things collectively and I think that is how the Liberal party understands the way this country works.
"I don't think that's how the Conservatives see it"
- reprinted from NB Times & Transcript