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Layton warns PM not to scrap day care plan [CA]

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Canadian Press
Publication Date: 
23 Mar 2006

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NDP Leader Jack Layton has spelled out his priorities for the coming session of Parliament, paving the way for a clash of child-care agendas that could topple Prime Minister Stephen Harper's fledgling minority government.

Even so, Layton adopted a conciliatory tone Thursday after a meeting with Harper to outline what New Democrats want to see in the April 4 throne speech: promises to increase day-care spaces, protect the public health-care system, reduce pollution and reform the electoral system.

"Mr. Harper seems to be willing to at least consider the ideas that we presented,'' Layton said. ``Let's see where it goes.''

Still, Layton signalled that child care could be a make-or-break issue.

Harper has vowed to scrap the previous Liberal government's agreements with the provinces to expand child-care spaces, a plan worth $5 billion over five years.

The NDP wants the Liberal plan retained.

The prime minister maintains he will stick with five key priorities: a federal accountability act, a GST cut, the child-care allowance, tougher criminal sentences and a patient waiting-times guarantee.

- reprinted from the Canadian Press