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Why Conservatives unanimously supported the Liberals' child-care bill after vehemently opposing it

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Tumilty, R.
Publication Date: 
23 Jun 2023


Conservative MPs have criticized the Liberal government’s child-care bill in hours of debates, calling the government’s entire approach inadequate, leaving out many families and imposing a top-down, Ottawa-knows-best approach.


C-35, officially named “an act respecting early learning and child care in Canada,” passed earlier this week with 315 votes in favour and not a single MP opposed.

Conservative MP Michelle Ferreri said that, despite her party’s broader concerns about the child-care program, the bill is just a fig leaf and it’s the individual deals the federal government signed with provinces that are at issue.

“This bill doesn’t do anything because the agreements with the provinces and territories are already signed,” she said.

The bill, as passed, establishes a national advisory council on child care and commits the government to ongoing support for the program beyond the five-year deals that have been signed with the provinces. If a future government wanted to end or refused to renew child care deals with provinces, the legislation would make it more difficult, but not impossible.


Ferreri said a future Conservative government would focus on fixing the individual deals with provinces to make subsidized child-care more flexible than current conditions provide for. The Conservatives have criticized the deals for  funding what they consider rigid day-care models. They say they don’t offer flexible hours for families that don’t work regular hours, don’t create enough new spaces, cut out home-based facilities, and will primarily funnel money to people who can already afford child care.


Coletto said millennial women are a demographic where the Conservative party is struggling to connect, making child-care a delicate issue.

“The Conservatives don’t need to win that group, but they can’t repel them. Voting against this bill may have given the Liberals something to hit the Conservatives over the head with.”