Choice for childcare day

This post is regarding Sara Landriault’s Choice for Childcare activism.

Parents have always been heroes of mine, not just my own but those that face the arduous (and often thankless) task of raising children. For something that couldn’t be more natural, most are never completely prepared for it yet somehow almost everyone since time immemorial finds a way to get by and we are the products of their efforts.

I think we’ve turned out alright so far.

Some say it takes a village to raise a child, some say it takes one or two loving parents, some say it takes a family.

The Conservative Party of Canada, during the last election, was the only political party that accommodated each point of view. The party promised that if it formed government that, yes, the state would help create childcare spaces. However, they also promised that parents that chose to care for their own children (or if grandma wanted to help), that the government would return tax money to these parents to help them with their efforts.

While the Liberals and the NDP advocated for a “one-size fits all” solution subsidizing parents as a social program, the Conservatives advocated for returning tax money to parents that are already taxed too much.

The Conservatives were the only ones to offer choice, which is a beautiful thing isn’t it? Whether creating childcare spaces at work, at a church, at a community centre, or simply giving parents more of their own money back, the Conservatives offered the most enlightened and flexible position on an issue which is so inherently natural to parents that, shockingly, existed before the creation of the concept of the state.

Now, childcare advocates (not those professionals… but those named mom and dad) are taking political action to push back against those that are declaring “code blue” in childcare. Those that would draw parallels to a medical emergency are merely those that are defending their own sense of entitlement from the nanny state at the expense of those that do the job out of love. In defense of inflated wages, market-insensitive job security and perhaps a dental plan, union leaders are declaring a death to what they erroneously deem the only option for parents.

Sara Landriault, the resident Blogging Tories choice in childcare advocates, has organized a sort of “strike” of her own. The so-called strike is to raise media awareness on the otherwise silent majority that, instead of declaring childcare “code blue”, believe that the Conservative government has instead finally given them the respect and choice that they earned when they made the honest commitment of raising children.

Sara explains:

and I am a stay at home mom of 3 children under 10. My idea of a career was and is being a mom. No I’m not the perfect mother. I just prefer to stay at home with my kids, its that simple. This childcare deal of the Conservatives doesn’t really offer my family much money but it does offer me RESPECT. For me and my family thats what this whole fight is about. You see I have 3 girls and I want them to grow up and be whatever they want, you know like a doctor, lawyer, teacher and yes even a mother. Being a mother (or father) today is the most demeaning job out there.

More Blogging Tories parents have joined Sara in her “day of action”. Brent Colbert, a stay-at-home dad has organized a trackback post.

Blogging Tory Greg Staples explains what this strike means to him:

“To me the issue comes down to parenting being a responsibility of parents. There are many methods of parenting available including a stay-at-home parent, care with a relative, care with a neighbour or care in a formal child care centre. Of the latter there are still more variations – public only, work provided, church provided, completely private, and probably variations thereof. Let it also be said that citizens also choose not to have children and therefore to use any of the above options.”

Paul at Blue Blogging Soapbox, while without children, researches more about the politics of the issue of childcare and offers some take-home reading:

I fired up Google and did some surfing. I came across the Kids First Canada site a while back and have been meaning to blog about it for a while now, so today seems fitting. “Daycare Fact & Fiction, Ideology & Agendas”. [get the link from Paul’s site – ed.]. This in-depth report was compiled by H. Ward, President of Kids First Parent Association of Canada. The latest December 19, 2005 update is available as a pdf document.

Don from All Things Canadian recalls the election politics of childcare:

“There are roughly 600,000* children in Ontario between 0 and 4 years. The Liberal plan is to create 25,000 spaces by 2008. Currently there are about 125,000 spaces* in Ontario. The Liberal plan will not be subsidizing the cost to the parents of those spaces. … The Conservative policy isn’t a national program either – they don’t claim it to be one. It’s a small government solution to help address an issue that most Canadians agree needs to be addressed – helping parents.”

Shane, who blogs from The High Places, explains that the media is only covering one side of this debate and offers a sample of childcare headlines from the election:

The media is trying very hard to tell us what to think: that universal daycare is a right, that it is affordable, that “professionals” are the only ones who know how to raise kids, and that the government should be the ones to give it to us.

Google has this nifty service, where you can receive news alerts on subjects of interest. I put one together for “Stephen Harper” back during the election, and witness a sample of headlines from the last week, pertaining to child care: “PM ignores child care protesters”, “Karwacki Calls For Blended Childcare Approach”, “Women’s groups urge Harper to stick to child care agreements”, “Stick to child-care deals, women urge Harper”, “Daycare program focus of women’s day march”. I couldn’t find a single one supporting the Conservative plan to give back cash to parents for each child…

Plattytalk weighs in and questions Liberal intention given their inaction:

Suffice to say that the Liberals are using their old fear tactics, saying that all childcare will disappear if the Conservatives have their way. This of course is not true, the Conservatives have a solid plan for childcare, one that they will actually implement, not like the Liberals 12 year promise to do something about the situation.

Nicole at Prairie Voice for Childcare Choice is a private provider of childcare. She explains why choice in important:

Another reason childcare choice is very important to me, is because it affects my job. I have been running a private home-based daycare out of my home for almost 16 years. I live in an upper middle class neighbourhood, and most families have 2 parents working out of the home. I am my families preference and 1st choice for their childcare. The Liberal childcare plan did not respect what I do, nor offer families that use care other then government regulated, and financial help.

Joel at Proud to be Canadian provides a huge list of reading material on the topic the politics of childcare.

Ruth weighs in and talks about personal responsibility and honours women who choose to stay-at-home and raise their kids.

Blogging Tory Dr. Roy discusses his own upbringing with his parents and describes the children that would have been left behind under the Liberal plan.

Be sure to check out the rest of the Blogging Tories blogging for childcare choice.