National Daycare? No Thank You!

Universal daycare has been forced into the spotlight, thanks to a special six part Globe & Mail feature this past week. Selective media outlets has been wrought with discussion of a national daycare program here in Canada. This is the part where my eyes roll.

The suggestion that the government should further meddle in family life is truly puzzling to me. I don’t espouse socialist tendencies like others of my generation, so reliance on state is completely foreign to me. Families already have enough government interference with various policies, such as taxing parents for a schools system even though they use independent schools or homeschool, and taxation disincentives for stay-at-home parenting. There mere fact that income splitting hasn’t been introduced as tax policy is burdensome to families with a stay-at-home parent. Now the drums are beating for even further tax burden on families via government interference in daycare.

After reading the multi-day editorial activist series, I threw my newspapers for recycling with great delight. I wanted to shred all the whimpering and whining of minority opinion parents featured in the series. One mother highlighted how 70% of her pay goes to daycare. She’s a lawyer by  the way. Another decried the lack of niche institutional daycare spots in her urban centre.

If 70% of your income is going to daycare, then you have two options: A) stay-at-home, mind the kids yourself, scrimp and save, or B) MMM: Make More Money. Yet, it appears a third option is being trumpeted these days -ask someone else to foot the bill.

The fact that a small group of parents feel that taxpayers ought to foot their multi-billion dollar daycare tab is truly disturbing. Why do some parents feel entitled to “free” daycare? Fact: daycare costs money. Fact: in some urban centres in the Canada, competition for niche daycare can be stiff. Will there be a guaranteed space for an enviro-conscious parented child in a daycare where alfalfa snacks are served and crystal infused water is de rigueur? The solution for this is not a national, taxpayer funded, institutional daycare program. The solution is to support families in their own decisions through policy which accurate reflects the reality in Canada.

recent poll revealed that 76% of Canadians believe that it is better for a child under six to be at home with a parent. Even I was surprised that the results are so high. Perhaps this is because I live in a major urban centre where few parents stay home with their children. Maybe this is the case because of burdensome tax rates. However, just a few kilometers away in the suburbs, stay-at-home parenting is abundant. Parents sacrifice their time, money, careers, (and sometimes sanity!) to help their children adjust to the world.

If 76% of Canadians feel this way, then why doesn’t the government implement policy which reflects this reality? Why is the Globe & Mail trumpeting a national daycare program when clearly, the country doesn’t want/need it? Spare me the editorial activism.

Let parents choose what’s best for their children, not the government and surely not the Globe & Mail. Forcing a one-size fits all national daycare program on families is not only unreflective of parents’ needs, it’s also reckless. Parents deserve choice on this matter and governments ought not usurp them.

I could go on and on about this issue. And I will. Prepare for vitriol in the coming weeks.